France – Dave and Guy race in the Alps!

An amazing achievement – two LRSC sailors take their cycling very seriously! They raced the Marmotte in the Alps! I was fascinated, having seen a bit on Facebook, and asked Dave to write about it. You might like to read his account:
> That was a long day. I’ve been training for it with Guy since we decided to do it back in October. > The Marmotte is one of the toughest 1 day Grandfondos, 110 miles of cycling, 17,000+ft of climbing up mountain Cols, which include The Glandon, The Telegraph, The Galibier and finishing with Alpe D’Huez. > > > The forecast of 27 degrees and sunny meant it was going to be a hot event, particularly for the final climb up Alpe D’Huez which is SW facing and with no shade. Earlier in the week we saw evening temps of 34 there when the same temps were forecast. > The race for us started at 07:40 with a 10mile warm up to Col Du Glandon, this was a climb of 20km or so and 4000ft of elevation. Shrouded in trees, this was cool but steep in parts. > Following the 20km descent there was a 20mile ride along the valley to Col duTelegraph and up to Valloire. By now the sun was baking, not a cloud in the sky. > Within a few Km the gruelling heat from the direct sunlight saw people strewn on the side of the road, people were already walking from here with still 60 miles to go. > By the time we made it to the Galibier climb we were only managing 5 minutes of climbing before we had to stop and find shade, drink and try to cool down, it wasn’t that steep but the heat made it almost impossible. > Due to a combination of the heat and not being able to get enough fluids down, Guy started suffering leg cramps on the Galibier, stops for stretching as well as overheating became more frequent as the cramps got worse and the day went on. > We had a deadline of 6pm to start the climb to Alpe D’Huez, otherwise we would be finished at the bottom. If we made it to there we then had another deadline of 8pm to finish! This added a bit of extra pressure with the stops becoming more frequent. > > We made it to Alpe D’Huez with 15 minutes or so to spare. Just the 21 bends to the finish over 14km and 1100m of elevation gain. We stopped, eat and watered and started the climb to the finish > > Guys cramps were getting so bad that we were managing 1-2 bends before stopping and stretching. With 5 bends to go it looked like we were going to miss the 8pm finish deadline. The cramps left Guy unable to ride and having to walk. With 5k and only 20mins to the cut off he insisted I leave him and finish. Reluctantly I did, and raced to the finish with literally seconds to spare, getting there at 8pm > I hung around for a bit, realising that there was no way Guy was going to be able to walk here in the time, but they didn’t close the finish at 8, possibly due to the insane temperatures earlier and the amount of people who were still finishing, so I started a slow cycle back trying to spot him in the crowds that were still heading for it, when I saw him cycling over the brow of the hill, I don’t know how he did it but his stubbornness not to give up got him back on his bike and he made it! > 20% of the 5000 or so starters didn’t finish. > We are both already planning the next one >