La Marmotte cycle race in France 9/7/05 - a few stats - 110 miles / 5000m climb / 6000 riders. Route goes Bourg D'oisans - Col du glandon (normally col de la croix but changed this yr due to long term road works) - col de telegraphe - col du Galibier - L'alpe D'huez. Its a bit of a cracker! Finished in 8h 39m, 10 mins faster than 6 years ago, got the gold brevet for my age category and came in top 25%. Winner was an italian in 5h 50m.
Event very well organised, good food and drink stops (though apparntly they began to run out for the last 25% of riders). Saw a few accidents on descent of col du glandon, each one was being atteneded by a motorbike medic and descending riders weer being warned by a another guy with flag and whistle. Impressive system, but just heard unfortuntely one dutch guy died on that descent.
Strangley I saw many more accidents on this (road) event than I ever saw doing the MTB Grand Raid Cristalp 4 or 5 times, which has similar rider numbers and climb/descent. Are MTBers more aware of the limits to their ability?
Anyway back to the race. Stared about quarter of way down field. 30 mph sprint to base of climb. Climbed Col du glandon very strong, 8-9mph, overtaking all the way, cadence 90, enjoying my nice low (triple chianset) gears while others were struggling already. Quick food stop at top, descended in control, nutters passing every now and then.
Got into a group of 100 or so for drag along valley to St Jean de Maurienne. Kept well off the front. no heroics this yr, learned from last time.
Climbed Col de telegraphe fast. up to 10 mph, great rhythym, passing all the way. food stop in valloire, then onto the galibier. I cracked. Couldn't find any rhythym, couldn't find a gear low enough. Struggled turning my lowest gear at 60 revs, had to keep stopping. People passing me all the time. I didn't care, just wanted to get to top. Took a glance at teh scenery - classic alpine views, love it.
Finally made the top - about 2600m - food stop then descent into the wind. cruised until got caught by a descent group, then hung on.
Climb up the Alpe agony but love the hairpins so keep motivated.
Big crowd at finish, great atmosphere.
Good event, recommended!