It was always going to be tough!
With La Marmotte rolling out from Bourg D’Oisans on Saturday morning, La Fuga took 14 riders on a gentle ride from Alpe D’Huez to Bourg D’Oisans via the Glandon valley, turning off the Alpe at Huez. A hearty lunch was followed by a shuttle service back to the hotel in Alpe D’Huez to save the legs ahead of the big day.
Marmotte morning had not yet dawned as riders awoke at breakfast’d at 5am. Talk the previous night had been of the chances of rainstorms. Little did riders realise the conditions they would have to endure.
Congregating in Bourg, and leaving any spare kit with the La Fuga vehicule, the group rolled out at 7.30, sunlight just touching the tops of the mountains. The choice of making headway before the mercury rose and making a steady start was now to be made. Previous years had seen riders aim full-tilt at the Glandon, only to be thwarted by a blown engine before the Galibier, let alone the Alpe.
With the sunlight touching the road up the Glandon, riders faced the task of staying cool and hydrated. Reports came back of punctures and crashes, despite the descent of the Glandon not being timed.
With riders eventually over the enormity of the Galibier, it left the long descent to Bourg D’Oisans and the 21 hairpins of Alpe D’Huez to complete the course.
The La Fuga service/rescue vehicule made a couple of trips down the Alpe, riders having called in for assistance. The heat was immense – having been even more so in the valleys. Returning riders to base, every hairpin was littered with broken riders, weakened by the heat.
On return, the earlier finishers were greeted with a celebratory beer, whilst later all of the La Fuga guests headed to a restaurant in the village of Alpe D’Huez for dinner and to recount stories from the day, many desiring to return next year.
La Fuga will be returning to Alpe D’Huez for La Marmotte in 2011. You can see photos from the weekend at La Fuga Flickr.