I accidentally slipped on my keyboard earlier in the week and somehow it turned out that I’d booked myself onto this! Whooops.
Upon hearing that the route had returned to it’s traditional ‘famous’ parcours of the Glandon / Galbier / Huez triumverate my interest was piqued.
In 2015 the route had to be altered due to the closure of the Chambon tunnels following landslides, which interfered with the classic route’s descent from the Galbier. It was this same issue that resulted in a last minute change of route to Haute Route Alps stages 4 and 5, described here: https://mountainmutton.wordpress.com/haute-route-2015-a-smattering-of-thoughts/ .
This lead to the sportive being redirected around the Croix de Fer, which is by no means a simple or unattractive feat, but left many riders feeling a little short changed as they wouldn’t have ridden the ‘true’ Marmotte.
Having been stunned by the face of the Galbier that starts at the base of the Telegraphe when descending it for Marmotte, I knew it was one of those climbs I just had to experience, up there with the Gavia and Ventoux. And of course, the opportunity to count down those 21 bends….Need I say any more?
As with all things bike, once I have the merest glimmer of an idea about something, it doesn’t go away til it’s bought / booked / ridden experienced. So here I am following the click of a few buttons and abuse of a bank card, one of the 7,000+ riders who will be feeling rather nervous one early morning in July 2016 in Bourg D’Oisans…
Despite being an expensive and congested way of experiencing some of the most majestic roads of Europe, like the Etape (which i rode in 2013) and the Maratona, Marmotte is one of those rides that just has to be ridden. You know what I mean. And given it falls 6 weeks prior to Haute Route 2016, it will come in as great training. I’ll continue thinking of excuses and justifications for it til July. But I cannot wait.