La Marmotte, arguably the most challenging single day sportive in the world, is a grim prospect indeed; 5,180m of climbing across four of the toughest passes the Alps has to offer.
The Cols du Glandon, Telegraphe and Galibier must all be conquered across 108 miles of suffering. Cycling Plus editor Rob Spedding and commercial director Scott Longstaff joined thousands of others at this year’s start line in Bourg d’Oisans in a bid to make it to the finish line at the summit of perhaps the most infamous climb of them all - l'Alpe d'Huez.
Speaking about the ride, Scott said reaching the Galibier summit was the high point of his ride. "Legends, stories and folklore can’t prepare you for the final 6kms up Galibier. It’s an open lunar landscape that isn’t attractive but it is soul destroying – you can see where your going without it ever getting any closer. You’re climbing a mountain in glorious sunshine, surrounded by a thousand cyclists from all over Europe but not a word is spoken.
"A surreal experience as all you hear and see is the whir and gentle clinking of chains fizzing along and pain etched on everyone’s face. The final kick up to the summit came close to breaking me – it was hard but I just wouldn’t give in. Reaching the summit of Galibier was the most satisfying moment for me. I’d said to myself for months that once I was there, I'd done it. However hard the Alpe might be, I only really had 15km of riding to go. In my mind I’d done it. More was to come though..."
Head over to Scott’s blog to find out if he managed those last few kilometres and reach the finish line atop l'Alpe d'Huez.