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July 15, 2017

When I first entered at the Marmotte back in 2006 the word ‘sportive’ had yet to enter the lexicon of the British cyclist. Back then we trained and we raced. I know there were riders who just rode for fun, or rode Audax events and the like, but they were mostly men in their 60’s who wore baggy woolen tights and sported mudguards year round. I guess the closest us ‘racers’ got to a sportive were the early season reliability trials. These events were organized at the pointy end of winter to allow us to ‘test’ our legs in a ‘non-competitive’ environment before the real business of racing got underway. We paid £3 to enter, smashed round the familiar course and took home a certificate at the end, yes, bit like a sportive, (apart from the price). The Marmotte though, this was to be a new experience, this was European and exotic and even though it wasn’t a race, 174.5 kilometres crossing four mountains gaining over 5000 metres of altitude seemed a worthy challenge. How though does a competiti...

July 6, 2017

Following on from my previous blog I arrived at Alpe d’Huez last week to take part in the infamous Marmotte (175km of toil over four mountains, climbing a total of 5000 metres) but also with half an idea of attacking my ‘PB’ for the climb of Alpe d’Huez. I’d packed the best wheels but I’d been out of sorts for a few weeks, consumed by the troubles of life, so neither my head nor body were really in the right pace for a committed 100% effort. There was the option to ride the official ‘La Grimpee de l’Alpe’ time trial the following morning but after 14 hours in the car the thought of a 6 am alarm call was too much, so if I was to have a crack I would have to do it solo later in the day.

Waking on Friday the legs were stiff, and one half of me said “No, not a chance, go back to bed!” The other half though, that said “Wait a minute” you’re here, you’re in Alpe d’Huez, I don’t care if you’re not 100%, you MUST sieze the bloody day!” After all, the weather was good, I had my best wheels and...

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Britain's Greatest

Cycling Climbs BOX SET

Comprising a total of 545 ascents from the tip of Cornwall all the way up to the highlands of Scotland, the eight region-specific volumes of Britain’s Greatest Cycling Climbs contain the most comprehensive documentation of Britain’s hills ever compiled for road cyclists.

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