How to ride La Marmotte
To take the hassle out of the logistics so you can focus on riding the Marmotte, it is a good idea to book with a tour operator like Sports Tours International.
Click here to book your travel package or entry only now
Travel packages with Sports Tours International include or have the option of purchasing:
- An entry. Even after the official website is sold out. There are different types of entries available. Front pen entries and entry only for example.
- Overland bike transport from the UK
- Transfers to and from Geneva airport
- A choice of hotels, B&B or Half Board and 3 or 4 night durations
- Additional feed stations
- Massages. Bookable and payable locally.
- Clothes drop in Bourg d’Oisans
- Day bag at first STI feed stop
- Mechanical assistance before, during and after the event
TRAVEL AND EVENT INSURANCE
We call this a Gran Fondo or Cyclo-Sportive but many people will see this as a race which it isn’t officially. Normal travel insurance may not cover you to take part in this type of event so it is worth checking before you travel.
For information, the Marmotte is only on closed roads in certain sections. From the start, over to the bottom of Glandon is without other vehicles. The start of the descent of the Col du Galibier is as well but the rest you share with cars. The Alpe d'Huez climb is traffic free until the 18:30pm cut off time.
Consider insuring your bike. If you own a valuable bike, it is definitely worth paying the extra to have your bike properly insured for any eventuality.
TRAVELLING – YOU AND YOUR BIKE
There are various options for you to travel with your bike. All of which are accommodated by Sports Tours. You can drive over, you can take our UK bike transport option or you can fly with your bike.
It is strongly advisable that you travel with your bike in a suitable bike box or bike bag. Especially on an aircraft, your bike may be thrown around a bit. Also consider packing a spare rear hanger as it is very unlikely that you will be able to buy one to fit your bike whilst in resort.
All Sports Tours travel packages have you arriving at Alpe d’Huez on the Thursday. This is for you to get used to the altitude (1850m) and to recover form the journey over.
We stay in Alpe d’Huez so you can just roll into bed straight after the Marmotte and you are in place for the registration before the event. On Marmotte day you will have a (potentially chilly) 45-minute descent to the valley on the morning of the event because you need to be in your starting pen by 6am. With Sports Tours, you can drop your warm clothes after the descent off with us at the bottom of the Alpe road.
We advise to have your tyres at no more than 100psi. Please note that it may be very hot and you will be doing a lot of braking. This may result in your rims (especially carbon ones) overheating and tyres blowing up which is potentially dangerous.
You can opt for a triple chainset or you if you have a compact then you can get a 28, 30 or even 32 rear cassette if the clearance on your bike accommodates this to make climbing easier.
Lights are obligatory and they will be provided at registration. The lights are because you will go through tunnels on the road from the bottom of the Galibier to the dam near Les 2 Alpes.
In short, it could be very hot or it could be very cold. You can experience extremely hot, cold or wet weather on the same day. It is worth packing for each eventuality. On a hot day, a windproof and arm warmers for the descents should do the trick.
because you have to descend to Bourg d'Oisans on the day of the event, we advise you to wear some warm clothes for the descent and we will take them for you at the bottom of the hill.
The start takes place in three waves based on starting number. At 7am is the start for numbers 1 to 1999. At 07:30 it’s number 2000 to 3999 and then at 07.50 it’s everyone else so number 4000+. All of Sports Tours entries are 4000 or below.
Your event time doesn’t start running until you cross the mat on the starting line, but if you're a slower rider, being near the start is an advantage. Not only can you jump on the end of a train of faster riders, you also have more time before the 18:30pm cut off.
HOW HARD IS IT?
For this event you climb 5,500m in one day and it is a very long day in the saddle. The descent from the Col du Glandon is neutralised – timing stops at the top and restarts at the bottom. The only cut off time is the 18.30 cut off at the bottom of the Alpe d’Huez climb. Your timing chip is removed if you get there later.
In addition to the official food stops, Sports Tours offer an additional feed station on the climb of the Col du Galibier plus a station with gels and liquids on the climb up the Alpe d’Huez. It is worth pointing out that the official feed stop on top of the Col du Glandon gets extremely busy. The next stop after that is the bottom of the Col du Telegraph which is less busy but still hard to get to. It is worth bringing some of the food that you are used to eating on long rides and eat it during the first section. Useful are the bags that you put onto your top tube for energy bars, gels and sweets. Like the actual ride you should train eating as well. Have a dress rehearsal ride or a few if you have the time and practice your eating. You may burn as much as 10,000 calories.
Event time is how long to take to travel between start and finish, although remember, the timing is switched off between the summit of the Col du Glandon and the bottom of the descent. There’s a Gold standard and a Silver standard event time, which vary depending upon your gender and age group. For slower riders, it is important to keep an eye on the time because if you reach the bottom of the Alpe d’Huez climb before 18.30pm French time, you can continue and finish La Marmotte, but if you reach the bottom of after that time, you are out of La Marmotte.