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We offer free, tracked UK delivery on orders over £10, with delivery starting from £1.99 for orders below this value. We also have a selection of premium shipping options available including timed slots, Saturday delivery and DPD Pick-up

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We want you to be 100% satisfied with your shopping experience at Rutland Cycling, so we offer a 90-day exchange or refund on any unused item (within the UK).

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When you buy a new bike at full RRP from rutlandcycling.com, you can now benefit from the added reassurance of our Rutland 30-day test ride. Once your new bike arrives, you can ride it as your own for 30 days, and we're confident you'll love it! However, if it's not right for you, we'll exchange it for another model. (There's a nominal charge of £10 for us to collect your bike - just make sure you keep the box your bike arrived in.)

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  • Back to Blog  

    #TeamRutland: La Marmotte

       Words by Aaron Scott

       on 25/07/2017 10:29:45

    Marmotte-2

    Dan Murtagh is Regional Area Manager at Rutland Cycling. After taking part in the Fred Whitton Challenge in Cumbria - widely regarded as one of the toughest sportives in the UK - Dan rode the La Marmotte in the Alps, one of the most prestigious Gran Fondos out there.

    Having ridden the Fred Whitton Challenge in Cumbria back in May as a tester event, La Marmotte in the French Alps swiftly rolled around this July. It wasn’t quite a spur of the moment thing as I’d been thinking about it for a few years and I just needed to have that ‘click the button’ moment. So, at the beginning of October I did just that. When the entry goes on sale at the start of December it normally sells out within hours so I decided not to take the risk and use a tour operator to book the accommodation and event entry. Here’s what lay ahead:

    • La Marmotte Alps - 108 miles / 5,180 meters of ‘up’ over the Glandon, Telegraphe, Galibier and finishing up Alpe D’Huez.

    Training Plan

    After completing the Fred Whitton I didn’t have a plan for the weeks that followed. In the end with the time I had I just decided to ride my bike around to try and stay fit. I did this in the main with just a couple of rides a week (plus riding around Cambridge doing my day job). It probably wasn’t ideal but enough to keep me ticking over. I did one good ride in the Peaks but that was all.

    Marmotte-3

    I’d watched a lot of videos online of the event, read blogs and spoke with people who had done it but you can’t really prepare in many ways. Having never been to the Alps or anywhere like it, it’s hard to imagine just how long the climbs are and how the weather changes so much – I drove up Alpe d’Huez which was useful, but until you are there on the day you just don’t know. The good thing was by now I’d done a good few rides on my new Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 so was fully settled into that having swapped the saddle for the neutral fit version with carbon rails and the Giant 40cm bar (mine came with a 42cm).

    Dan's Ride

    Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 2017

    Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 2017

    Conquer the toughest climbs. Descend with confidence. Training or racing, the Giant TCR Advanced Pro is made for pure road performance.

    • Frame - Advanced-Grade Composite
    • Fork - Advanced-Grade Composite
    • Drivetrain - Shimano Dura-Ace 22 Speed
    • Wheels - Giant SLR 1 WheelSystem

    La Marmotte

    Again, just like the Fred Whitton, I didn’t sleep well (no snoring work mates this time, just nervous energy) and not really having much of a breakfast at 5:30am, I set off down the hill to the start. The descent was freezing and a guy behind me had a blow out on a tubular tyre right behind me (day over for him no doubt). At the bottom of the road is Bourg D’Osains, and from here you set off in your oen at a given start time. Mine was 7:30am. The Glandon came up first, followed by a neutralised descent and a ‘flat’ bit. I felt good on the first climb and decent but on the flat – oh dear – I’d totally lost my rhythm going up for so long, followed by down for the longest I’d ever gone down so it took me 20 minutes to get going again. I thought at that point I was in for a long day out but just had to ride it out – I managed to get in a small group and just ride for half an hour to settle myself before the Telegraphe. The Telegraphe is brilliant, it’s a steady gradient all the way up, tree lined and I felt like I was going well. It’s what you think about when you think alpine climbs in my view, but shortly after comes the Galibier (the highest point). There isn’t much of a descent between, they really are two climbs in one. The Galibier was hard and gets harder towards the end which didn’t help and you start to have the altitude effect. Apparently, anything above about 1800 metres affects performance and you ‘can tell’ over 2000 metres. This seems about right to me as towards the end of the climb I really didn’t have much ‘go’ and it becomes more of a mental game, but at 185 bpm all the way up I had nowhere to go other than just keep moving forward. I couldn’t slow down, or speed up!

    Fred-Hero

    The descent of the Galibier is the best bit of riding I have ever done. It goes on forever and after the pain on the climb it’s such a reward. You do need a jacket, or at least a gilet, warmers and probably long gloves. It’s cold at the top and really cold when you set off on the way down, even at the start of July. I stopped and wrapped up before I set off on the way down, and would have been in trouble if I didn’t. It does warm up as you go further down and then start pedaling on the flatter parts. The run in from the Galibier to Alpe d’Huez is rolling at best, it’s pretty flat – for me, it just gave you more time to think about what lies ahead. Alpe D’Huez, 8 miles – by this point I was OK but certainly didn’t feel like I had any kind of spring in my step, so I knew I’d just have to sit and pedal away like the Galibier. In contrast to the Galibier, the first part is harder but the reality is by the time you are on it after 100 miles or more there isn’t a bit of it that is easy. It was great riding up counting down the bends from 21, round Dutch Corner with all of the markers along the way. By this time there were good crowds shouting encouragement – “Go Daniel” (the number on the bike has your name and nationality on). I finished in 9 hours with some stops for pictures, food, ‘natural breaks’ etc – I was surprised to learn it was a gold time for my age group at the finish, something I thought I was well outside of and in line with the Gold/First Class time from the Fred Whitton. Very happy with that, as much to just finish...

    There was a huge difference between the Marmotte and Whitton rides – I was fine after Fred Whitton (4,477 calories, 159 bpm average for 8 hours) but after La Marmotte (6,750 calories, 165bpm average for 9 hours) I felt like I’d been in a slow cooker for the day. You are not going to feel great for sure and I was really lucky with the weather (it was 25 degrees, rather than the 35 it could have been). A power meter with proper use would have helped my pacing but in many respects, there is only so much some numbers on a screen can tell you if all you can do it push on the pedals to move yourself forward. I was really happy with my achievement and now the dust has settled I need something else to aim for - my two missions for the year are now complete and all I have is a few cyclocross rides planned. Perhaps next on the list is Maratona dles Dolomites, Marmotte Pyrenees and/or Flanders sportive.

    Marmotte-1

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