Marmotte questions

by MacD   April 21, 2013  

Doing Marmotte this summer & trying to gather some info. Anyone know - re broom wagon, if you get swept up can you remove your event number and continue unsupported? Can they stop you riding on a public road? How long do you get to complete the event? Do the food stops run out of supplies and is it really sometimes impossible to fight your way to the front? How best to survive the tunnels? Do many women do it? Anything please which might help - encouraging and otherwise!!

4 user comments

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ive done it a few years back. Great event. a must do. cannot comment on broom wagon as did a reasonable time. There would be no way of stopping you riding. Check out the website, there are gold, silver,bronze for age categories. so for example to get gold i had to do it in under 8.45 i believe - this is not insignificant. it is a hard day out. you'll get a position at start and you'll be corralled into it - you cannot fight to the front - there you'll find semi-pros who get round in between 6-7h. the real pros do it in about 5.30h. the tunnels are an experience at 60kph after bright sunshine - just hold your bars and keep straight, your eyes will adjust. lots women do it. european sportives are v different - check out the forums, but well organised, the roads are great, the spectators are great and doing the telegraph, glandon, galibier, alpe - well cycling history. do one every year - a must do experience.

posted by sea_biscuit [31 posts]
21st April 2013 - 14:46


I rode it a few years back and I don't recall a broom wagon. I think the only restriction is that you have to get to the foot of Alpe d'Huez within 12 hours otherwise they take the timing chip off you (and return your 10Euros).

I don't think they can stop you riding to the summit anyway and only some of the sections are closed road anyway. You'll have to contend with cars on the descent of the Galibier and through the (unlit) tunnels which can be daunting, especially the first one. I put some small lights on my bike and refrained from overtaking - but witnessed a head-on when some idiot decided to overtake and hit an oncoming motorhome.

The food stations are well organised and a bit of a bun fight, but most sportives are the same.

Have fun. It is an epic ride.

posted by Old Cranky [278 posts]
22nd April 2013 - 10:51


I rode it 2011. Someone I knew needed the broomwagon after a mechanical meant he could no longer ride. It's a long drive apparently - stop/starting! There would be nothing to stop you riding the roads: though if you are meeting the broomwagon you have to think that it's game over - and if you're gonna be riding for a really long time - consider daylight! Basically - it's a 'full day' on a bike for the majority of fit and prepared riders. I hung around the top of Alpe d'Huez for some time and riders were coming in 10-11hrs on.

A few tips: don't service your bike or tinker too close to the day [that's what my broomwagon friend did]. If you can - arrive to give yourself a day to recce and check your bike is in good order. The food stops are busy but fine if you don't mind losing a few minutes. It's all 'continental' stuff: bread, cheeses, fresh fruit, bananas. Keep eating - there's no calorie munching ride in the UK to compare this against. The tunnels do throw you - just be really aware and not too close to other riders. A group of Italians nearly lost it in front of me - disorientated by the blackness and dim tunnel lights reflected off the floor in a puddle. I stuck on a small LED rear light fwiw. Hardly any women there to my recollection. Consider decent insurance. Enter the Grimpe the next day if possible. We stayed in Oz about 7 miles [mostly downhill] from Bourg D'Oisans - very quiet but a good base and idyllic views. Set your objectives for this ride and stick to it. If you do stay in Oz, when descending back down Alpe d'huez after the ride, take the dog leg right turn off the hairpins road in Huez village to find yourself on a jaw-dropping quiet road to the reservoir - a highlight that for me.

This is a must-do ride. Take photos next to all the summit signs - enjoy it.

posted by putmebackonmybike [17 posts]
23rd April 2013 - 11:25


Thanks for all that, lots different stuff and good to hear from folk who've ridden it, just hoping you are all ordinary fit cyclists & not superhuman/superskinny, and this thing is do-able by mortals.

posted by MacD [4 posts]
28th April 2013 - 16:42