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Alpe D' Huez under the hour

Aint SkeeredAint Skeered Posts: 369
I rate myself as a average to fairly competant climber and will be tackling the Alpe in a few weeks is setting myself a goal of under the hour realistic?
Will be riding it with a compact, and a 27 on the back.


  • Check ... rcours_n_7

    A <60' time would put you in the top 10. Good luck and enjoy it!
  • The reason I thought this could be achievable, is that a friend of mine did it in 1:05 last year, and I am getting near his leval of ability.
    I will just have to wait and see
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    There are two finish lines at the Alpe. The first one, referred to in the Gastrobiking link above, is at the Tourist office at the entrance to the town. The second is probably another kilometer further on and is the "Tour" stage finish line. If you are fit enough for a one-hour ascent, there is probably 4-5 minutes time difference between the two points. It is easier to finish at the first as the second involves crossing junctions and roundabouts - grand if you are competing on closed roads but requires a bit more attention otherwise..

    Depending on your style, a compact and 27 should be plenty - I've used a standard chainset and the same block without issue. Watch out for the heat - even in September it can get quite warm during the middle of the day - earlier in the morning might be a better bet, particularly if you don't like excessive heat.

    Finally, if you are determined to set a time and you have a couple of days, it might be worth a slower ride first just to get the "feel" of the climb. It starts fairly scarily but the most important thing is "don't panic".

    FaustoPedalini - I don't know what those times are based on but they are slow. An hour is not unreasonable - the TT up the Alpe during Marmotte "week" is won in under 50 mins IIRC and the top women climb in under an hour.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    There seem to be two starts too - the obvious one near the car park at the foot of the road to Alpe D'Huez; and the start on the centre fo Bourg where they started the 2004 TT in the Tour. My PB is 1h15m but am fat, middle aged but took 1h32m on the Marmotte this year but that was still faster than Sheryl Crowe.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • Details of the course can be found here: ... rcours_n_7. There is another page with times on a course described as "vieil Alpe" which are significantly better.

    Times are recorded on the website with a chip that you can buy or rent at the local tourist office. The same chip can be used on different climbs equipped with the system in France and Switzerland. Pretty cool.
  • Jeff JonesJeff Jones Posts: 1,865 Editor
    I did it in under an hour during the 1998 Tour (watching, not competing!). I'm pretty sure it was to the first finish line.

    I did the ride with one other guy as part of a Graham Baxter tour. We were staying in St Jean-de-Maurienne, so rode over the Glandon to get to the Alpe and came back over the Croix de Fer. It was a long day and I'm glad I had a coke in Bourg d'Oisans.

    You should be fine with a compact and a 27. The steep part is in the first couple of km, then it's fairly steady for the rest of it.
    Jeff Jones

    Product manager, Sports
  • I did a few weeks ago and managed 1:20. I am not a climber- reasonable cyclists aged 46- and was poorly organised on the day - very little warmup after a long drive there.
    I spun the whole way on my granny ring after being scared by the steepness of the first 1500m. It was hard work but I was fine when I got to the top i.e I'd been in my comfort zone. After doing it I think I could have upped the tempo and and at a push perhaps may gain 10 minutes. I only had the one chance though and I did'nt want to bust a gut as it was the Col de Galibier the next day !
    An hour I think would be good going but do-able with some serious effort. for someone who is pretty fit
    Hills do make I sweat a lot
  • BlondeBlonde Posts: 3,188
    It really depends on how far you have already cycled that day and which climbs you've gone over, by the time you get to the start of d'Huez. I went up it for the first time in June and it took me about an hour and 25 minutes I think to get to the very top - after the town. This was right at the end of a 45 mile day includng the Col du Galibier and a four major climbs/70 mile day the day before which I expect would effect your time. It also depends how well hydrated you are to start with - if it's hot day like when I rode it in June, you will sweat buckets as it is very exposed on the higher slopes and the rock reflects the suns' heat back at you. You may be tempted to get off and stick your head under one of the icy streams that run down it on the lower slopes.. I didn't, but only because I thought I'd never re-start again if I stopped! Also how well do you cope with Altitude? It's not one of the higer Alpine climbs, but when I did it, it was during a weekend that was the first time I'd ever been above about 1000m, so I still got a bit of that out of breath/tiny lungs feeling, for the whole day, despite my legs being fine. Having been up above sea level a few days beforehand and especially overnight can really help if you're not used to altitude, though you may still need to drink more than usual to avoid a headache or feeling sick. If you're after a specific climb time, don't ease up when the road does, near to the town at the the top - as you approach the town you may be tempted to relax as the gradient wears off and the road opens up, but you're not there yet, so keep going past the guy who takes your photo! Good luck and enjoy it!
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    A compact with a 27 will be easy for a fit rider - last time I went up, after the last few km, I was mainly on 39 - 21/19. Depends whether you're going to sit down and grind or get up out the saddle on the hairpins
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
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