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Just cycled up Alpe d'Huez

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  • Mark AlexanderMark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    nypd wrote:
    Well i did it last Friday Morning, got to the top and thought to myself, is that it.

    Maybe its me but ADH wasnt the climb i was expecting it to be.

    So my question to anyone that has done ADH, what did you think of the climb ?

    How many miles did you have in your legs before you started? Had you hit any other climbs first? It does flatten out through the village then kicks up again :evil:
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    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    nypd wrote:
    Well i did it last Friday Morning, got to the top and thought to myself, is that it.

    Maybe its me but ADH wasnt the climb i was expecting it to be.

    So my question to anyone that has done ADH, what did you think of the climb ?
    Anyone can do it, which is not to trash talk anyone's achievement - but it's not a steep climb. But if you'd've seen the suffering on the climb during the Marmotte you'd *get it*. Took me a while to *get it* - I wake up screaming at night having flashbacks of hairpin no11.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    The first ramp is a monster, and I remember thinking - if its like this all the way up - then we are in serious trouble. I normally use 39*26 on it and its not too bad. But if you do it on a hot day - when the tar on top is melting - then thats a censored .

    We stayed on the alpe one year - great plan - except all the rides ended in a massive climb home - over the days - we got slower and slower. Last time we were stopping at every water fall thingy to cool down - it was furnace heat. Still a good climb though - but the back way down - the Sarenne - thats even more fun !
  • Mark AlexanderMark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    vermooten wrote:
    nypd wrote:
    Well i did it last Friday Morning, got to the top and thought to myself, is that it.

    Maybe its me but ADH wasnt the climb i was expecting it to be.

    So my question to anyone that has done ADH, what did you think of the climb ?
    Anyone can do it, which is not to trash talk anyone's achievement - but it's not a steep climb. But if you'd've seen the suffering on the climb during the Marmotte you'd *get it*. Took me a while to *get it* - I wake up screaming at night having flashbacks of hairpin no11.

    I did Marmotte this year and it is purgatory
    I can't wait for next year!!
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    I suppose as others have said it depends what has come first. I did my first Etape this year and found the Hautacam to be a murderous climb, of course you tackle it having already done 100 miles and the Tourmalet. I had a fall before the Tourmalet so tackled both climbs with a very sore hip and elbow and found both to be very tough, especially with the awful weather conditions. Still it has given me a taste for the mountains and I shall be heading back to the Pyrenees next summer to tackle both climbs again in better weather, also fancy the Col du Soulor and Col d'Aubisque. We stayed in a Gite near Eaux Bonnes for the Etape and drove both climbs which really gave me a feel for them, looked like wild peaks to me although it was so cloudy we couldn't see much, I imagine the views are epic!
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  • FullFrameRobFullFrameRob Posts: 188
    nypd wrote:
    Well i did it last Friday Morning, got to the top and thought to myself, is that it.

    Maybe its me but ADH wasnt the climb i was expecting it to be.

    So my question to anyone that has done ADH, what did you think of the climb ?

    How many miles did you have in your legs before you started? Had you hit any other climbs first? It does flatten out through the village then kicks up again :evil:

    Ok ADH was my first climb of the day but i had already cycled about 650miles in 5 days, crossed the Jura and come across the Alps from Geneva having done 7 Col's in 90 degree heat before arriving in Bourg d Oisans, so i wouldnt say my legs where feeling fresh.

    Not sure what i was expecting to be at the top, maybe some dancing girls or something ! it just didnt have much atmosphere at the top unlike when i did the Colombiere or say the Croix de Fer and like ive said the TDF finish line at ADH does feel like you have just finished in a Tesco's carpark.

    Im in no way saying its an easy climb cus its not, what is it 14km @ 8% but it wasnt as hard of a climb as i was expecting it to be.
  • xioxio Posts: 212
    nypd - I'd agree, the alpe is a lot of hype. However, it's still a great ride with great view, though not all that tough. I've ridden the colombiere twice now, but I'm not sure what you mean by atmosphere at the top - I last rode it at the beginning of June and the restaurant and shop were shut and there was just nothing there (and it was cold, wet and windy). The first time it seemed like hell, attacking it the day after the Joux Plane, the second time it wasn't so bad...
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    The only time I've ridden the AdH was at the end of the Marmotte in year 2000. I had 39/26 as my lowest gear and went up pretty steadily. I don’t know my time (about 1-20?), but I think I could cut 15 mins off with less km and climbing in the legs beforehand.

    It’s true, the climb isn’t super spectacular and you don’t see many dancing girls underway, but in the Marmotte at least the locals in the villages you pass through come out and cheer you on. And the Tesco’s car park finish isn’t actually as desolate as some similar summit finishes, like at the end of the Trois Ballons sportive or Hautacam in the Pyrenees.

    Although the number of hairpins certainly contribute, I think the myth of AdH probably started with the Dutch successes in the 70s and 80s, when most of the population of Holland seemed to overnight and live it up on the upper slopes. Pantani and Armstrong added to its myth and, like it or not, it seems the organisers are now stuck with including it regularly - and I wish they weren’t, really.

    My favourite big climb in the area, from both a riding and landscape point-of-view, is the Glandon coming from St. Etienne-de-Cuines to the north, with its distinct climbs divided by a faux plat. Descending by the Croix-de-Fer makes a nice circuit. Crossing the Madeleine from Albertville-Moutiers road to the north I also like, because it’s like a rural valley which keeps on ascending, and the switchbacks on the wooded descent on the south side after the unattractive ski resort of St. Francois-Longchamp aren’t too close that you can’t speed between.

    Of big passes, I also like the Izouard and the Restefond/Bonnette, but there are lots of good smaller passes in the French Alps, like the Col de la Ramaz in Savoie, or Col Couillole south of Isola. If you like serpentines, the lower part of Col Mollard in the woods, starting just outside St. Jean-de-Maurienne has a lot, and there’s also this ...

    2701797509_912d721bc4.jpg

    18 switchbacks in just under 4 km, about as steep as AdH. You can carry on farther up, and eventually cover in about the same distance almost the same rise than AdH has (just 100 m less), although higher up from this photo, the scenery is less interesting.
  • ricadusricadus Posts: 2,379
    What is that climb in the photo?
  • wildmoustachewildmoustache Posts: 4,010
    It's somewhat more difficult:
    - after 6 to 7 hours in the saddle
    - having climbed the Izoard and Lauteret
    - in the afternoon in 40C heat

    I found the Marie Blanque (Escot) harder though ...

    got it in one.

    i've done AD twice.

    Once ... fresh as a daisy with only 40km of riding.

    Second ... Etape 2006 ... as you say ... two cols ... 100m in the legs ... 40c.

    AD can be very very hard due to the heat and is used at the end of stages because it is a hot, hard finish ... look how sastre won the tour there.

    but with fresh legs it's not a particularly hard climb
  • rich grich g Posts: 124
    Hi nypd
    How did you travel to France and where did you stay?

    Cheers Rich
  • guineaguinea Posts: 1,177
    I've done Alpe d'Huez a couple of times and would love it to be my local loop. It's a nice work out. You can go out balls to the wall and end up a quivering wreck or you can cruise up in granny gear and take in the scenery.

    My missus did it and wondered what the fuss was about. When I pointed out that she'd done it in 2.5 hours and the top climbers do it in under 40 minutes after having ridden 100 miles she understood why it might be tiring. Alpe d'Huez is not very hard to crawl over, but try it at race pace and it will inflict pain

    We watched the stage last wednesday and she now unsderstands the magic of the climb. The crowds were crazy, the pace was relentless, the tactics unfold in front of your eyes as you witness the hardest suffering in the tour but most of all the race was once again decided there. That's what makes the place special.
  • homercleshomercles Posts: 499
    I've just returned from a couple of weeks in France following Le Tour, and took the opportunity to have a crack at some climbs while I was out there. The Tourmalet was my first (the day after the stage), then Ventoux, then the Alpe (the day after the stage).

    All done on my Italia with a 34-25 as the lowest gear.

    Times (I'm 14 stone and no serious training for any of this, btw):

    Tourmalet - 1h 25m 28s for the 10.58m
    Ventoux - 1h 48m 0s for the 13.5m
    Alpe d'Huez - 1h 17m 49s for the 8.6m

    Tourmalet, being the first, was all about just getting up and winning the mental battle really. Plus it wasn't ideal prep to have hiked up and down it the day before to watch the stage!

    Ventoux was a killer through the forest but once I hit 'the moon' I was so pleased to see the 6k to go sign that I flew up the end bit - I was worried that there might still be 10k or so. It's funny how being able to see the lighthouse really drags you up the final stage relative to those where you can't see the top.

    I have to say, I found AdH pretty hard going relative to the others, but I think it was my own fault. I was feeling good at the start, shot off and probably tried too hard on the early, harder bit. As a result I suffered a bit through the middle section, though with a strong finish for the last couple of miles into town. I was disappointed not to be at least 7-8m quicker though.

    I don't think these are exactly world beating times but not many (less than 5) passed me on any of the climbs so I guess they're not terrible either. There's a peculiar kind of pleasure to be had in going past lean looking cyclists in all the gear on mountains!

    PS - Just to say, I agree with the earlier post about AdH having a Tesco car park feel at the top. The least inspiring of the three to finish, the others both having a clearly marked 'sommet' sign to pose by! On AdH I used the stage finish line whihc was still on the ground and the piste meet point just to be sure.
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    ricadus wrote:
    What is that climb in the photo?
    It's the climb up to Montvernier out of the Maurienne valley, between St. Jean and the La Chambre, on the La Chambre side of the valley. At Montvernier you can swing back down to the valley on another road, or keep on going up to the Col de Chaussy. From there an in-places poorly tarmaced road leads you down through the pretty village of Montaimont, to join the lower part of the Col de la Madeleine. Or you can take a gravel road up even higher, over another crest and join the Madeleine high up between the ski resort and the Madeleine crest.

    Some people say there are 24 switchbacks but I've never counted them. I've also never counted the serpentines on the Mollard and would guess at 30, but I've heard it claimed there are 46 (!) there - though none as sharp as those at Montvernier, more like those on AdH.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    I went over to AdH for a week to catch the tour.

    I didn't feel well at all the week before and had a tight chest (asthmatic) so last Tuesday I went out for a short ride round some local roads to test myself out, due to the amount of people about I didn't want to embarass myself by stopping every few hundred feet!Earlier in the ride I'd managed about 4k of sustained climbing, so got the legs moving, then as we were staying in La Garde I had to ride the few K back up to the village. It was hard work as it was really quite hot, but I got up ok.

    So on Friday I decided to make my attempt of AdH, some guys who I got talking to had already told me I'd managed the toughest parts of the climb on my test ride on Tuesday, so I was reasonably confident. I have to say the first few K I felt shocking but I soon got into a rhythm and just kept plugging away.

    Managed to get up in a no where near record breaking 1h 32 (although I timed from Bourg tourist information not the bottom of the climb), which compared to most of you guys is very slow! but surprisingly I actually overtook quite a number of people and didn't get overtaken by many at all.

    How does it compare to ther climbs???? I have no idea it's my first major climb (it was a family holiday so I couldn't get out to do loads of rides), I'm used to the comparative flatness of Bedfordshire! I can say I enjoyed it though, and I'm pleased I managed it! I plan on going back to do a lot more riding/climbing in the area, hopefully not too far in the future!

    BTW, if you are planning on riding up, avoid a Friday morning! It's market day in Alpe d'Huez, so I had to weave through shoppers and market stalls! Slowed me down no end as I was looking forward to the short downhill where you go under the bridge. Whacked my knee on a barier too :lol:
  • My dad dot up it on my racing bike in a cricket hat 40 year ols shorts and a pair of handmade brogues. It took hi abou 1:45. He is 76 yrs old and only took to the bike aged 70, now doing about 8 miles a day. He LOVED it.
    I did it in 1:14 the following day. We spent a week there and did most of the bigh climbs including the Croix when it still had six feet of snow at the top and was closed to cars. The alpe was busy, and dusty and hot, but was my favourite. Cycling into the lower town, still feeling strong and giving it welly was about the best I've ever felt on a bike. I tried to explain to my wife how feeling strong whilst climbing on a bike is the best feeling in the world, but she didn't really get it.

    She said I musn't be doing "it" right.
    Dan
  • ivancarlosivancarlos Posts: 1,034
    I wouldn't like to descend some of those hairpins in the wet with the all the paint on them.
    I have pain!
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    ivancarlos wrote:
    I wouldn't like to descend some of those hairpins in the wet with the all the paint on them.

    exactly what I thought, when we got there two weeks ago (tomorrow) it was absolutely pelting it down, there were torrents of water going down the road and yet still people were cycling up...... and even worse in my eyes, cycling down. I think they must've had a death wish!
  • The emuThe emu Posts: 347
    I've only done one mammoth ride to date since arriving from Down Under, the Passe De Mortirolo...almost killed me :oops:

    How does Alpe De Huez rate against this, seems like after reading other comments its one of those things thats a bit over rated but is still something you have to do for no other reason than to say you've done it.

    Alpe De Huez and Izoard on my radar but is it too late in the season to ride it in late Oct?

    If so, any other rides where weather won't be so inclement in October or is that asking a bit too much?

    The long grazed legged one
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    The Mortirolo is longer and steeper if you start from Mazzo, that is a killer. Alpe d'Huez is far more regular, the road is not some ancient, irregular goat path that's been tarmacked, its engineered with smooth and flat hairpin bends which were designed for coaches to sweep around.

    You can ride the Alpe almost all year round since the road is cleared from snow several times a day. But it's always going to be cold in winter!

    Late October is a gamble but the autumn colours could be great.
  • The emuThe emu Posts: 347
    The Mortirolo is longer and steeper if you start from Mazzo, that is a killer.

    Yep, thats the path I took, vividly remember getting towards the top where the 7% gradients felt comparatively like I was on nothing more than a false flat :shock:

    Thanks Kléber, thats good to know, I might pencil in a visit later this year then.

    Not fussed about the cold, but with my height and weight my confidence going downhill has a lot to be desired in the dry, let alone the wet and potentially icy conditions.

    The long grazed legged one
  • You jusy have to do the Alpe. It's like being on a film set or something. Try going in may before it gets too hot, though the high passes such as the Galibier may well still be closed (though in late may they are usually passable with a bit of hiking at the top). The alpe is the business though. It's a great great climb. Do the Croix de fer while you are there. With any luck it will still be closed to cars and you get the whole hill to yourself. Magic magic hill.
    Dan
  • I've always found ADH hard, but i think that's due to leaving it till the end of my holiday to climb it. 56 mins is my best time which i did this year. The first few hairpins always play with your head even though you know it eases up after them. Pain in the censored to descend though.

    Fav climb is the Glandon riding from La Chambre in the maurienne valley. I'm always intrigued by the fenced in tennis courts/5 a side pitch in the middle of nowhere about 4km from the top though
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    jonty1977 wrote:
    I've always found ADH hard, but i think that's due to leaving it till the end of my holiday to climb it. 56 mins is my best time which i did this year.

    Finding it hard is nothing to do with leaving it to the end of your holiday, it's because your riding it too damn fast :lol:

    I can only dream of doing it in 56 mins!
  • I climbed Alpe D'Huez when I was 17 or 18 when I went to watch the Tour with my Dad.

    We cycled from Bourg D'Oisans during the day, got there mid pm and then, before dinner, I was so excited I persuaded Dad that we should climb it that night.

    Off we went, when I hit the bottom hairpins I went for it, imagining myself on the telly. I felt great and my Dad (who was pretty close to me normally) was miles behind. As we went up, I could see him two of three hairpins below me and I felt like Greg Lemond.

    At this point I was definitely wondering what all all the fuss was about.

    About 2/3rds of the way up I didnt feel quite so clever and then all of a sudden I bonked. It was the first time it had happended - it was like a switch was turned off and I could barely turn the pedals. I had no food or water and didnt know what to do except wait for my Dad.

    I pedalled on, painfully slowly and honestly feeling like I would collapse, until I came to a camper van where a german family were waiting for the Tour (due in 2 days). I interrupted their dinner and mimed eating and they gave me a sesame seed bar. This gave me the strength I needed to turn the pedals but it didnt last long and Dad caught me and then had to push me to the top.

    So that put the cheek out of me! It was the year that Roberto Conti won but Pantani was super-fast and was freewheeling so he didnt clip his pedals on the hairpins.
  • hodsgodhodsgod Posts: 226
    Respect, I went skiing there a few years ago, It is steeper and longer than I want to climb.
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Meteorological smug warning

    As did 8-year old (this August) Thomas, 10-year old Hazel on their own bikes and little brother George on the trailer bike on the back of dad's bike, this August.

    While 11-year old Billy climbed La Marmotte last year in 1hr. 20min.

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  • nick hansonnick hanson Posts: 1,655
    Meteorological smug warning


    While 11-year old Billy climbed La Marmotte last year in 1hr. 20min.
    Thats a damn fine time,for the croix de fer/telegraphe/galabier,then alpe d'huez at the end :D
    so many cols,so little time!
  • jonty1977 wrote:
    I've always found ADH hard, but i think that's due to leaving it till the end of my holiday to climb it. 56 mins is my best time which i did this year. The first few hairpins always play with your head even though you know it eases up after them. Pain in the censored to descend though.

    Fav climb is the Glandon riding from La Chambre in the maurienne valley. I'm always intrigued by the fenced in tennis courts/5 a side pitch in the middle of nowhere about 4km
    from the top though

    Jonty you are right; I saw this 5 a side pitch out of the corner of my eye descending Glandon (I came up via Col du Mollard/Croix de Fer) but was more preoccupied with looking at the road ahead and it didn't really register it mentally, until the descent became less in need of concentration. So pleased to have it confirmed; but there are no houses nearby? and if anybody hoofs the ball into touch they will have a long walk to retrieve it from the bottom of the valley.
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