There is, of course, no reason why you need to ride the Marmotte event if you just want to ride the route; the road is there all year.
I've found a company that still has entry or all rides.
I got reasonably it for last year but am confident I can get fitter this. I've been interval training on my spin bike and I feel I'm getting there. Also just got a compact chainset( i've been riding a 52/39 up the local hills near me ) managed Leith Hill several times last year without to much trouble on that and several stepper climbs. Barhatch lane near Cranleigh which is 20% at the top has defeated me up until now but am hoping that armed with the compact I should manage that. Obviously these aren't the alps. I'm more worried about the heat. Or from those previous pics, the cold. I've been trying to lose weight. At the moment I'm a 6ft 14 stoner. Athough I don't really look it. Hoping to drop a stone by the summer. I think that would help a lot. All things combined, I'm hoping to improve a fair bit.
Thanks everyone or your advice.