The Mother of All Cyclosportives

I just ran across this (new?) tagline of the Marmotte Granfondo Series, while signing up for the Pyrenees version last night. I’ve done one Marmotte and it was a ‘mother’, I agree.


I’d been feeling kind of down since procrastinating too long and missing out on the Alps version, so jumped at this after consulting Shoko and my calendar last night (both are free). This is the very first Marmotte in the Pyrenees and part of the Great Brand Expansion of 2016. It’ll be interesting to see how many riders they can corral onto this route, given all the other huge events taking place this summer.

Here’s a pointy profile for you.


The route is 163 km and has an total elevation gain of 5600 m, making this shorter, but higher, than the traditional Marmotte. According to Garmin Connect, if I finish this monster, I’ll have a new ‘personal best’ on climbing.

The granfondo climbs the Col du Tourmalet, 18km – 7.4% , Hourquette d’Ancizan, 17km – 4.5% , Col d’Aspin, 12km – 6.5% , Col du Tourmalet (again!) 17km – 7.5% ; finishing, like the original Marmotte, with a climb to a ski station – in this case Luz Ardiden, 14km – 7%.

78 kilometers of climbing. That sounds like a lot for one day.


Here’s a photo of what the organizers want you to think you’re signing up for. Having ridden two giant sportives in the Pyrenees already, I’m taking every warm and waterproof piece of clothing I own…just in case their optimism doesn’t pan out.


Anyone else coming along for the fun? Get on it quick if you’re still thinking. Accommodation is booking out fast in the area and the longer you wait, the more likely it is you’ll talk yourself out of it (if you’re like me anyway).

Buy now, suffer later!

10 thoughts on “The Mother of All Cyclosportives

  1. Wow, I had heard there would be one in the pyrenees, but had no idea it would be even harder than the alps version. This one is very seriously tough. End of august, tempting…

    • I didn’t actually even see the elevation till this morning – just signed up because it was in a rare empty space on my summer calendar. Looks like a beast, though. Let me know if you end up doing it.

    • Those are good numbers and probably difficult to beat where you live anyway. There’s something called the Death Ride, in California, which would do the trick!

  2. that’s a big day out. if i wasn’t doing HR Pyrenees I’d definitely try it. if you need help with accomondation etc, my training camp in the ariege is live so give me a shout!

    • Thank, Jim. Accommodation all sorted (did that before signing up…I’m an old pro!). HR finishes on the 26th, La Marmotte is on the 28th. Plenty of recovery time 😉

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