TMB Ultra: Hard Part Done

After searching this blog for ‘tour du mont blanc’ I found that have already written a couple of short articles on my misguided desire to try this thing. The first one was 4 years ago now, so it’s obviously something that must be attended to, or I’ll just keep blogging about how I should do this event. And that would get tiresome.

What will be even more tiresome are the 10 hour rides I’ll need to do in training for this monster, but that’s all so hypothetical at the moment, given Covid and the fact that those rides will (might) be months away. For now, I’ve paid my €145 and am officially registered for the ‘TMB Ultra’, and have many months to come to grips with a course that will take me through 3 countries (France, Switzerland, Italy), 338 km (210 miles) of road and 8500 m (28000 ft) of climbing. From what I can gather from past results, it will take up to 19 hours to finish, if you finish at all.

All of this with majestic Mont Blanc always there, looming over you on your right…assuming it’s not shrouded in cloud, like usual.

It really took a lot of willpower to pay for this event this morning, which is not in fitting with my usual carelessness. I suppose I know what, for example, a Marmotte (around 175 km and 5000 m) feels like in the legs, and the knowledge that this will be somewhere just after half the distance of the Tour du Mont Blanc is a little frightening, if I’m honest. Discovering that up to 50% of starters don’t finish is also not very encouraging.

Last night I did find some comfort, though, in the form of a training plan from Alpine Cols, a tour operator and coaching service (available in pdf from the TMB site). They don’t mince words on how extreme the TMB is, but seeing a plan makes me feel like it’s possible. I need to spend half my life on the bike next year, but it’s possible.

If nothing else, I’ll be forced to lose a lot of weight and will be able once again to wear all my m-sized cycling clothes without looking like I’m doing out of pig-headedness.

I guess the only question left is, who’s coming along?

17 thoughts on “TMB Ultra: Hard Part Done

  1. Super. Looking forward to your training reports. Wouldn’t you add another 300 meters of climbing and bag an Everest too. Happy training Gerry.

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