Marmotte Pyrenees 2016

Aug 7, 2016. Up until I finally started losing weight a few weeks back I was keeping my finger hovered above the ‘cancel’ button on the Marmotte GranFondo Pyrenees  at the end of August.


I’ve been riding a lot this year, but ‘training’ has taken a backseat to ‘working’, so much of my time on the bike has been at the client’s pace (still slower than mine, but catching up fast). Also, my love of pizza, beer and beer has been keeping the kilos planted firmly.

But all that is changing, at least if I can believe ‘the numbers’. Here are a few encouraging ones:

100,000: the number of climbing meters I’ve just passed this year on the bike. I’m still far behind last year, but I don’t have Haute Route staring me in the gob either.

1:35: Time I climbed Mont Ventoux in yesterday. This is encouraging, even if it’s only one climb. I know from too much bad experience that 1600 meters is different from 5500 meters.

67.4: My weight in kilograms this morning. I was over 70 just a few short weeks ago, but the starvation diet my wife has had me on has been working wonders. I’m still 3 kg over what I was in Haute Route 2013, but hey, it’s not 2013 anymore, is it?

My mission now is to keep the weight stable and add a few more big rides to my schedule. The latter is not too hard, since it’s quiet over here at 44-5 this month, but the former is going to be a challenge because I’m going to be in Canada (just typing that word put 100 grams on me, I think) for 10 days before the event. You know how much beer, homemade bread, blueberry pie, french fries with gravy, club sandwiches and beer there is in Canada? It’s virtually all that exists.

Wish me luck.

Feb 14, 2016. 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. 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!