This weekend our very own David Gilliland is participating in the inaugural race for the Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées. This Sunday will mark the start of this 4 day timed cycling event covering a distance of 160km, and climbing a total of 5,600 altimeters over a total of 5 cols. There will be over 5,000 other cyclists, but we know David will come in first, because he’s going to tackle it like that Aperitif in his hand, with class and confidence.
The cols that David will be mastering on Sunday.
A Brief History
Now to give you a bit of a history lesson in cycling these cols, and an idea of what lies ahead for David.
- Col du Tourmalet- this father of all mountain climbs was featured in the Tour de France this year. It also is the most climbed mountain ever in Tour de France history, having been used a total of 78 times. Literally made by the Tour de France the col was originally nothing more than a shepherd path until 1910, when the path was replaced with a road for the race (which costed 3,000 francs). Called l’incontournable in France, meaning the unavoidable, it is the only way to get through this part of the High Pyrenees. Not a climb for the faint of heart the eastern ascent, starting in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, is 17.2km long and gains 1,268m (4,160ft). The western ascent is 19km long and gains 1,404m (4,606ft).David will face it twice covering both possible directions.
- Col d’Aspin- this col is a close second to features in the Tour de France, appearing a total of 71 times. It too was first featured in 1910. From Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, the western ascent is 12.8 km (8.0 mi) in length, gaining 642 m (2,106 ft) in height, at an average grade of 5%.
- The smallest of the cols is Hourquette d’Ancizan starting from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan with an ascent of 709 m stretching 17km at a 4.5% average grade. This col has been featured in the Tour de France twice.
Now we’re not saying you should go out and cycle a Marmotte, but keep an eye out for our Cycle to Work Challenge in September, where we will challenge our staff to cycle to and from work as much as possible throughout the month. Feel free to put yourself to the challenge, and let us know how you’re doing. Be sure to note the changes that happen as the month progresses (you wallet will probably thank you), and don’t miss out on cycling to work on National Cycle to Work Day on the 14th of September. If you do want to cycle something on par with one of the Marmotte cols have a look at our Mont Ventoux trips.
active adventure, adventure, bike race, Cycling, France, Granfondo, Macs Adventure, Marmotte, Pyrenees, race, timed race