On Wednesday we are riding the Prix des Rousses which is a much shorter ride of 40km starting at the bottom of Alpe d'Huez and riding up the famous 21 hairpins and then back downabout half way then up to Vuajany. in 2005 it took me 2½ hours and I don't expect much difference this time.
Then comes the big one. Saturday morning at 07:00 we start the 175km Marmotte with many thousands of other cyclists and head almost straight up the first of 3 BIG climbs of the day (5000m in total)- The Col du Glandon, then there is a short rest before the Col du Galibier which is very long and very steep. There is a long descent after that before the final climb to Alpe d'Huez for the finish. Last time I got the silver award in 9:54 but this time I want to get the gold which means that I have to finish within 8:49. This difference may seem enormous, but I know that I spent at least 20 minutes sitting at the bottom of the last climb eating, drinking and resting last time along with several stops along the way. I think I have a shot at getting the gold this time, but it will certainly not be easy.
The morning after the Marmotte is the last race which is a short little 14km up to Alpe d'Huez again although I guess we may then ride back to the house to save anyone driving over to fetch us.
Over the 4 races there are well over 10 000m of vertical gain and that is why I am trying to shed as much weight as possible in the few remaining weeks before it all begins.