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Time Megeve Cyclosportive 2006

by Adam Tranter

As part of his Etape De Tour training Ossie had signed up with GPM10 to compete in the Time Megeve Cyclosportive.

There were three routes on offer an 88km, 118km and a punishing 150km circuit with 4000metres of climbing including two ascents of 900metres. Being very enthusiastic Ossie had signed up for the 150km.

Try this for size!

Being almost as keen as Ossie, Greg had signed up for the 150km route as part of his training for the Marmotte.

As normal Mark Neep from GPM10 had organised the whole weekend to perfection.

Ossie and Greg were picked up from Geneva airport on Friday afternoon with bike boxes and transported to Chamonix.

The next morning the bikes were soon assembled and we prepared our warm up ride to Megeve. This consisted of 35km ride with one serious climb towards the end.

This ride exposed the fact that the rear mech on Greg¢€™s bike had been mangled during transport and was a write off. However, that evening Sam one of Sigma¢€™s top mechanics was due to arrive to also take part in the event.

Mark was able to supply a new rear mech and by 7.30am the next morning Greg was ready to go. The hotel was literally 250 metres from the start village. Mark had five customers entered for the event plus Warwick Spence and Sam. Warwick being an Elite rider and Sam a Cat 2 UK racer.

Having collected our transponders the night before we made our way round to the start about 15 minutes before the allocated time. There were about 2,500 in the three different races. Again Mark had come up trumps and got us in the start pen with the first 200 riders. We rubbed shoulders with the likes of Alain Prost who was entered for the 88km race.

Like clock work we set off at 8.30 with the temperature already well in to the 20¢€™s. It would top out later that day at 34 degrees.

As usual for a French Cyclosportive the start was fast and furious. This was aided by a rolling road block allowing us use the whole road. Marshals directed us on either side of traffic islands and support vehicles sped by hooting. It really felt like a stage of a pro race.

Greg with new rear Mech!

Ossie¢€™s saddle came loose just after the start and required a quick tighten. Ossie commented afterwards that ¢€œit was like trying to join a motorway full of traffic moving flat out when I got going again¢€.

It was hard to judge your pace at this stage as there were riders for the different distances all mixed together.

The first real climb was Col de La Croix Fry. I had done this climb last year with GPM10 so knew how to pace myself. As we reached about half way up the climb we overtook a competitor who was a double amputee. He had lost both his left arm and leg. We cycled past in total amazement as this gentleman was cycling up a Cat 2 climb with one leg. He had no artificial leg on his left side. Truly humbling.

The climb crested and the first feed station was at the summit at about 55km into the ride. The descent was a welcome relief from the building heat. The road was well marshalled and cars were being stopped on the corners to allow us to use the full extent of the road. Having ridden the descent last year I was able to really push and clocked 62.8 mph on my GPS on the way down.

The first climb had set the tone for the rest of the ride. There were literally no flat roads on this route. You were either climbing or descending. This made eating on the go very difficult.

Unlike any other Cyclosportive I have done the terrain meant that peletons never seemed to form.

Ossie enjoying the ride.

I hooked up with Mark from GPM10 for short while who was doing the 118km route. Mark pulled away from me on the next climb, the Col des Saisies. On reaching the summit the option of swinging around a traffic island and doing the 118km or going straight ahead for the 150km was available. By now the temperature was in the 30¢€™s and I had hardly eaten. The next feed station was 1.5km from the turnaround point so I continued and refuelled whilst weighing up my options.

It was very tempting to turn around at this point and about 30% of the people at the feed station did. The final results showed only 389 people took part in the 150km route. 

The next part of the race was very tough. We descended from the summit of Col des Saisies. The route then went around the Col for 2km and then took the next road back up to the summit. Having climbed 1000metres already over a distance of 15km I knew what it was going to feel like.

The road was so hot at this point my black shoes were starting to super heat. When I finished I touched my shoes and there were as hot as bonnet on a black car on a sunny day.

This climb is billed as a cat 1 climb. There are sections with inclines over 20%. On previous climbs there had been signs marking the last 1km to the summit. As we ascended I saw one of these signs. It said 5km to the summit and 30km to Arrivee. Riders were standing by this sign looking like the lost zombies from a horror movie.

Eventually the top came into sight and the descent into Flumet and onto Megeve became a reality. I had a fantastic battle with another English chap on the descent. As I reached Flumet and knew I was going to finish. The last 8km was on a newly resurfaced road and despite being uphill was a joy to ride.

Greg descending like a Pro.

On my return I found out that Warwick had blazed around in 5.17 finishing 19th overall. Sam had managed a 6.07 and I was 40 minutes behind at 6.47. Ossie was soon in behind me in 7.20. He looked like someone had thrown a 25kg bag of dishwasher salt at him. But then so did I.

Ossie was really on a high as he had seen the CSC team with Basso heading the other way whilst on his last climb.

The Tour of Wessex was still heavy in my legs and I did not feel this was my best effort. However, it was an amazing event and great preparation for both the Etape and the Marmotte. The temperature and climbing was brutal. Imagine climbing Alpe d¢€™Huez then turning around descending it and then climbing it again straight away.

Ossie our Prodigy.

Ossie deserves massive respect for doing a great time after such a short time in cycling.

Many thanks must go to Mark and Brian from GPM10 for making the trip work so well.

Until next year.


Greg and Ossie

Team Cyclosport UK

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