French Alps challenge for Ayr raider Martin

Martin Moench on the mighty Alpe d' Huez.
Martin Moench on the mighty Alpe d' Huez.

Members of Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club are no strangers to the mighty French Alps.

For the past few years a number of clubmen and women have headed there to take part in some of the most iconic challenges offered to the sportive cyclist.

Last week Martin Moench did just that, when he competed in La Marmotte, an annual, one-day cyclosportive event for amateur cyclists.

It is named after the large ground squirrel that inhabits the slopes of the final climb to the finish in Alpe d’Huez.

For many sportive riders the Marmotte is the ultimate European sportive. Around 7,500 riders take part each year on the first weekend in July, with the fastest riders completing in around 5 hours 45 minutes and the slowest taking anything up to 13 hours.

La Marmotte features several famous Tour de France mountains on its route with the Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe and the final ascent of the brutal Alpe d’Huez with its twenty one hairpin bends to the summit.

Martin completed the course in a fine time of 9 hours 17 minutes for the distance of 108 miles and a total ascent of 17,000 feet.

While Martin favoured the French Alps his club colleagues were out in force last week bagging some Ayrshire Alpine climbs themselves.

The Nic 0’ Balloch and the Barr Hills were favoured by clubmen on Saturday and again on Sunday, when club captain, Aileen Fisher took an alternative route leading from the Turnberry Hills, before the descent into the Girvan Valley.

Here Aileen took her group by way of Penkill and The Screws to Barr Village.