Following the completion of his event, Graeme kindly sent me his story along with a testimonial and some pictures of his event for me to put on my website. You can read this below:
I’ve been a keen and active road cyclist for most of my adult life. I competed in my first 180km sportive event in 1992, cycling from Bath to London along the A4. I’ve been doing
at least one or two a year since then.
In recent years I’ve been pushing the envelope of the difficulty of the events I’ve been entering, including events with more and more climbing in them. In 2017 I agreed with two friends, to enter the Marmotte Grand Fondo, an event that takes place in the French Alpes, and which takes in three HC (the highest grading of difficulty of hill in road cycling) hills in its 185km distance. The climbing is close to 5.5km in vertical ascent.
The event has 8,500 participants, it takes place in early July. It starts at the foot of Alpe D’Huez, and follows a circular route taking in Col Du Glandon, COl Du Telepgraphe, Col Du Galibier (the highest peak the Tour De France ever reaches at 2,650m, and then finally at the end of the day, the 13km and 1,100 vertical meters of unrelenting 8.5% average slope up to Alpe D’Huez.
2018 and felt ready by late June. It was my first time in the alps, and frankly, I hadn’t quite understood the massive step up the event was from even the toughest the UK has to offer. Between the length of the climbs, the temperature differential between the valley floors and the peaks (it was 3C at the top of Glaibier and 32 at the foot), the lack of oxygen at the 9k feet you top out at on Galibier, and the generally high level of fitness and experience of the other participants, I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. I went off too quickly, didn’t eat and drink properly, and was in such state of befuddlement by the top of Galibier that I left my water bottles there, and instead of rehydrating on the 45km decent to Alpe D’Huez, I just became further dehydrated. I tried to eat and drink at the feed station at the foot, but was too far gone. I set off up the hill in amongst the many thousands of others, but in the afternoon heat, I made it only as far as the 2nd of the 21 corners of the zig zag road up to the ski station before accepting that if I carried on I would either fall off with heat stroke, or potentially worse. The three of us had each weighed ourselves that morning and again in the evening. I’d lost 7kg in the day. Mostly fluid.
I prepared well in 2017 into
On the two day journey home I resolved to go back the following year, and to put the situation right. I listed the areas I felt I’d failed in, and at the top was hydration followed by nutrition.
Come early spring 2018, I contacted Craig, explained the situation and agreed a five session course. I couldn’t have been happier from the start. Craig knew straight away what I was needing, and laid out various plans. He provided advice, improved my knowledge and gave me confidence. He has specific knowledge about the relatively extreme environment that comes with the high altitudes, and the effects it has on you. He is patently very capable in his field.
The outcome of that, along with some harder and more appropriate training was that despite even hotter weather this year in the event, with 34C being recorded half way up the final climb, I finished, and with some style. I even felt strong enough to sprint the last kilometer!
I can’t recommend Craig highly enough to anyone who is looking to improve in whatever sport they participate in, and at whatever level. Indeed, Craig has just agreed to start working with my daughter who is a competitive gymnast, and she having seen the benefit I obtained, is very much looking forward to it.