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alpe d'huez

Old 12-08-23, 09:26 PM
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alpe d'huez

Hello--looking for some advice and to hearing some experiences. I am an avid cyclist and have been riding most of my life. I am older (75) and my A riding days, possibly my B+ days, are behind me. Nevertheless I am age-group competitive. It is a bucket-list wish to ride up the alpe d'huez. I don't really care how long it takes me, and I can do the Zwift version slow and steady, so I'm not worried about completing the ride. I just want to have the experience and bragging rights, and hopefully a kit.

I'd love to hear about others' rides up the alpe d'huez. Specifically I would like to hear about nearby places that will rent a road bike, preferably with 3x gearing. Also where to stay, how to get to the start, what your ride was like, when is the best time to try this, etc. Is traffic a big issue? Is it safe to also ride down? Is there some type of tour company that might offer this ride as a package? Any other comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I live in the US. My target time would be summer 2024, otherwise open. Is it a good idea to plan it around the Tour, or should that time be avoided? I also realize that the summer Olympics might block out certain times.

I appreciate anyone's input, thank you in advance.

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Old 12-08-23, 11:42 PM
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I have done it a few times and although a great climb it’s a very busy place. My one piece of advice is to continue on and do the Col de Sarenne after the L’Alpe very peaceful and an amazing descent. Stay in La Grave that way can do the L’Alpe, Galibier, Le Duex Alpes, Col Granon all from one location.
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Old 12-09-23, 07:52 AM
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This is on my bucket list as well, along with other epic TdF climbs.

Great thing now, you can ride these climbs virtually on a smart trainer… find out if you can make the climb in your basement before heading out and spending the money.

I know a guy that made the trek over to France, got to the bottom of Huez, hit the first pitch and gave up.

I rode Huez virtually online last night - so physically I know I can before I go. Weather and wind withstanding…
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Old 12-09-23, 08:02 AM
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I agree with the above. Alpe d’Huez can be very busy with a lot of heavy traffic. I’ve only ridden up it during a closed road event (2022 L’Etape du Tour) and that was great. But I wouldn’t be quite so keen if it was open to traffic. I would suggest reading a guide to the many climbs in that region. The Galibier is a great climb and I really enjoyed the Croix de Fer.
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Old 12-09-23, 12:22 PM
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Having done an organized tour built around the last week or so of the Giro, I would not want to do any of the epic TdF climbs around the time of the race, especially if you want to take your time. Getting nearby accommodations at this stage would also probably be tough. You have to realize how much of the world press is there in addition to people affiliated with the race and the spectators.
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Old 12-09-23, 12:41 PM
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Yeah, I would go off-season unless you specifically want to take in the busy tour atmosphere. It can also be steaming hot in mid summer. It was over 40C in the valley when I rode there in early July. I would either go early or late summer. Might be worth looking into organised tours too. "Cyclist" magazine in the uk often has interesting articles on tour guides, so you might want to look at those.
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Old 12-09-23, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I would not want to do any of the epic TdF climbs around the time of the race, especially if you want to take your time.
I did Alpe d'Huez on TdF race day in 2003, early in the morning. It was actually a pretty good day to do it. The road was closed to vehicle traffic, and it was lined with spectators who had been camped out for who knows how long.

We spent the day atop Alpe d'Huez, waiting for the racers to arrive. After the race completed, police let us cyclists descend before the vehicles, so we once again had the road to ourselves. We were staying at a campground in nearby Allemont, so we simply turned left at the town of Huez and descended right back down to the campsite. A car free day.
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