“One of the toughest triathlon’s in the world”
The Alpe d’Huez Triathlon takes place in a unique location with the swim in the crystal waters of the Verney lake, exclusively accessible to swimmers for the triathlon event and surrounded by lush peaks. You then tackle the world famous bike section with both the short and long courses, climbing the legendary 21 bends of l’Alpe d’Huez.
The race finishes off with the beautiful run section 2000m above sea level. This is indeed a test but if you are an intermediate or advanced triathlete and haven’t ticked Alpe d’Huez off your triathlon wish list then don’t hang around, sign up now to avoid disappointment, last year the event sold out before May.
The event was voted by German Triathlon Magazine (Europe's biggest triathlon publication) as one of the 'must-do' triathlons in the World.
How to enter the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon
- Triathlon: Swim 2.2km, Bike 118km, Run 20km
- Triathlon: Swim 1.2km, Bike 28km, Run 6.7km
- Duathlon: Run 6.5km, Bike 15km, Run 2.5km
Alpe d'Huez Triathlon routes
The Long distance Alpe d'Huez Triathlon takes place in an exceptional setting and over a unique course!
Start at 9:30 a.m
Think about a good warm-up, as the water will be chilly but calm, since the wind usually only picks up in the early afternoon. Well identify the course before starting. For those who feel the cold a lot, prepare two swimming caps and why not a bit of warming oil before putting on your full body swimsuit.
The cycling course can be broken down into six stages, each of which has its own special characteristics:
Km 0 to 24 (Séchillienne)
Don't set off too fast, this part is a false flat and there might be a tendency to put on too high a gear ratio, especially as the wind is usually in your advantage over this section. Think of taking along some oversleeves, which are easy to carry and will protect you from the chill. In the mountains, weather conditions can change quickly, so you may find them useful in the event of a storm too.
Km 24 to 40 (Alpe du Grand Serre)
The climb to the Alpe du Grand Serre is not particularly difficult. What with all the enthusiasm, it's easy to get carried away, so it's preferable to use an easy gear ratio balancing velocity and power. That way, you'll be neither out of breath nor fighting it. Don't forget to fill your bottles at Alpe du Grand Serre, because, in spite of the wind on the summit, the heat can be significant in the following valley.
Km 40 to 73 (Valbonnais)
After a short 3 km descent, the valley resembles a downhill false flat. You can therefore put the gears back on and test higher speeds close to 40 km/h. Watch out, there are a few areas that will remind you of why this is a difficult course, take them easy without drawing too much on your muscle's reserves. If you need to eat and drink, this is the time to do it. Prevention is better than cure! The one at Valbonnais is the supply point you should not miss. You must absolutely refill here (liquid and solid). At this supply point there are savoury foods available, take advantage of it for a change from sweets.
Km 73 to 91 (Col d'Ornon)
If you want to let yourself go, this is the time to do it, but with moderation! Always keep your efforts under control. The Col d'Ornon is very pleasant, the last 3 km are steeper, don't hesitate to go back down to easier gear ratios. If it's sunny, the air can become very thin. Don't hesitate to spray yourself and freshen up; a station at Perrier will enable you to fill up your bottles again.
Km 91 to 105 (Bourg d'Oisans)
Be careful on this highly technical descent. Let yourself roll down without making too much of an effort, because your only objective at this stage is to recover, hydrate and feed, to arrive at the foot of the Alpe d'Huez in the best possible conditions. And don't hesitate to stretch your legs.
Km 105 to 118 (The climb up to Alpe d'Huez)
At Bourg d'Oisans: mandatory stop to fill water bottles. The first six bends up to La Garde are awful – the climb is steep and the heat is stifling, so be patient and don't hesitate to use your easiest gear ratio. Between La Garde and Saint-Féréol (bends 16 to 7) you'll be smiling again, as the gradient is less steep, and you too are now part of the legend of this route that has seen a century of great cycling champions go by. You should use each bend to revive and recover. It'll still be very hot, so don't hesitate to spray yourself. Between Saint-Féréol and the Patte d'Oie (bends 7 to 3): here you go above 1500 m in altitude, so it will be a little less hot. Take advantage of the Huez crossing to catch your breath, because the difficulties will come back starting with bend No. 4.
Between the Patte d'Oie and the finish line, the steep climbs are back and they are exacerbated by a new problem, the wind that blows on the summit. These are the last few kilometres now, and you'll finish with energy and courage plus the pleasure of seeing your fellow riders making their way up once you are in the last few bends.
The course is a mixture of paths and asphalted roads. In the climbs, you should shorten your stride, and let yourself go on the way downhill. There are twelve supply points on the course, so drink something regularly. The course consists of 3 loops. The first should be used to find your rhythm and your stride; take the time to become aware of your sensations, as you are at an altitude of between 1800 and 2000 m. Once you have gauged your performance on the first loop, you can let yourself go for the last two...
In an effort over less than 40 km, you will discover a broad range of landscapes and swim, ride and run through the entire gamut of human emotions.
Start at 2:00 p.m
The wind usually picks up at noon on the dot. Therefore, there could be some waves and a bit of current. Make sure you visualise the course before the start. Think about a good warm-up, as the water will be chilly, between 15°C and 17°C depending on weather. For those who feel the cold a lot, prepare two swimming caps and why not a bit of warming oil before putting on your full body swimsuit.
Until Bourg-d'Oisans, the course is easy going, so you can raise the gear ratio. After Bourg d'Oisans, you just have one more kilometre before the climb up to Alpe d'Huez. Take advantage of that last kilometre to recover and hydrate. Between the start of the Alpe and La Garde, the hills are very steep, with gradients ranging between 10 and 12%. Do not hesitate to use a low gear ratio. For your information, to climb the Alpe in less than 50 minutes, you'll have to go by La Garde (Supply point station) in less than 12 min; to do it in less than 55 minutes, you have to have reached La Garde in less than 14 minutes. Until you reach Huez, the climb is more regular, with easier gradients; keep a proper rhythm, but don't go all out because afterwards the bends get harder, so that you will need to draw on your reserves to accomplish a good time.
For the bike course, 2 supply points will be set up over the 30 km:
- km 19 (at La Garde): liquid (water, Energy Drink)
- km 24 (at Saint-Féréol): liquid (water, Energy Drink)
The course is a mixture of trail paths and roads. Remember to drink right from the start of the running course to prevent cramps, because you've just made a big effort on the bike and you're running at an altitude of almost 2000 m. There is just one loop, with a section of climb where you'll have to reduce your stride. Try to get back into a good rhythm with speed in the downhill sections, but make sure you manage your effort.
CUT - OFF TIME
- Swim cut-off / park T1 Lac du Verney: 03.00pm
A legendary training between Bourg d'Oisans and Alpe d'Huez!
Between the start of the Alpe and La Garde, the hills are very steep, with gradients ranging between 10 and 12%. Do not hesitate to use a low gear ratio. For your information, to climb the Alpe in less than 50 minutes, you'll have to go by La Garde (Supply point station) in less than 12 min; to do it in less than 55 minutes, you have to have reached La Garde in less than 14 minutes. Until you reach Huez, the climb is more regular, with easier gradients; keep the proper rhythm, but don't go full tilt because afterwards the bends get harder, so that you will need to draw on your reserves to accomplish a good time.
There are one Supply point station on the course, so drink something regularly. The course consists of & loops. The first should be used to find your rhythm and your stride; take the time to become aware of your sensations.
Alpe d'Huez Triathlon weather forecast
Partly cloudy throughout the day.
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