Timing of gels for a 60 min climb ( L'Alpe d'Huez)

I don’t get advice like this. I have done hill climb TTs (think 22 km, 1,200 m of elevation in 1:10 hours) and always taken one bottle with energy mix. Depending on the temperature and humidity I wouldn’t be against two. Even as a novice you can drink quite easily on hill climb TTs. And if you have gotten accustomed to taking in a certain amount of carbs per hour, just execute like every other workout.

Especially when it is hotter and/or you bake in the sun when you reach the tree line, I really don’t think it is a good idea to have zero liquids.


If your stomach can take it, pound 2 gels before starting. I do this on short local MTB races which are right around an hour. I’ll then bring a small bottle that’s maybe 2/3 full with carb drink.

Fueling a 1 hour effort is all about reducing RPE.


In a Shorter Flat TT, in rainy Europe, drinking is usually overkill. Also, drinking on a TT bike usually costs significant time, with you getting out of position, maybe soft pedaling for a bit and then fiddling the bottle back into the cage.
On a mountain TT, thePosition is mostly neglected (I’m not saying that’s good, but everyone usually sits super upright.
Reaching and drinking costs you maybe 1 second here.
The 600g for bottle, cage and 400ml of water would cost me around 2 Watts at 330W of power.
If you are really craving water or dread the feeling of a dry mouth, you’re probably better of with the bottle at your disposal.

Good points, overall I agree. Let me just pick some nits. :wink:

Not all of Europe is rainy. And if your hill climb TT brings you above the tree line, you also don’t have much shade. Unlike (regular) TTs, you will also be going at slow speeds, so there is less convection cooling. Hence, if it is hot, you might get very hot.

Yup. Same when you compare it with crit races. Last year I did my first race in 2 years, and I was quite nervous. I rarely drank. (I had to bring a bottle, though, it was literally the hottest day of the year and 4 athletes had to be whisked away to a hospital, heat stroke.)

On the other hand, you could be losing time by the increase in RPE. If it is hot, staying cool by drinking might be essential.

Good point when looking at previous results. The actual segment is even shorter, and I think this is representing the “sub-60 Club” that a lot of people wants to be part of.

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Agree. The rise in fatigue during these mountainous events are not to be underestimated. I passed a bunch of people on the last climb during day 2 of Dolomites. But looking at my numbers they are not that impressing… I guess the others just bonked more than me :grinning:

Day 2 for AdH looks brutal. 3000m climbed in less than 70km. That last km’s with about 10% grades will be absolutely shattering. At least we don’t need to focus on drafting :crazy_face:

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That probably is the segment to look at. It’s the exact segment that’s used on Zwift also. Everything before that is pretty undulating. Everything after that is often clogged up with traffic. Just sucks that the Number 1 on that segment is an idiot cheater, who is taunting Jason Osborne like a child :face_with_peeking_eye::face_with_spiral_eyes:.

In this Haute Route however, the road should be cleared, so there is a little bit added on top. Around 100m of climbing more:

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3000m on 70k sounds crazy. It means the we climb at an average of 7% throughout the entire stage (subtracting the descents).
Drafting however may not be as useless as it seems. The first climb of the day is pretty undulating and is a net zero ascent. Also, we crest Sarenne 54k into the stage, and the remaining 14k are undulating, a slight net downhill, and still timed.


Someone flagged that guy’s ride, and Bardet is back on top now…

Won’t be for long though. Whoever that is has a personal war with Jason Osborne.
There were several comments about „each segment you flag, I take two of his KOMs“.
And all those are unfunny German names, that take KOMs on real life and zwift segments where Osborne is on the leaderboard. Really embarrassing!

Good points! Guess my eyes have been too focused on the climbs. Would make sense to find a group until the ascent up Les 2 Alps, and see if there are any wheels to share the pain with after Sarenne.

Depends on the number of participants though. In the HR Dolomites the only time I could find a group was to the first ascent on day 2. But I guess there might be more riders at this event.

Completely agree. Would never do a 1hr hill climb with no electrolytes and would usually have a gel around halfway. Particularly on adh which is exposed and can get very hot. Your decision but unless you’ve trained 1hr climbs regularly and know you can go without then it won’t hurt to bring 400ml.

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Even if you don’t need all of it in the end, I just don’t think it is wise. Some people might myopically focus on those 500 g of water weight “they’ll be saving”.

I’ve only been skiing in Les Deux Alpes and spent some time in Les Houches in the offseason, but it must be amazing to go mountain biking and road biking there in the summer.

You shouldn’t need calories for a hard 1 hour effort, but I’d bring a bottle of something cold, particularly if it might be warm that day. Your body shouldn’t need anything for the effort, but discomfort from dry mouth or thirst can be a distraction from keeping the power on target. I personally wouldn’t want to be messing with gels when doing an all out threshold effort. Personally, I’d pop 400mg of caffeine gels 15 minutes before the start, but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you’ve trained/tested that way before.

The alp climb in Zwift is my go-to fitness/mental test when I’m leading into a big event. I just focus on breathing and watching my power numbers while trusting my training. My best time last year was 47 minutes, which took 305 watts average and 4.1w/kg. I’ve heard that the zwift route is unrealistically fast compared to the real thing and I don’t know what w/kg it would take to do the real climb in under an hour, but it wouldn’t be hard to figure out with some strava stalking. For a constant steep climb like that, it’s mostly a math problem with just the wind and any drafting as the significant variables. I hope I can do the real thing someday. Good luck and have fun. That’s truly a bucket list climb.

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So I did a little endurance ride today and gave the famous segment a go.
The one at HR is another 600m or so, but that shouldn’t take more than 1 minute really.

That’s 252W average at around 82kg of System weight. Normal bibs and jersey.
So I was exactly 11% off a 59:59.
With around 75% of power needed to overcome gravity at 8% That’d mean some ~15% more power required, or 290W.
Equivalently, wanting to do the entire TT (without lead) in in sub 60, you’ll need some 17.5% more, which equates to around 296W (considering the same air pressure, wind, weight, Powermeter accuracy etc).


Cool! That lines up with my calcs as well. I have read somwhere that it requires 3.7 W/kg to do it in less than 60.

I should have done what you have done, travelled earlier… Our flights have been cancelled by Brussel Airlines and no alternatives are available… So I have to defer my event to next year. Same happened to me last year when I was doing C-R.

Wish you good luck @Aeroiseverything ! Sounds like you got the fitness and preparation to do really well. Pace it on stage 2 and hopefully you can (at least slightly) enjoy the views from the top of Sarenne.

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So, a few insights from yesterday‘s TT:
My call time was 10am, and my start time was said to be 10:15, although the latter turned out to be 10:08.
My plan was to eat around 2,5 hours before the start, get a bar in just around 60 minutes before, get warmed up as close to the event as possible (there was no dedicated warm up area etc), chuck down a caffein gel down after that, and then race.
I brought an Elite Fly bottle so I could pre-Hydrate and left a little of the water + malto dextrin in there, to keep the mouth wet during the effort. The water had around 50g of carbs to it.
I have a relatively low blood sugar level, but here you can see what happened:

The breakfast in the morning was okay and didn’t lead to major spikes.
The beginning of the „warm up“ was a chilly descent of Alpe d‘Huez, so not mich usage of sugar there. I can’t explain the dip at some point, maybe that’s when I had to take a leak…
I was pretty happy with how high I was able to maintain blood sugar levels towards the end of the warm up and the beginning of the effort without crazy spiking. The TT had a 1.8k lead in that wasn’t timed, so I used that to warm up again, and breeze back into performance mode. That works well for me, with acute strain usually leading to spikes and subsequent drops.
Yeah, and I didn’t warm down after or anything, so the remaining sugar just went unused.

The time was pretty good, although I think I had a little more in the tank.
52:09 on the official Chrono, 48:21 on the „Zwift Segment“.
Average of 327W, NP of 331W, weight just around 70kg. Bike and everything probably another 8kg tops.


Well done! Impressive effort!
I’ve been seeing the pictures and videos on social media, and apart from the showers on day 1 it seems to have been a fantastic event.

As for HR, I have no response from them. I can understand they have been busy during the event, but I’m a bit disappointed with the radio silence…

That sucks to hear. I am surprised, because to my experience Vincent is a super quick responder and very helpful.

Yeah… Just got a response from their Athletes Services Manager. No deferral or refund possible… They used to have this cancellation insurance, but removed this option and introduced this deferral option. Not worth much if you can’t use it if it’s closer to one month to the event, and there is no use of common sense. Given the cost of these events I highly doubt any of us four would ever participate or recommend Haute Route events if anyone asks. Shame, since they are well organized and very “fun”…

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