It’s a classic. Each year, we offer you some advice on how to get the best out of the Alpe d’Huez – Bourg d’Oisans Duathlon. With 20% growth expected in 2020, this is the format that is expanding the most among the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon events. The 12th edition includes a change in size (3km to be exact): the second run is lengthened from 2.5km to 5.5km. So here are a few clues to be at the top on July 28th. (photos by Cyrille Quintard)
1 – The preparation of the Alpe d’Huez Duathlon: no secret…
Climb, climb, and climb again. To perform well on this event, hit the hills, but especially try to practice on long climbs. Training in the mountains will give you a real advantage on the day. If you don’t have the opportunity, and you live in a desperately flat area for those looking for a percentage, don’t panic! There are specific training methods if you investigate a little. In any case, integrate well this principle: this race requires a very special effort, so your preparation must adapt accordingly. Get out of your habits!
2 – First run in Bourg d’Oisans: do not fall into the trap
The first run of the Alpe d’Huez Duathlon perfectly sets the tone for the race. Usually taking place in the very hot weather (WARNING: the start is brought forward to 15.00 instead of 16.00), and climbing towards the foothills of the town, this 6.5km introduction is much more demanding and difficult than it seems. Unless you want to be at the forefront, be conservative and don’t succumb to the euphoric start of the other participants! You’ll have plenty of time to make a difference later on.
3 – Second run at Alpe d’Huez: the big change
The best runners will finally be able to have a good time with the new layout of the second run. The loop covers almost the entire circuit used for the two triathlons, and therefore includes the famous last bends of the Col de Sarenne. This changes everything, as the last 5.5km long race will now have to be well managed, whereas it was more of an agonizing sprint before. On the bike, it is now essential to keep energy to complete a solid race.
4 – Nutrition: hydration and energy at the heart of performance
In 2019, heat records were broken in Oisans during Triathlon Week. The conditions during the Alpe d’Huez Duathlon proved to be very difficult for the participants. Hydration is a fundamental aspect before, during and after the effort. Be rigorous, all the more so as the circuits leave little pause for recovery! Note that the Hydrixir drink from our partner Overstim.s will once again be available at the aid stations. Your health is at stake above all. Similarly, on such a short format, think about your immediate energy sources to maintain a good level of intensity. Establish your nutrition strategy and test it before the day.
5 – The material: don’t make mistakes
The dry ascent of the 21 bends that await the participants of the Alpe d’Huez Duathlon implies a good choice of gears. If you are not well accustomed to this type of effort, plan a 38X25 development or even a triple plateau for beginners. You may not have the use of it, but in case of a hard blow, it allows you to continue your ascent while trying to recover. Also, remember that two transition parks require two pairs of shoes! Plan ahead to make the most of this extraordinary experience.