The Etape du Tour is just around the corner. So with tapering of training efforts in mind to give legs every chance to fully recover the weekend saw the last big training effort, the Fred Whitton Challenge. The Fred Whitton is a circuit of the Lakes that takes in all of the major mountain passes – over 180km of riding with around 3700m of climbing. Tough! Perhaps a little tougher than the Etape in some ways due to the extreme nature of some of the climbing. Hardknott Pass in particular is epic, and being near the end of the ride ones legs are already knackered. So again a little like the Etape which, in 2017, finishes with a 32km (albeit less severely steep) climb to the Col d’Izoard.
It’s the ultimate amateur cycling challenge – riding a stage of the Tour de France during the Tour de France and under race conditions. Yep, it’s the one and only l’Étape du Tour.
The official route map and time schedule have been published for the 2017 l’Etape do Tour. It’s a very long ride with an awful lot of climbing! Only 15 days to go…
So, I’ve just fitted new tyres to my bike. Plan is to scrub them in this weekend hopefully. Then the bike is as ready as it’s ever gonna be for the Etape. I just hope I’m ready now? Too late if I’m not!
Yesterday was super scorchio (hot). Apparently it’s some kind of record (since 1976) for the number of days where temperatures have reached 30°C in England! So maybe it wasn’t the best day to go for a massive cycle ride? But training for l’Etape du Tour continues, and it may well be super hot in the Alps during the race too, so maybe it was good conditions. Anyhow, it was a great ride… More “Scorchio through the Trough of Bowland and on up Kingsdale and down Dentdale”
My training for the l’Etape du Tour is progressing. It started just four weeks ago with a tough hilly ride of just 37k. Yesterday I managed a 104k ride and I’ve completed two of Strava’s challenges for the month, the Gran-Fondo (100k in a single ride) and the April climbing challenge (7,500m of climbing).
Here are a couple of selfies from recent rides…
There’s still a long way to go though! l’Etape du Tour in 2017 is 178k long with over 3,500m of climbing. Plus there’s the added difficulty of the race finishing with a wicked climb up to the Col d’Izoard, the highest point of the day at 2360m. That climb is gonna be really tough with over 130k already in my legs!
Well, the l’Etape du Tour training started in earnest today…
I’m too not sure how to feel about my performance, but I guess it was the first time out on my bike for over a year so I shouldn’t feel too bad. I managed just over 37k, but was I totally knackered on the climbs! The route I took kicked off almost immediately by heading straight up the old Sedbergh Road out of Kendal. From there on every single little rise was an absolute killer. Nearing the end of the ride I didn’t think I was gonna get back up to Crook at all!!!
When I watch this video I’m left with two competing and equally massive feelings:
What the hell have I done entering such a mind numbingly massive event?
Riding a mountain stage of the Tour de France a few days before the Tour itself will be awesome!