l’Etape du Tour Training Progress

l'Etape du TourClimbing ChallengeGan FondoMy 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…

Steve and Pete at the top of the Barbondale Road

Pete & Rachel near Sedbergh

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!

The profile of the Étape du Tour route – 178km with 3,529m of climbing

Cycling … Carbon Fibre versus Steel

Twenty-five years after I gave up competitive cycling I went and bought a new road bike! What was I thinking? Have I some how forgotten the endless hours of pain and loneliness out on the road? Or the misery of riding in the rain? Or maybe I’ve simply gotten caught up in the UK’s post-Olympic cycling success fever? I’ve no certain idea. But it’s an awesome machine! So different to bikes from the 80’s… More “Cycling … Carbon Fibre versus Steel”

l’Etape du Tour Training Finally Starts…

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!

Running on Kinder

Richard had deadlines to meet this weekend, so I’ve been out and about enjoying the chilly weather!

On Saturday I cycled with the Tamworth Road and Mountain Cycle Club from Fazeley. Incredibly, within 15 minutes of cycling, we rode along some roads that were completely new to me. Thankfully it was a steady ride and so I kept up with the peloton. About two-thirds of the way, we stopped at a cafe in Roliston and then headed home. We cycled 35 miles in total and I learnt a few things about cycling along the way; so a great morning out. Much better than the afternoon, which was spent cleaning carpets!

To make up for my domesticated Saturday afternoon, on Sunday I met Katy and Amy in Edale for a run on Kinder. After some discussion, we decided to park at Barber Booth to avoid the car parking charge in Edale and from there we decided on a route which went onto the Kinder Plateau from Barber Booth, along Kinder edge to the east and then across Kinder Plateau on the famous footpath, which isn’t really a footpath, but just a general direction to follow. This footpath ‘leads’ to Kinder Downfall, from where our planned was to run down to Swine’s Rocks, over Brown Knoll, up to Rushup Edge, along to Hollins Cross and back down to Barber Booth.

The weather was fantastic; blue skies and cold, and the hoar frost was spectacular! We had to stop a number of times to take pictures! A good 3hr30 run was had and once we’d returned to the cars, we headed off to the Woodbine Cafe to warm up.

Hoar frost on Kinder
Hoar frost on Kinder
A rather random shed that we came across on Kinder Plateau. This shed was largely responsible for us being slightly too much to the left... because we had to go and investigate it, once we'd seen it from afar.
A rather random shed that we came across on Kinder Plateau. This shed was largely responsible for us being slightly too much to the left… because we had to go and investigate it, once we’d seen it from afar.
View from the Kinder Plateau over Hayfield Reservoir
View from the Kinder Plateau over Hayfield Reservoir
Katy on Kinder Low :-)
Katy on Kinder Low 🙂
Hoar frost on the fence on Rushup Edge
Hoar frost on the fence on Rushup Edge
Lots of atmosphere :-)
Lots of atmosphere 🙂

Cycling to Shropshire

We went to see friends in Newport, Shropshire yesterday. Richard deviated the journey to pick up his new car in Stoke, so I took the opportunity to cycle to Shropshire. The 43 mile journey wasn’t quite as quick as I’d hoped, partly because I went the wrong way, but mostly because there was a head wind the entire way!

Penkridge (picture below) marks the point at which I can start to convince myself that I’m nearly there 🙂

Over halfway there!

We stayed over in Newport and spent time chatted lots, eating Carol’s nice food, watching a sparrowhawk and drinking slightly too much. In the morning, after renting out my Richard to solve Carol’s Richard’s arduino problems, we headed off. Thankfully my bike fitted in the new car, so I didn’t have to cycle home 🙂

Thankfully the bike fitted in the new car, so I didn’t have to cycle back!
The route

Dazed cyclist

Cycling to Eastwood from home to see my Grandad seemed like a perfectly sensible thing to do, which it was on the way there. The 38 mile journey flew by in about 2 hours 20 minutes. The way home was a bit more tiring… I even had to stop half way for cola and chocolate and I almost pushed my bike the last 500 m because I wasn’t confident that I could get off it again without falling off…

Hence why I look pretty tired in this picture that Sarah took when I arrived home.

Looking rather tired!