July Training Hints
The Etape is nearly upon us! Ventoux here we come!
Now is the time to polish up on those final bits of training – that extra bit of speed – those extra distances – group riding and above all, this year, climbing! Despite the picture of an Etape sprint finish above, it will all be a question of conserving energy – slipstreaming, pacing yourself at a sustainable speed and climbing steadily – after those 6 hills there is Ventoux! Maybe you will be able to try some hills or a mountain before tapering off and carbo- loading ready for the great challenge!
You will remember seeing contest on the top of Ventoux on the television – and dramatic sprint finishes- but the steady progress of riders for the other 100 miles of each stage is less memorable – miles of well paced, steady progress, sheltering the team leaders ready for the final mountain finish.
Economy is the name of the game early on – choosing a group of riders going at the right speed for you – getting the pace right on the hills- progressing with the group of riders and occasionally breaking away to catch a faster group or to follow a faster rider to make up for lost time, maybe dropping back to a better paced group. You may even be in a well organised group, taking turns at the front.
The weather may be a kind friend and a ferocious enemy – those kind breezes giving welcome relief from high temperatures on a climb – but if the temperature drops to near zero and hail comes down, those carrying an extra layer and something waterproof will not feel unprepared! Those with gloves will be spared trying to brake on the descents with numb hands!
I expect you have honed your bike by now, and will be spared emergency last minute repairs. I expect you have patch free inner tubes so patches would not come loose when braking as we descend from Col de Abeilles. I also expect your tyres and brakes are in good condition, your chain is well oiled and does not rub and your gears are well adjusted, and your cleats are in good condition!
We will soon be at the Welcome Village in Montelimar, then lining up in our starting pens in the cool of the early morning – wondering what the day will bring!
See you there – have a great Etape - and take care!
See you at the top of Ventoux!!