Thanks to Gordon for this superb photo of finish of the 2005 Etape du Tour!


Key training Period


May is the Etapper’s key training period!


Up to now, you will have probably been building up your distance, improving your speeds and maybe trying a few Sportives and Audaxes.


Now is the time to get serious!



If you have been following the training hints, you have probably done a 100 mile ride by now. If not, now is the time!


If you have already done a 100 mile ride, it is good to do a similar distance, but this time pushing the speed and adding a few more hills to your route. You are still allowed to stop for refreshments – there are food stops in the Etape!



No doubt you will want to increase your speed. Now that the evenings are getting lighter, 10 mile or even 30 mile evening rides are becoming possible. Keeping a log of your average speed over a given distance is a great encouragement. A good target speed is 16mph to 18 mph average on the flat – or faster if you are fit enough!



For most of us, the mountains are far away. There is nothing like training on real mountains. Why not join Mark’s trip to the Alps on 23rd May – see the Events page on this web site for details. There will be an opportunity to climb Col de Joux Plane, Col de la Colombiere and Col d’ Aravis amongst others! Let me know if you are interested:, or contact Mark directly..


If you are not able to get to the mountains, hill repeats are a good substitute! Find a hill near you – maybe 100 metres high – climb it 5 times and you have climbed 500 metres! The descents are also useful practice.



May is not the time to fine tune your pacing! It is a time to make rapid progress with your fitness in areas such as leg strength, endurance, power and speed! When you have reached your optimum fitness level you will be able to fine tune your pacing



You may wish to step up the frequency of your training sessions to 3 a week at this stage. The optimum frequency allows recovery from the last session, which will depend on the intensity of the sessions and your fitness level.


I hope you manage to find some convenient climbs near you. I have a few favourites in the Chilterns and farther away – there are many in the Peak District, Wales and the Lake District, though my all time favourite is the toll road known as New Road from Porlock in Devon, with its alpine 400 m climb with fantastic views over the sea! Do you have a favourite climb? If you let me know maybe I’ll put it on the web site!


Try the route!

It is always worth trying out the Etape route beforehand! We are organising a couple of reconnaissance trips to do just that! Email me if you are interested! Again, more details are on the Events page.


Enjoy your training! Maybe I’ll see you along the road somewhere!