Ready to go!


The evenings are light at last – ideal for training – in between showers!

May training

In April we looked at the various aspects of training: hills, distance, speed and group riding

It is now a good time to do two things – concentrate on the most difficult aspects of this year’s Etapes, and to work on your weaker points.

Usually energy saving by slip streaming other riders is an important aspect of the Etape du Tour. This is not quite as useful this year, as there are very few flat sections!

For most of this year’s routes, we will be either riding up a mountain or down the other side!


Climbing and endurance will be the key factors – the ability to climb 1000 metres or more, mainly with reasonable gradients, will be key, as will be the ability to keep going after hours of strenuous riding.

Speed is not quite so important, though there are time limits, and will be important if you have a gold or silver medal in mind!

It is therefore useful to assess your training so far, and in the remaining two months or so, to concentrate on the important areas.


The only way to train for distance is to do long rides!

You may already have ridden 100 miles in a day this year. If not - it is not too late!

Depending on the time you have available for training, the length of your typical training ride will probably have gradually increased, maybe to 30 miles, 50 miles or 70 miles. Rides in the 100 mile or 125 mile range require a bit more planning! Why not impress your friends and relatives who live 100 miles away by cycling to visit them? Why not ride 50 miles to a nice hilly area, then back in the same day?


Most of us would like to make the most of that odd hour when the sun breaks through, or when we want a ride in the fresh air after work! Good use of this time is speed training – maybe a fast 10, 15 or 20 mile ride, or perhaps some interval training! Record your times round your route, and encourage yourself with your improvements!


Climbing and descending are key this year. The best way to practice climbing is to do it. A trip out to a nearby hilly region will pay dividends – undulating terrain is useful – long hills are better! Seek out hills higher than 100 metres if possible – the 250 metres of Cheddar Gorge for example, or the 400 metres of the New Toll Road at Porlock in Devon. If you are able to visit wales there should be plenty of choice – Beaufort Mountain near the Brecon Beacon for example (400 metres on the North facing slope) or the road climbs up to Pen-y-Pass on Snowdon in North Wales. The Highlands of Scotland give you even more choice!

Even better, if you get a chance of a holiday in Mallorca, Spain, France or Italy you will be able to climb 1000 metres or more!


If you really want some focussed training, try one of Matt’s training weekends on North Wales. He specialises in training people for the Etape!


Or to get really authentic training in the Pyrenees try Steve’s training trips. He is a qualified cycling coach who has finished in the first 100 in the Etape du Tour, and his training trips have been very highly recommended. For details See:

Enjoy your training!










N wales

S wales








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