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Can I complete L'Etape du Tour 2009?

TheDrunkMonkTheDrunkMonk Posts: 181
I'm currently upgrading myself from a commuter to a sportive beginner. I've completed the short versions of the Cheddar Challenge and the Tour of Dartmoor over the past 2 weeks, with the latter nearly killing me.
My questions are:
1: Can I get from this lowly level to completing the Etape before the end of July?
2: What sort of training for how long etc. do I need to do to get to that standard?

I read an article by I guy who completed last year's Etape, he was training for hours everyday without rest days. I probably won't be able to manage that. Any advice?

Posts

  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    You certainly can.

    I completed the Etape last year (2007), starting my training in January, and without a commuting base.

    Your commute can probably be used as the main part of your mid week training, supplimented with longer rides at weekends (perhaps with a club).

    Then come next spring doing regular sportives make a good way of getting some longer rides under your belt.
    Rich
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    RichA wrote:
    You certainly can.

    I completed the Etape last year (2007), starting my training in January, and without a commuting base.

    Your commute can probably be used as the main part of your mid week training, supplimented with longer rides at weekends (perhaps with a club).

    Then come next spring doing regular sportives make a good way of getting some longer rides under your belt.

    I agree with all above. (PS re the chap who trained every day without rest days mentioned in original post: that's probably not recommended.)

    Also, depending on how seriously you plan on taking cycling in future, you might want to consider getting some coaching advice. A club may be able to offer this, if not then posters here can give some recos.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Go for it.

    Ignore those who pretend it's some near-impossible challenge of endurance. Some people get hooked on the link to the Tour de France and cling to notions of training schedules and meticulous equipment choice but it's the cycling equivalent of a fun run and full of bearded Frenchmen in their 50s.

    I've coached people including a couple who had previously been into kayaking and jogging, they didn't even own a bike until March and went on to finish in the top half of the finishers by July.

    Aim to be able to ride for 6 hours at 17-18mph average and you'll be fine. If you can, try a ride in France next summer a few weeks before, it will be fun in its own right and good training to boot.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Kléber wrote:
    If you can, try a ride in France next summer a few weeks before, it will be fun in its own right and good training to boot.
    Preferably throwing in a few cols.............nothing in the UK can prepare you for climbing for 30 minutes plus. It's as much a test of your mental strength as physical and knowing that you can climb a col because you did it 6 weeks before is a big help.
  • Thanks guys.

    All very encouraging stuff. I think I'll particularly take the advice about joining my local club and aim to do as many sportives at the beginning of the year as I can. I still find it hard to imagine doing an Etape after feeling like absolute death at the end of the short Dartmoor ride, but I'll keep it up. I'm enjoying seeing myself improve even though I'm still at the start. 50 year old bearded Frenchmen, here I come! :D
  • Thanks guys.

    All very encouraging stuff. I think I'll particularly take the advice about joining my local club and aim to do as many sportives at the beginning of the year as I can. I still find it hard to imagine doing an Etape after feeling like absolute death at the end of the short Dartmoor ride, but I'll keep it up. I'm enjoying seeing myself improve even though I'm still at the start. 50 year old bearded Frenchmen, here I come! :D
  • Hugh AHugh A Posts: 1,189
    I agree - given the right sort of preparation - and you don't have to go mad - the etape is well within your grasp.

    Some like to train as if nothing else in the world matters and only a gold standard will do, and some think they can bluff their way through on almost no training.

    The sensible course lies somewhere in the middle. You will need to spend more time riding than those lads from the BBC (link somewhere in previous posts on etape this year), but it is quite possible to be sensible about it.

    Nothing in the uk is quite the same as the long continental mountain routes, but I think you can prepare quite well for them here on flat roads, or even indoors on a turbo by applying the effort required for the appropriate period of time.

    I'm not a great rider but have completed 4 etapes now, and the only one where I felt I was being chased by the broom wagon was the first one. I'm not saying they can't be hard, but I think if you join a club and build the speed up a bit you will have no problems at all.
    I\'m sure I had one of those here somewhere
  • "it's the cycling equivalent of a fun run and full of bearded Frenchmen in their 50s. "

    It may be for some, but one also sees loads of 30 & 40-somethings pushing their expensive equipment up the steepest roads they have ever seen. For most people,
    treat it with respect, replicate the distance and pace in training, and you'll get there.
    But I know some who have attempted it more than once and failed, and that is
    a lot of time, money and disappointment. ''Equivalent of a fun run' is a gross exageration.
  • When I did it 5 yrs ago I found this article useful as a no b*llshi*t sensible, unpretentious approach from someone who had never done it before

    http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=2559
  • gavbarrongavbarron Posts: 824
    Hi sorry to hijack this post to some extent but this is something I've been looking into. Can anyone recommend a good company to book with? What typically should I expect to pay? I've seen packages for around £450 but is it worth just paying for entry and sorting my own accomodation? (I'm a student so "a penny saved...") :oops:
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    gavbarron wrote:
    Hi sorry to hijack this post to some extent but this is something I've been looking into. Can anyone recommend a good company to book with? What typically should I expect to pay? I've seen packages for around £450 but is it worth just paying for entry and sorting my own accomodation? (I'm a student so "a penny saved...") :oops:

    Think there are 2 main problems with going own way:
    > Getting an entry (firms have allocation of tickets, go solo and best to try to get someone in France to enter for you)
    > Logistics of staying at/getting kit to/from start/finish (given they will be 100 miles apart and the world and his wife will be wanting hotels.

    Theres lots more already re this already posted and will be a lot more once the etape stage is known (late this month, rumours it may be Ventoux, if so then both above magnified by several times). Keep your eyes and ears open.

    PS Alternative would be do the Marmotte, neither of 2 problems apply for it
    Martin S. Newbury RC
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