Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Training for L’Etape du Tour

hanegbyhanegby Posts: 4
I just signed up for the 2010 Etape.
It will be my first time participating in ride of that scale. So, I was hoping if someone could recommend on a solid training schedule that will get me ready by July.
I have been riding around 100 – 200 miles a week. For the last 14 months, so I think I have the base. But I’m not sure how to prepare for this one.
How long before do I need to start the specific training for the Etape? I live in New York, so not a lot of mountains around here, how do I find a solution for that?
I do know what I’m getting into since I rode up the Ventoux last summer and learned what HC climbs are all about.
I will appreciate any response.
Thanks in advance.


  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    You just need to steadily work on your threshold power. Lack of mountains is no big obstacle.
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I had a pretty good ride in this years etape finishing top 200. From my experience I'd advise:

    - Firm up on your goal for the event (somewhere between just finishing to getting gold). This will help set specific priorities and also be good motivation.

    - Continue to ride the base miles. Try including in them rides of 3+ hours making sure that you keep the effort up throughout (so as little freewheeling as possible). Use these to practice feeding/drinking as well. As an experiment I'd try riding some of the early ones of these with no sports drink/food just water. This will get you used to the warning signs of running out of fuel. On later rides eat drink enough to avert these.

    - Key priority in terms of shorter workouts should be building up the steady power needed to get up hills like the Tourmalet. Good news for you is that you dont need mountains for this. Good training would be a flat 25 mile ride aiming to set a base time now and going faster and faster as time progresses (key thing with this ride is zero freewheeling) . Other classic drill is 2x20 minutes which can be done on turbo over winter. (search here for plenty on this).

    - With both above set a baseline now in terms of a measure (e.g.distance in 3 hours, time for 25 miles, distance for 2x20 etc). Very gradually increase over winter then around March start to step up and include some shorter 5 or so minute interval work. No need to do anything shorter than this.

    - Other things to prepare for are
    Logistics: getting hotel and equipment right is as important as training. For the former want a hotel as close to start as possible, ideally so you can cycle there. Equipment: one reason for doing 3+ hour rides is making sure bike is right/comfortable. If not already done so worth getting a bike fit. Other thing is gearing - this is one time you do need a hill, around 10-12% to check out comfortable. That said if you've done Ventoux then should be able to use experience from this. I would always advise as low a gear as possible, one thing about riding multiple big climbs in a ride is that the last usually needs 1 or 2 cogs lower than the first.

    Descending: This is a subject in its own right and the only way to get better is to practice. If done the Ventoux then you will have some experience of this and id try to get more if possible.

    Group riding: If not already done so try joining a club/entering an event so as to get practice riding with others. Even doing this its quite an experience riding in the company of several thousand others.

    Obviously lots more, you can keep posting here to get advice.

    Good luck...

    PS. You havent mentioned if you use a powermeter or not. Its by no means essential but if you do happen to have one then could give you some specific info on likely ride time/training effort based on my rides.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    PPS. If not already doing so event like Etape is good reason to use a coach. Any good one will have a wealth of experience in terms of rider variety and using one is probably the best guarantee that you will get the most out of the event.

    In terms of cost money spent on using one is likely to be a better short and long term investment than buying a bit of go faster kit and not very expensive in the context of the (sadly very high) overall cost of doing the Etape.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • Hanegby - my recollection of working for a big global corporate was that my American colleagues didn't get nearly as many holidays as us Europeans. If you are one of the lucky ones and have a decent holiday allowance, why not schedule a trip to a more mountainous area for a few days as part of your programme?

    In an ideal world, you want to gain experience riding up and down mountains in warm weather (July in the Pyrenees is often extrmeley hot). Many people do badly in the etape because they are just not accustomed to long climbs under a hot sun - they lose loads of fluid and don't replace it soon enough. Another common mistake is going too hard in the first hour or two - the adrenalin kicks in and you fly along amazed at how fast you can go and then BANG! You hit a steep climb and your legs suddenly have nothing in them and you still have 4 hours to go and there are some monster mountains to be tackled.

    From experience I would be aiming to complete a ride of between 120-140 kms once a week by the time you get to April and keep it up until two weeks before the event, then taper off the distance but keep intensity up. During that ride do whatever you can to simulate the variance of terrain you will encounter. It's akin to running 15-18 miles regularly when approaching a marathon. Throw in at least 2-3 rides of 180 kms+ so you know the distance is achievable. When you are riding the etape and you hit a wall you can draw strength from the knowledge that you are capable of the distance.

    Good luck.
  • simon44simon44 Posts: 52
    Good luck Hanegby! I'm thinking of signing up having completed a few sportives and these posts are giving me a bit of confidence!

    Who have you booked through?


Sign In or Register to comment.