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Etape Caledonia

corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
edited May 2017 in Commuting chat
Just registered for my first ever sportive. The etape Caledonia in May.

Anyone ever done it? How much training am i going to need in addition to my 50'ish miles a week commuting?!

Posts

  • Good man/(woman), I've done it a couple of times a few years ago and it was good having the closed roads experience. However, they have priced themselves out of the market for me, as I can ride those roads free of charge any time as I live not too far away.

    That aside, it's pretty up and down the whole way and the main climb is on the lower reaches of Schiehallion. It's reasonably ok and not too steep. While the commuting miles won't do you any harm, you need to make sure you have a good few longer rides under your belt. Between now and then, build up towards the 80-odd miles that you will be doing, so that you have done a couple of rides at least in the 60-70 mile range. Your body will then know what to expect, and you can have the confidence that you will be able to manage the distance on the day and without feeling too stressed about it. It depends on your existing base level of fitness how much additional training you will have to do.

    It is a spectacularly scenic sportive and one which you will enjoy with a sensible level of preparation. Good luck with it.
  • Good man/(woman), I've done it a couple of times a few years ago and it was good having the closed roads experience. However, they have priced themselves out of the market for me, as I can ride those roads free of charge any time as I live not too far away.

    That aside, it's pretty up and down the whole way and the main climb is on the lower reaches of Schiehallion. It's reasonably ok and not too steep. While the commuting miles won't do you any harm, you need to make sure you have a good few longer rides under your belt. Between now and then, build up towards the 80-odd miles that you will be doing, so that you have done a couple of rides at least in the 60-70 mile range. Your body will then know what to expect, and you can have the confidence that you will be able to manage the distance on the day and without feeling too stressed about it. It depends on your existing base level of fitness how much additional training you will have to do.

    It is a spectacularly scenic sportive and one which you will enjoy with a sensible level of preparation. Good luck with it.

    Thanks Jim. Very informative and a good view on what to expect. I was a little surprised about the entry cost myself, but on the basis that it's run by Marie Curie (or have i been duped into believing that?) i was happy enough to give them some dosh. You may now tell me that they don't actually make the profit!
  • I've done it twice. And really enjoyed it both times. Closed roads are about the only events that I'll pay for these days. I do think it's worth it for the freedom to use the whole road without fear of motorised traffic.

    In terms of the Etape Caledonia, It's no more than "lumpy" for most of the route with only one genuine climb which is not that steep or tough. You are following the edge of Lochs Tummel and Rannoch for most of the loop. I've ignored all the feed stations on both occasions and just gone for it. I averaged something like 22mph on the second attempt so there are some quick groups that you can get in with if that's your thing.

    The one thing I would draw your attention to. Towards the end, there is a sharp 90 degree left turn at Logierait, onto a nastily steep little ramp that catches people out every year. There is a piper playing his bagpipes at the turn, to act as a reminder. I would advocate getting in the small ring just before you reach him. And watch out for folks falling off as they realise they are in the wrong gear for the gradient! It's a bit harder to overtake after that turn due to the route using a narrower path so get into your finishing position before the turn.

    It's a great part of the country and there is a real sense of occasion as the body of cyclists grows on Pitlochry High Street waiting for the start gun.

    Etape Loch Ness is really cool too and even more worthwhile paying for as that road down the West side of the Loch is too dangerous for my liking when other vehicles are using it.
    "The Flying Scot"
    Commute - Boardman CXR 9.4 Di2
    Sunday Best - Canyon Ultimate SLX Disc w/ DuraAce Di2
  • It was my first sportive. I was a bit frustrated that (back then at least) you had the register the day before. It was just too far to drive home again so I stayed semi-locally and paid through the nose. Many places only let you book at least 2 nights. If you haven't already booked accommodation, do it now.

    I find the whole "riding in a peleton" a nonsense (personal view) and I live in the Highlands (at least part-time now) so paying to ride in the Highlands seems a bit silly now.

    Great catch by mpd (above) I was warned about the White House and steep climb but plenty of people stopping and plenty of spectators hoping they'll fall off.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,992
    Wow, looks like a cracking event.
    However, the moment I see "Schiehallion" anywhere, all my thoughts turn to beer... hhmmmmm, beer, drool.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,150
    Wow, looks like a cracking event.
    However, the moment I see "Schiehallion" anywhere, all my thoughts turn to beer... hhmmmmm, beer, drool.
    The beer is more memorable than the climb.
    Unless done to excess. That works either way. :wink:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,154
    You can stay at Faskally caravan site and pitch a tent/sleep in the back of a van (like wot I did) quite cheaply.

    ...and it's downhill to the start :D
    Watch out for Carpet Tacks.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • corriebee1 wrote:
    Thanks Jim. Very informative and a good view on what to expect. I was a little surprised about the entry cost myself, but on the basis that it's run by Marie Curie (or have i been duped into believing that?) i was happy enough to give them some dosh. You may now tell me that they don't actually make the profit!

    Yes, you have.

    It's run by an outfit called IMG and not a penny of your entry fee goes to the charity. There are a small number of charity places offered, with a requirement to raise a certain amount for Marie Curie as a condition of entry.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2012/jun/20/charity-bike-ride

    Slightly out of date article, but illustrates the point.

    It's the main reason I don't do it any more. That, and like MRS and jimboyle I live within driving distance and can do it for free any time I like. The locals are pretty welcoming, and although a lot of them are milking it dry with the '2 nights stay only' routine, you can still find decent accommodation in Pitlochry and surrounding areas if you get in early.
    "Get a bicycle. You won't regret it if you live"
    Mark Twain
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Well. Here goes. Jumping on a train in the morning up to the Motherland for the etape Caledonia on Sunday

    I know it's not exactly the etape du Tour, but i expect it'll be the hardest ride i've done to date.

    One of the big positives is that as well as the usual commuting miles (of which i've done more than ever) i've been out doing a few weekend rides to get longer distances under my belt, and so i'm probably as bike-fit as i've ever been. 60 miles has been the longest ride in preparation although with a slightly higher ratio of climbing:miles.

    The other positive is 3 nights away from the tinies! And a nice beery bbq on Sunday afternoon!
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,150
    Watch the left turn at Logierait!
    It'll be a lot easier than you think.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,154
    It rolls out of town slightly uphill and then it's gently rolling up to the Queens View and then once you reach the base of the loch, it's pretty flat until Schiehallion. Then it goes up pretty quickly but after the road bears to the right, it eases and it's a pretty innocuous climb.
    The descent is excellent. I don't know how many I passed on the descent but then i'm a bit Kamikaze.
    After that, there's not a lot to shout about apart from the bump before Pitlochry. You'll feel that but all the while knowing you have not far to go.

    Break it up in your head into 4 sections:

    1. Don't go quick during the start as the road rolls next to Loch Tummel. 2. Then you have a pretty flat section and you can get into a nice rhythm. 3. Then the climb up Schiehallion. 4. Once you are over the top of it, you are virtually there in that there's not too much to do apart from pedal.

    It's a gorgeous Sportive and the closed roads help no end. Have fun.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,150
    pblakeney wrote:
    Watch the left turn at Logierait!
    It'll be a lot easier than you think.
    For clarity, the turn at Logierait is a hard left with an immediate steep incline. The unprepared are caught in too big a gear and come to a standstill. Chaos ensues.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    So.. It's done, and what a fantastic weekend!

    I know some folk say they can ride the same roads anytime, but as my first sportive, it was amazing to have the roads to ourselves amongst so many other riders. And the build-up, spectators etc all made for a great day out.

    I was really nervous having never ridden in a big ride like this, but i managed to stay with the fastest riders of my pals, both of whom do serious mileage every week. I was able to take my turns on the front for the first 60 miles or so, and then held onto their wheels for the last 20 (along with about a dozen other cheeky buggers who didn't come through!). The final kick up at Logierait nearly ended me, and by the last 100m up into Pitlochry i was buckled!

    Finished it off in 4hr and 9 minutes, at an average speed of 19.8mph. I was chuffing delighted with that! (Moving time of 4.06).

    https://www.strava.com/activities/999569062
  • That's a great time. Well done, Sir.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Glad you enjoyed it. The whole "riding in a pack" bit, whilst fun, kinda makes the time a bit meaningless though (unless you're simply comparing it to other people who rode in the same sized pack). But that's just my take on these things.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,154
    Glad you enjoyed it. The whole "riding in a pack" bit, whilst fun, kinda makes the time a bit meaningless though (unless you're simply comparing it to other people who rode in the same sized pack). But that's just my take on these things.

    It does really. It's quick. It's almost Cat 4 race quick given the terrain.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
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