Etape du Tour reactions - Road Cycling UK

Expert road bike reviews and the latest road bike news, features and advice. Find rides & events, training articles and participate in our forums

Share

Event News

Etape du Tour reactions

Our two intrepid team riders had a mixed experience at the Etape. Here’s Adrian’s account, more to follow (check the Forum thread for more)


This was easily the most memorable ride I have ever done. It was my 50th birthday treat (!)
I took a little digital camera in my back pocket, and took loads of snaps on the climbs. With the help of them I can recall the day, but for a while afterwards it was all very hazy.
I enjoyed the Izoard, I avoided going too fast as Guy Swarbrick and I had driven it the day before so I sort of knew what to expect. It was an awesome climb, and in awesome landscape.

Etape Boys

Adrian get’s some track time in cooler conditions!

The drink station was a farce, no water, so I took to scavenging from discarded bottles which had some water left. I then met Sarah from my club, just stood next to me!
Once over the top I got into a groove and flew down to Briancon, where I managed to get some more water, but that was a struggle, there wasn’t much left.

The gendarme was shouting that the bus was 20 minutes away, which meant I had been pulling away from it as it was only 5 minutes behind at the start.
The Lauteret was hot and deceptive. I started moving from group to group, sometimes taking riders with me and sometimes latching on to passing groups. I felt good there, and happy to be putting a lot of riders behind me. I started the descent with a 3/4 full bottle which I planned to use to wash down as much gel and energy bar as possible, but I lost it on some bumps, and got dehydrated by the time I got to Bourg D’Oisans, where of course there was no water. I rode up to the first bar in unbelievable heat, but got a bottle filled quite easily, and set off almost unable to pedal forwards. Not much further on I refilled the bottle from a roadside spring, and refilled it regularly for the next 5 miles, riding all the way at about 3 mph, but actually rehydrating a bit.

Once past the chapel I was in a trance, pedal 200 revs sitting down, shift up, stand up pedal 50 revs sit down and repeat. Then I looked up and couldn’t believe how much further to go the climb went. There were so many people on the roadside in all sorts of distress I guessed it was only a matter of time before I keeled over. I doubted I would get to the top, there was nothing that wasn’t screaming in pain. Then I saw the 1 km banner, and I had the presence of mind to take a picture of it. I also realised that nobody had passed me for the last hour, but that I had passed a lot of riders.

When I got to the top I almost wept, and tried to remain British, heading for the tent for water. I lay down on the floor which was covered in pasta and rubbish, and shut my eyes. I then headed of to see if I could find anyone I knew and find my kit. I managed to meet up with a mate from Reading by sheer coincidence, but not my clothes, he gave me a lift back to Gap later that night.

But thinking about it now sends shivers down my spine; How I managed to ride that final climb, given the state I was in at the bottom, how I passed so many riders, how I actually survived, and how I blagged a lift back from the finish, how much I enjoyed the Izoard, and how gutted I am that Guy never finished it.

On top of all that all the grovelling on 200k hilly audaxes in the rain to train.
I can’t wait to go back, etape or no etape.

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production