4 Weeks until E-Day. Last week we gave you some ideas of how your training should look with 5 weeks to go until the Etape du Tour. This week we will have a look at some other aspects of Etape preparation that with 4 weeks to go you should be thinking about.
The Bike: With 4 weeks to go this is the time to think about maybe booking your bike in for a service. You will be working your bike hard in the Pyrenees and you have to make sure it is in tip-top condition. It is vital that tyres, brake pads, chains, and cassettes are all checked for wear. The last thing you want in the Etape is a mechanical problem which could have been avoided… With 4 weeks to go now is a good time to get these items on your bike – it will give them a chance to bed in and for you to become confident in them. Don’t put new tyres or brake pads on the day before the Etape – they will ride differently and this may prove catastrophic whilst descending at 45mph down the Marie-Blanque
Clothing: The issue of clothing is one of most popular questions we get asked. You will need to be glued to the weather forecast for the preceding days, but I would suggest you wear shorts, under vest, jersey as well as having with you a windproof gillet, a pair of arm warmers and perhaps even a thin pair of gloves for the descent. Don’t under estimate how cold it will be at the top of the mountains – all you will need is some low cloud and you’ll be freezing on the way down. Make sure you are prepared. If you do not own these items yet, then it could be worth a trip to your local bike shop.
In Your Pockets: So your bike is ready for the Etape and you are decked out in all the latest designer clothing. What else do you need on Etape day? Well, it’s not a lot different to what you will take on a regular ride. You will need 2 innertubes, a small pump (canisters are not advised) and some glue-less patches. I would also advise you take some allen keys (to fit the stem, seat clamp, brake blocks etc) in case of emergency. Also make sure you take some money with you and perhaps your phone to keep in touch with your mates or to grab a snap on the Aubisque… As above, now is the time to purchase some of these items (camera phone is optional!) – don’t go to the bike shop 2 days before the Etape only to find they don’t have what you after.
Food: On your long rides between now and the Etape, you need to start following an on bike nutritional pattern. Get used to eating regularly (every 40 – 60mins) and find food that you a) find palatable and b) is nutritionally sound. Try all these foods in training pre – event. Don’t decide at the last minute to eat some new wonder bar guaranteed to improve endurance by 300%, if you have never tried it before. Ideally try taking energy bars, dried fruit, bananas (cut in half is easiest), sugary sweets or even small sandwiches. Find what works for you. Of course there are feed stations along the route should you need them, but aim to be self sufficient where possible.
Next week: 3 weeks to go – The 21 days to go training plan