Fit-For’s Etape Countdown - 5 weeks to go - Road Cycling UK

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Fit-For’s Etape Countdown – 5 weeks to go

Fit-For’s Etape Countdown – 5 weeks to go to E-Day – Week beginning Monday 6th June
That’s right folks – in 5 weeks time all you Etape riders will be standing on the start line of the 2005 Etape du Tour with a challenging 177km in front of you. It’s really not long now. With that in mind Fit-For have decided to offer RCUK readers a weekly training plan until the big day itself. We hope it can be of some use to you…

With 5 weeks to go you should have already got your endurance rides near the 100 mile mark and been attempting some shorter, harder efforts to simulate the heart rate intensities that you’ll endure in the mountains. Also you need to be addressing practical bike skills, especially descending and cornering. If you are not confident with your handling yet, then you are going to need to dedicate some time to get your skills up to scratch.

We have drawn up a very generic ‘5 weeks to go until the Etape’ style training plan below. This plan is simply to give you an idea of the sessions you should be thinking about or how you should go about structuring your week.

Monday : Day off or an easy active recovery ride of less than an hour with HR at 65 – 75% of max HR. Aim to keep the cadence above 90rpm – this means low gears!

Tuesday: Red Line Session – 1hr on indoor bike. Warm up for 10 min to 80% of max HR. Then aim for 45 mins riding in hr zone 85 – 92% of max HR. And yes, this will be a tough ride. Cool down for 5 min post session

Wednesday: Evening bike ride of 2.5hrs. It is very important that you get as much ‘real world’ bike time as possible – a stationary bike won’t really help you get down a Pyrenean descent… Aim to keep the ride steady (65 – 80% MHR) and use low gears. If you can find some buddies to ride with, technical roads and corners this would be ideal.

Thursday: Day off or an easy active recovery ride of less than an hour with HR at 65 – 75% of max HR. Aim to keep the cadence above 90rpm – this means low gears!

Friday: Cadence Session – 1hr – warm up for 10 mins to 75% MHR and then try 5 min on a big gear with cadence at 60rpm followed immediately by 5 min on a low gear at 95rpm+ Do 4 of each drill before cooling down for 10 mins on a low gear

Saturday: 60 – 90min light spin. 65 – 80% MHR. Concentrate on pedalling low gear and loosening legs up in preparation for tomorrow’s longer ride. Load up on carbs in the evening to make sure you are fully fuelled up.

Sunday: Endurance Day – ideally you need to be aiming at 5 – 6.5hrs on your long ride. The Etape is likely to be 7.5 – 9hrs in length. The focus of this ride is time on the bike – not speed. Aim to ride at 65 – 80% of MHR, this figure will rise on the hills, but aim to keep your HR controlled as much as possible – recover after the hills. Keep the gears low and practice your on bike skills (descending, cornering, effective gear selection)

Next week – 4 weeks to go. Are you and your bike Fit-For the Etape?

  • If you want a training plan or more in-depth advice please go to
  • FIT-FOR are a RCUK training advice partner. They supply advice on coaching and technique for our readers. If you have any questions for them, please send us an e-mail.


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