Alpine Adventure - L'Etapé du Tour 2015
So far this year, my big rides have consisted of riding around the perimeter of Mallorca, during the Mallorca312 challenge; as well as riding around the island of Jersey, during the Natwest Island Games. So, I figure now it's about time to ride over (not around) some mountains. I reckon the route of this year's Etapé should accomplish that...
The RouteThis year, the L'Etapé du Tour follows the route of Stage 19 of the Tour de France. Set deep in the Alps, it has afforded itself the label of "The Queen's Stage" of this year's Tour, and there is little doubt that it will be instrumental in deciding who arrives in Paris in the Maillot Jaune.
The route might only be 138km long, but packed into that distance is more climbing than any other stage during Le Tour. The ascents of Col du Chaussy, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Mollard and La Toussuire, sum up to a total of 4,106 meters of elevation gain throughout the route.
There is no question that this is a climbers' stage. La Toussuire is famed for the moment when Chris Froome "dropped" Bradley Wiggins during the 2012 Tour de France; its duration is certainly punishing, and it contains more elevation gain than any other single climb in this year's Tour. Let's go climbing...
A New ChallengeThe Etapé will be a new kind of challenge for me. Unlike the Mallorca312 back in March, where I was aiming for a personal challenge of completing the event in 10 hours; I'm going to treat the Etapé more as a placing challenge, and I'd like to see how high up the ranks I can come.
The level of the riding at the front of the Etapé peloton is very high, and the field itself is massive. It would be great to be in the top 20 percent of the finishing times, and I feel after last week's Island Games, I've hopefully got the form to accomplish that.
Le Coq SportifI'm attending the Etapé as a guest of Le Coq Sportif, who are the official kit sponsor of the one day event, as well as the Tour de France as a whole.
Le Coq Sportif has an iconic cycling heritage, and have had links with the Tour de France for over 30 years. After a brief hiatus, they returned to being the creators of the Maillot Jaune and the other podium jerseys in 2012, and have quickly re-established themselves firmly as a unique and special cycling brand. If the video clip below doesn't get you fired up about Le Tour, I'm not sure what will!
KitKit is always something that's an interesting topic when taking on Endurance Riding challenges. Tying in with my Le Coq Sportif support in this event, I'll be putting a selection of their riding apparel through its paces at the Etapé, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs.
The kit I've selected includes the Classic Jersey, Premium Bib Shorts, Arm Warmers, Etapé du Tour Socks and the Ultralight Windbreaker. I'm hoping that the selection will be enough to get me through anything that the alpine climate might throw at us, and also keep me in comfort for the duration. I'll report back on the kit in a separate post, after I've put it through some test miles during the event!
View the Le Coq Sportif range at lecoqsportif.com (Link)
Bring On The Alps!
There's not a lot left to say at this stage, except that it's been far too long since I was last in the Alps, and I'm very much looking forward to riding there again.
I'll keep the blog and my social media profiles updated before, during and after the event; it's sure to be a great few days. Fingers crossed that we get some great conditions to ride in!