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Slapshot

L´Etape 2008

Pau to Hautacam!!!!!

6th of July
Slapshot

just thought about it, is the same weekend as La Marmotte
kellyrocheearly

i really have to save up and do this one day. Excuse to take the wife to france!
Bartali

bergaretxebe wrote:
just thought about it, is the same weekend as La Marmotte


I've been thinking about this a lot. If it has to be only one of them, it has to be La Marmotte. Four climbs beats two climbs in my book. The Tourmalet will have to wait.
Slapshot

Bartali wrote:
bergaretxebe wrote:
just thought about it, is the same weekend as La Marmotte


I've been thinking about this a lot. If it has to be only one of them, it has to be La Marmotte. Four climbs beats two climbs in my book. The Tourmalet will have to wait.


+1
headwind

you guys kill me...
Bartali

Hi HW ... I think we should worry about killing ourselves! But I love the climbs!
CapeRoadie

Bartali wrote:
Hi HW ... I think we should worry about killing ourselves! But I love the climbs!


I want to do this so badly.
redster73



I've been given the green light for this as at my age 2 climbs look better than 4.
Bartali

CapeRoadie wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Hi HW ... I think we should worry about killing ourselves! But I love the climbs!


I want to do this so badly.


No Cape ... this is what you REALLY want to do!


JohnD

I want to do both so badly; i'd need the finest pharmecueticals science can offer though!
redster73

Either one will kill me so I'm plumping for the lesser of the two deaths.
Bartali

Redster - are you signing up for the etape??

I'll try to sign up for La Marmotte next week.
redster73

I'm hoping to.
Trying to round up a few fellows to tackle it together.
Hoping to keep pace with the broom wagon just behind me!
Slapshot

Bartali wrote:
Redster - are you signing up for the etape??

I'll try to sign up for La Marmotte next week.


I am waiting for my brothers and a few more people to make their minds up!!!!! I think, and hope, that there would be 8 of us going!
CapeRoadie

Bartali wrote:
CapeRoadie wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Hi HW ... I think we should worry about killing ourselves! But I love the climbs!


I want to do this so badly.


No Cape ... this is what you REALLY want to do!




How much will it cost me, I mean in terms of money?
redster73

I'm gonna stick to my 'twin peaks' approach. Checked with missus and it's a green light if we include a stopover afterwards with brother in Spain! Just wish me old man still had his shoebox-size studio in Bareges

Problem is registration I refuse to pay these 'tour' operators for a place so will make use of other channels.
Juggernaut

I'm really tempted to have a go at l'Etape too. It's in a part of France I love, I know the climbs, and at a mere 155km long I might just survive. Also, my wife and I were planning to get a gite in the Pyrenees for the month of July anyway, so it's perfect!

But I've no idea how to apply. What are these "other channels" you refer to Redster?

Also, to give me an idea what I might just be getting myself into, how much training have people put in for these kind of events in the past? I know the amount of miles Bartali was putting in before the Mondeo got him were pretty scary!
redster73

Juggernaut - I too have no idea how you'd train for cycling up and down mountains! I expect longs hours in the saddle for fitness and hill climbs to get used to those 20km+ climbs!

But I think Bartali's the man for proper advice on surviving this!


For l'Etape you can only apply through a French cycling mag. Otherwise it's through British tour operators where you have to pay for whole packages. A friend got a press pass couple years back so I'm bombarding him with possible ideas to try and wrangle something...
Slapshot

for me the preparation is to put miles and miles and miles on the legs, and then all depends on your target.

do you aiming to "just" finish it or to do a good time? for either of them, you need to put miles and miles and mile on the legs......
redster73

I'm aiming to finish with an official time. I can be first or last doesn't matter.

I reckon training will build up to regular 80+ milers on weekend by April/May. Get off the train at East Croydon instead of Clapham etc etc. But then there's all the dietary and hydration factors to worry about!
Juggernaut

My question was a bit vague, I admit Smile

Like Redster, finishing in front of the sag wagon would be my primary objective.

I'm familiar with most of the well know climbs in the Alpes and Pyrenees, having crossed them on my trusty, rusty touring bike over the years. So the size of the climbs and the distance don't worry me too much - it's the speed I need to maintain to stay in the race!

Ditching the 15kgs of luggage would certainly be an improvement Smile And using a bike that didn't weigh as much as a small car. But then I lose the triple chain ring, the coffee stops, the waiting for the wife at the top of the col, etc. So I'm not sure my previous experience is much help to me...

I suppose the key question is - what time do I realistically need to aim for to complete this in front of the sag wagon? If the answer is 5 hours then that might be a bit tough to acheive. If it's 6 hours then I think I might have a chance...
redster73

You're ahead of me on this. I've only gone up and down the Tourmalet on skis. I think a time of between 6 and 7 hours should get you in.
Bartali

Guys - I think 6 hours would be a very respectable time. Almost certainly get a silver medal for that ... if not a gold!

If I remember correctly the broom waggon starts 30 minutes after the first rider sets off and moves at a constant 17kmph (I think). Plus there will be two cut-offs where they will try to stop everyone over a certain time.

This year I was worried because there was an early climb and possible bottle necks, but looking at the 2008 route, I think you will be okay with that long long drag before the tourmalet.

Bottom line - 9 hours will get you home with an official finish and a medal.

I'll post thoughts on training tomorrow, but Berg is right. Build up the miles between now and April if you need to. Proud of you guys - If there was anyway I could do this and the Marmotte I'd join you!

Cheers
Slapshot

My prep would start this weekend, going out saturday and sunday for about 80km both days, easy pace, no time target or anything, just to get the miles, and I would do the same for about 2 months, and then gradually I will start doing intervals and hill reps, and this year I will do 10 and 20 mile TT as well.

To be honest there is not a formula for cycling training, everyone is different and what I do may not work for other people and viceversa.

Regarding the time, I did the bone crusher(quebrantahuesos), 205km and 3 cols in 8hrs 30min and I got a silver medal.

Other thing that I would suggest, I don´t know if you´ll agree, is that you shouldn´t concentrate all your training in just one objective. I know people that have trained all the winter for just one race and then all went wrong and they didn´t feel like cycling anymore. Set up other objectives is well, maybe put the etape or marmotte or whatever as the main one, but leave the doors open for other things, as you never know when that bad day is coming, and as for much training that you do, it´s just like the weather, you can´t control it.
CapeRoadie

Cool. Medals. All I usually get for anything long is a shower.
Juggernaut

Thanks Bartali and Berg - great advice there. You've dispelled by worries about the required times, so now I just have to figure out how to get an entry into the race - I don't want to pay for transers, accomodation, etc with some tour operator, I just need the entry ticket. I'm going to start asking around, and I'll post any info I come up with...

I agree with Berg's suggestion about not focusing on just one race. My wife's targetting the two Bealach na Ba etapes (short and long versions) and the Caledonian Etape for next season, which by definition means I'm doing them too, so I think I'll have quite a busy summer Smile

Bartali - we toured through the Alpes this summer, and climbed Alpe d'Huez, Croix de Fer, and Telegraphe/Galibier (needless to say, on 3 seperate days!) so I'm under no illusion how hard the Marmotte would be. Those are mean hills, and anyone who's aiming to do the Marmotte has my respect. It's certainly in a different league than this year's Etape. I remember Croix de Fer as being the hardest climb of the entire trip - seemingly endless, and everytime you think you're getting somewhere you have a wee descent and lose altitude.
Bartali

Juggernaut wrote:
I remember Croix de Fer as being the hardest climb of the entire trip - seemingly endless, and everytime you think you're getting somewhere you have a wee descent and lose altitude.


Yeah ... tough climb. I did the marmotte in 2006 in my first year on a road bike after a 20 year lay off. The thing I remember most was climbing for what seemed an age ... then coming across the 17km to summit sign!!!!! So demoralising!
Bartali

bergaretxebe wrote:
Other thing that I would suggest, I don´t know if you´ll agree, is that you shouldn´t concentrate all your training in just one objective. I know people that have trained all the winter for just one race and then all went wrong and they didn´t feel like cycling anymore.


Umm ... sounds like me!!!

You are, of course, absolutely right! I really like the high mountains overseas, but can't get away from home that often. Might think about the late summer one you did last year?
Slapshot

Bartali wrote:

You are, of course, absolutely right! I really like the high mountains overseas, but can't get away from home that often. Might think about the late summer one you did last year?


That would be Larra-Larrau, is in my wish list!!! Laughing

I can not recomend it enough, I am def. doing it again, it is hard, bloody hard, but worth all the effort!!!
redster73

Still waiting for entry or at least the PR lass to come back to me so we can mumble in broken English and French and not actually resolve anything!
Juggernaut

I was a bit pushed for time, so I took a punt on one of the UK package tour providers who offer an "entry only" package. Still waiting to hear if I got in.

Regardless, it was the excuse I need to go order my new bike!
Bartali

Good man - hope you get in. What bike you going for?
Bartali

For info ...

http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/news...=weeklyemail&attr=highlights2
Slapshot

are you going Bartali?
Bartali

No - I'm afraid not.

But I am going to the bike shop tomorrow to drop various components off. Shouldn't be long now before I am back in the saddle! Can't wait.

Definately going to sign up for the Marmotte - that'll be my big goal for 2008. Maybe we can do some training rides in the spring?
Slapshot

Bartali wrote:
No - I'm afraid not.

But I am going to the bike shop tomorrow to drop various components off. Shouldn't be long now before I am back in the saddle! Can't wait.

Definately going to sign up for the Marmotte - that'll be my big goal for 2008. Maybe we can do some training rides in the spring?


Sounds perfect to me!!!! glad to know that you are nearly ready!!!

It´s always good to have partner on those cold, windy, damp spring days, stop in the middle of the ride for a hot cup of tea and check that your toes are still "alive", loveeeeeeeeeeeely!!!! Very Happy
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:

Regardless, it was the excuse I need to go order my new bike!


I tried that one on the wife. She merely returned a withering look of death that is her way!

Thing is she got new shoes for Budapest marathon!
Bartali

Sounds fair to me. New shoes = new bike in my book! Wink
Juggernaut

Well, an invoice stating that the entry fee has been charged to my credit card arrived, so that's an ominous sign that my entry has been accepted!

I'm getting an Orbea Onix with Ultegra componentry. I was tempted by the Orca, but can't really justify the extra cost - the Onix is still way better than any bike I've had before.

I have a different problem with the wife than you guys - every time I spend money on bikes I need to double the cost (yes, she's getting an Onix too). The last time she went shoe shopping she came back with a pair of Canondale SPDs and some swish Sidi racing shoes.
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:


I have a different problem with the wife than you guys - every time I spend money on bikes I need to double the cost (yes, she's getting an Onix too). The last time she went shoe shopping she came back with a pair of Canondale SPDs and some swish Sidi racing shoes.


If she washes up, cooks, loves Elvis, ska and skiffle your one lucky bleeder!
Juggernaut

Well, nobody's perfect...

Think of the drawbacks - fights over whos turn it is to use the turbo-trainer, the doubling of cycling related expenses, no chance of finding dinner of the table when you get back from a long ride, the ignominy of almost being out-sprinted at the top of Alpe d'Huez...
Bartali

Laughing Laughing Laughing
tourmalet

Juggernaut wrote:
Well, nobody's perfect...

Think of the drawbacks - fights over whos turn it is to use the turbo-trainer, the doubling of cycling related expenses, no chance of finding dinner of the table when you get back from a long ride, the ignominy of almost being out-sprinted at the top of Alpe d'Huez...


you can keep the turbo trainer - my old man uses mine and he's welcome to it. but it does hurt the manly pride when you beat them up all the cols and have to fix their punctures for them.
Juggernaut

The turbo trainer is actually pretty good. It's one of those fancy 'virtual reality' ones you plug into your PC, and race against other opponents on screen. I get as bored as the next guy on a regular trainer, but I've happily sat on this one for over 2 hours, racing against virtual opponents until my legs cramped. Sad, I know...

The new bikes have arrived! So, combined with the aforementioned trainer, it's time to start sorting out a training plan for l'Etape. I think that might warrant another thread...
redster73

Hey juggernaut are you definately in? I'm still waiting for this french lass to get back to me...time to brush up my lingo and nail this once and for all!

You are a lucky man as mentioned before:

1. New bike - missus won't let me get yet another new jersey
2. Turbo trainer - see reason above
3. Vitual training on PC - last night I even had trouble getting the youngest off my Mac as he was building jigsaws at the higgledy piggledy house let alone get to the PC through kids chatting on MSN this and Bebo that!
Bartali

Juggernaut wrote:
The turbo trainer is actually pretty good. It's one of those fancy 'virtual reality' ones you plug into your PC, and race against other opponents on screen. I get as bored as the next guy on a regular trainer, but I've happily sat on this one for over 2 hours, racing against virtual opponents until my legs cramped. Sad, I know...

The new bikes have arrived! So, combined with the aforementioned trainer, it's time to start sorting out a training plan for l'Etape. I think that might warrant another thread...


Is it an i-magic or a forteus? If so, I did a lot of training for the Marmotte in 2006 using the real life videos. Good for getting accustomed to long long climbs even if the i-magic can't reproduce the right gradients.
redster73

It would appear that I'm in. The lovely Martine has assured me no problem gaining entry (to the Etape that is!). I guess a training thread would be good...didn't someone start one?
Juggernaut

Bartali - it's a Fortius. It still appears to have issues reproduceing gradients over 10%, but for the most part it is excellent. I don't have any RLVs yet, but Tacx is bringing out one with the climb up Tourmalet soon, so I'll definitly be getting that to help prepare for l'Etape. At the moment I'm enjoying racing in the VR worlds, against rides done by other folk and my previous times. Doing between 1.5 - 2.5 hours a session, and it's brilliant training. I consider it an essential tool for preparing for something like l'Etape, as there's no way I'd get the required miles in over winter in Scotland...

Redster - I'm going on the assumption that I'm in, as they've taken my entry money, although I should verify that Smile I have a lot of respect for anyone that can manage to get train and look after kids at the same time. I know idea where you find the time...
Bartali

Wow - they are long sessions!

Tacx are bringing out a new version of the Marmotte Alpine Classic. That'll be a good one to get - Alpe d'huez and Galibier I have the old version.

Excellent - when you have some RLV we can compare times - hopefully I will have found some legs by then. Cape has an I-magic and Berg' and HW are thinking about getting one - we can have our own little league!
Juggernaut

Heh, I think my times are a little on the slow side at the moment Smile Have you ever thought about joining the Virtual Cycling Federation (http://www.virtualcycling.co.uk/) ? Once I get my times up to something respectable I might have a go...
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:


Redster - I'm going on the assumption that I'm in, as they've taken my entry money, although I should verify that Smile I have a lot of respect for anyone that can manage to get train and look after kids at the same time. I know idea where you find the time...


It's not so much the kids wrecking training as other things like waiting for the TV repairman, sorting old car out for quick sale - pow there goes the morning and my 2 hour ride over the Downs!
Bartali

Juggernaut wrote:
Heh, I think my times are a little on the slow side at the moment Smile Have you ever thought about joining the Virtual Cycling Federation (http://www.virtualcycling.co.uk/) ? Once I get my times up to something respectable I might have a go...


Never really thought about it. At the mo I only have one good leg ... maybe when its a bit better.
redster73

Happy days...just had confirmation of Etape du Tour place...yikes!
Bartali

Well done Red .... counting down the days now!
CapeRoadie

redster73 wrote:
Happy days...just had confirmation of Etape du Tour place...yikes!


I want to do l'Etape so badly!  We have to hear all about it!
Bartali

Cape - what you really want to do is get those climbing legs out and do La Marmotte!
CapeRoadie

Bartali wrote:
Cape - what you really want to do is get those climbing legs out and do La Marmotte!


Yes, so I've heard.  I'll be working on climbing over the next few weeks, too.  Wish I could visit Europe once every year.  That would get my climbing legs in shape.
Juggernaut

You got me a little worried Red, as I haven't received any word on my entry yet, but the L'Etape website lets you do a search of entrants, and my name's there. Judging by my number, I've got around 3000 people to pass to get to the front!
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:
You got me a little worried Red, as I haven't received any word on my entry yet, but the L'Etape website lets you do a search of entrants, and my name's there. Judging by my number, I've got around 3000 people to pass to get to the front!


Having seen your Caledonia stats I'd say you stand a pretty good chance of finishing a few thousand places ahead of me...that means you'll be first to the bar for that well-earned rehydration brewski!
Bartali

CapeRoadie wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Cape - what you really want to do is get those climbing legs out and do La Marmotte!


Yes, so I've heard.  I'll be working on climbing over the next few weeks, too.  Wish I could visit Europe once every year.  That would get my climbing legs in shape.


Well there's always next year Cape.  Make a date for the first week of July - Marmotte time!  Might even be able to squeese in the etape too!
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:
You got me a little worried Red, as I haven't received any word on my entry yet, but the L'Etape website lets you do a search of entrants, and my name's there. Judging by my number, I've got around 3000 people to pass to get to the front!


I've just checked my own number and I appear to be a Cat C you a B. Any idea what that means? I have a low bib number to boot and I'm worried they're expecting great things from me when in reality I'll be the fat bloke just ahead the broom wagon!

Pity the poor souls who try to jump onto my wheel they'll have a long old day ahead of them...
Bartali

Red - low number is good.  It means you start nearer the front which means you don't have the broom wagon 'up your arse' right from the start.  

The Cat B, Cat C thing will most likely be age related.

Good luck - I'll be thinking of you both while i'm preparing for or recovering from my sportive!
Juggernaut

I've no idea what the Cat b/c thing relates to - as Bartali suggests it could well be age, as I never submitted any times or previous places that they could use to seed me. The low bib number is great - there'll be less people clogging up the roads ahead of you. I've heard stories from members of my club about an Etape they did that went over Marie Blanche (sp?) - they had to get off and walk because the bunch came to stand-still on the climb due to the amount of people struggling up ahead. I'm hoping this won't be issue this year as there are 80km of easy roads before the hard stuff starts...

My stats from Etape Caledonia are a bit deceiving, and really reflect the fact that I worked in well with various groups. In l'Etape this year the last half is either straight up or straight down, so it'll be every man for himself and groups will be little help!
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:
I've no idea what the Cat b/c thing relates to - as Bartali suggests it could well be age, as I never submitted any times or previous places that they could use to seed me. The low bib number is great - there'll be less people clogging up the roads ahead of you. I've heard stories from members of my club about an Etape they did that went over Marie Blanche (sp?) - they had to get off and walk because the bunch came to stand-still on the climb due to the amount of people struggling up ahead. I'm hoping this won't be issue this year as there are 80km of easy roads before the hard stuff starts...

My stats from Etape Caledonia are a bit deceiving, and really reflect the fact that I worked in well with various groups. In l'Etape this year the last half is either straight up or straight down, so it'll be every man for himself and groups will be little help!


I'm 431 so wave as you pass me (hopefully on one of the climbs and not the early flat section!)
redster73

Paperwork came today which is good...

Etape guide came as well and never really noticed that it's pretty much all uphill to the Tourmalet...which is bad!
Juggernaut

I'm 3619, so I've got a lot of catching up to do! Smile

I'm not sure how much to read into the gradual rise up to Tourmalet, as those route profiles always exagerate the gradient. You certainly do climb, as you're working your way up the valley, but in the 80km from Pau to Loucrup you only gain 336m, which won't be noticable for the most part. Even Cavendish could climb that without going out the back Smile If you're in a decent bunch I don't think it'll be an issue at all.

I'm lucky enough to be going out there a week before the event, so I'll be able to reccy the route. I'm happy to post my impressions if that helps...
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:
I'm 3619, so I've got a lot of catching up to do! Smile

I'm not sure how much to read into the gradual rise up to Tourmalet, as those route profiles always exagerate the gradient. You certainly do climb, as you're working your way up the valley, but in the 80km from Pau to Loucrup you only gain 336m, which won't be noticable for the most part. Even Cavendish could climb that without going out the back Smile If you're in a decent bunch I don't think it'll be an issue at all.

I'm lucky enough to be going out there a week before the event, so I'll be able to reccy the route. I'm happy to post my impressions if that helps...


We're aiming to get there late Thursday. I'm trying to convince my compadres to ride Tourmalet Friday...of course all is academic as we don't have a car yet to get us from Dieppe to Pau!
headwind

Heres a blog on someone prepping for L'etape.  A mere mortal whos left 30 days to be gin training.

http://theclimb.blogs.nytimes.com/
redster73

headwind wrote:
Heres a blog on someone prepping for L'etape.  A mere mortal whos left 30 days to be gin training.

http://theclimb.blogs.nytimes.com/


He's worried? A month to go and I haven't ridden a bike in almost 2 weeks through work and family!

Did 48 miles last Sunday in 2.50 my next ride is London to Brigton this Sunday a grueling effort what with trying to avoid the one-day-a-year gang weaving all over the road, suddenly deciding to stop for a hot dog etc etc!
Juggernaut

For a few seconds on Sunday it looked like I wasn't going to be making it to l'Etape. In the first 5km of a race someone touched wheels and at least a dozen of us when down at 55kmph! My first decent crash, and miraculously I walked away (well, pedalled actually) with just scratches and a few muscle strains. A lovely big hedgerow broke my fall, but I'm still picking out the thorns...
headwind

Juggernaut!  Yikes...glad to hear youre ok.  bike survive too?
Juggernaut

It did! I was using my new carbon wheels for the first time, so the scene was set for a major disaster, but apart from a wonky shifter it's fine. I completed the race with a couple of other survivors, about 30 minutes behind the winner in the end, but it was a **** day in the saddle...
Bartali

Glad to hear you are okay Juggernaut!  I for one know how crap it is to get wiped out just before the big day!
Juggernaut

Thanks for the kind words Bartali, but this was nowhere near what happened to you! I took heed of your plight last year and resolved to make sure l'Etape wasn't my only focus for the season, hence the racing. As it's turned out, the racing is so demanding that l'Etape doesn't seem like the scary monster it once did...
Bartali

That's the spirit! Smile

I'm afraid all my eggs are in one basket and my date with destiny is 5 July!!
redster73

Deciphered the French excel file that gives all the elimination times for Sunday. It seems we have until 17.20 to get to Hautacam so if we can't do that it's time to take up badminton!
cardinal guzman

Bon chance!!!!!!!!!!
redster73

A longer version will follow but the stark facts are:

Garmin said 8:47 but the official time was 10 hours+! Had to blag through elimenation at the bottom of Hautacam. Tourmalet and Hautacam where something from hell! Rained throughout...even walked for 500m 3km from Hautacam summit!
Bartali

Well done Red - sounds like an epic!
cyclingtv

red.. bart..  Shocked you guys are masochists.. good on yer and well done..
maffy

cyclingtv wrote:
red.. bart..  Shocked you guys are masochists.. good on yer and well done..


yep. congratulations both. blimey. 10-11 hours in the saddle and probably no time to stop to take pictures or eat lots of cakes at a cafe or buy something or other at the local brewery shop. or any of those things that i've done on most bike rides since 1988. chapeau, chaps. doffs casquette.
last km

Chapeau guys, go get a nice cool beer....... Cool
redster73

It's a bit long but here's my day:

Woken throughout the night by one huge f**king storm which is worse when in a tent! Then up at 04.30 for a 6.30 start in Pau – great prep for 100+ miles in the Pyrenees.

07.00 we’re off and I couldn’t believe the pace at the start. I also couldn’t believe the mess my beautiful all-white kit was in with the driving rain! All I could think of was the advice to go quick but not too quick that you have nothing for the mountains…then POW and down goes the rear tyre.

Quick change (20 mins), more muck on me kit and here we make our first mistake by not trying to make up for lost time. Instead we still focused on our aim of 3.30 to the Tourmalet. Averaged about 22-25 mph for the most part on the flat and felt good…but the Etape’s no Caledonia!

The climb from Loucrup was a piece of cake and I wrongly figured Tourmalet would be much the same just longer…what a fool! From Lourdes I finally found groups I could cling on to and started to crack along at a fair pace thoroughly enjoying finally riding on the smooth roads of France despite the wind, rain and mist.

Finally we came to the sign ‘Col du Tourmalet – 23km a sommit’. It was about 11.30 so figured be at the top by one at the latest easily within elimination.

First couple of kms were fine spun out a nice steady pace then just got slower and slower. Lower back was screaming at me to stop. Started to feel the knock just before La Mongie so pitstop most welcome. Carried on for the last 4 km pleased to pass more than passed me. Tried to take me mind off it all with the views of the thick cloud!

Crested the col with minutes to spare which gave us an hour to get to Hautacam. One thing this fat boy can do is descend and so like shot off a shovel went hell for leather down. Bloody cold at the summit and on the hairpins but once the road widened really put the hammer down to avoid cut off.

Thought we’d made it and stopped for water break and snack then realised we’d halted 500m short. Flew down the hill to a line of gendarmes and officials asking for timing chips. “F**k that!” me thinks and I snuck round through the crowds watching on the verge and hightailed it up the climb! My mates weren’t so lucky and were eliminated…

Hautacam maybe the lowest ski station in the Pyrenees but for a cyclist it’s a brute. They put up signs indicating each kilometre from the summit and the gradient. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10% climbs really sapped the legs which were turning slower and slower. Shouts of encouragement from those coming back down helped but by this time the cold and wet were killing the toes and just after 3km to go I had to dismount and walk for a few hundred metres. Got back on and with about 2km to go the road flattens out somewhat not that I could do anything about it! But then the finish line rises out of the mist and with a final flourish I zipped up me shirt and was out of the saddle for the last metres and a rather pathetic sprint!

Then a descent from hell. Fingers cold, glasses I couldn’t see out of. Used the cones down the middle of the road as guidance. Finally out of the clouds and slowly warmed up but the damage was done to my back and I had no movement once I got off!

Timer said 10.01 so I’d made it with 20 minutes to spare. My Garmin said 8.47 so amazing how much time lost through puncture and general faffing around! Average speed was a paltry 12 mph (cue comment from TT!)

It was a day from hell but can’t wait for the announcement of next’s years route!

Stats via the Garmin - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/323730




The descent from Tourmalet...

cheers
MAILLOT JAUNE

Chapeau redster73!!!!!!!
last km

Well done red, your ride to work will seem a breeze now !
CapeRoadie

Well done, mate!  Well done!  Your Garmin seems pretty cool.  Are you having fun with that?
Bartali

Well done Red!  An epic ride!!
headwind

excellent job redster!!
berck

Great job Red. Way to put up with the weather.
Juggernaut

Finally found an Internet cafe. I'll keep this brief, as I can't type on a French keyboard, and Red's said it all. L'Etape had the worst conditions I've ever spent any extended period of time cycling in - the cold was unbelieveable, especially on the Tourmalet descent. I managed 6:56, and was pretty disappointed. I fell to bits on Tourmalet - due to the cold and having expended to much energy in the first 100km. Anyway, I get to watch the pros suffer up Hautacam in a few days...
Bartali

Juggernaut!  Well done my friend!  But how can you be disappointed with 6.56?  That must of got you a gold?

Seriously good riding!  Chapeau!
redster73

Juggernaut wrote:
Finally found an Internet cafe. I'll keep this brief, as I can't type on a French keyboard, and Red's said it all. L'Etape had the worst conditions I've ever spent any extended period of time cycling in - the cold was unbelieveable, especially on the Tourmalet descent. I managed 6:56, and was pretty disappointed. I fell to bits on Tourmalet - due to the cold and having expended to much energy in the first 100km. Anyway, I get to watch the pros suffer up Hautacam in a few days...


Well done Juggernaut. I knew you'd post a time I can only dream about!
chardon

Bravo Juggernaut  and Redster 73! Well done! Brave brave ride! Very Happy
headwind

chapeau juggernaut!
berck

Well done juggernaut. You and Red did great!
last km

If its any consolation to you Etape guys you can re-live it all over again this coming Monday!

I will be watching it all live, day booked off work.....
Bartali

He's a couple of photo's from the La Marmotte ....



redster73

last km wrote:
If its any consolation to you Etape guys you can re-live it all over again this coming Monday!

I will be watching it all live, day booked off work.....


Hopefully the weather will be better than Sunday and we can see all the views that were missing!

Although I'm on a course in a basement all day!
last km

Great pics Bart, cool bike  Cool

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