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How to absolutely smash it at the Etape.

By  CJ Boom     17:54     
Right, I’ve had a packet of Snack a Jacket, half a bottle of ‘This Innocent Juicy Water’??? I’m hyped up on e-numbers ready to wax lyrical about a topic that strikes fear into people’s heart, down to their very core.

Last week I got two emails, same topic, totally opposing outlooks.

Correspondent A “Im freaking out about training……. give me some boom based mlwords of motivation haha!

Correspondent B “it holds no fear if I am honest, this years etape is short and frankly are not the challenges of years gone past. The views are stunning, I am really looking forward to this years etape.”

I rode the complete etape route about a month ago. The only difference when I ride it again in July, should be the weather and 20,000 other people.

1. You’ll get round
End of the story. It’s a long day out but you’ll get round, because I did. So stop being wet and a sissy. Stop worrying about dying on the climb and start thinking about stepping it up so your get some sweet Strava PB, QOM, KOM, PR and every other acronym they now score you on.
Now its true I am one of those cyclist people but its not true I’m very fit. I mostly spend my time riding laps around a course for 1 hour. The course it mostly flat and has lots of bends.

The longest I’d ridden this year was Rapha’s Hell of the North. I rode from my house in South West London up to route, around it and then had some chips and rode home. Call it 129km, I even managed a PB on the Streatham Hill Sprint! Then the next month I rode the Etape course with a 53/39 so its possible.

2. Pace the first 20km
The first rise out of the lake is really twisty lots of switchback. You’ll be ascending the Cote du Puget. Oh my goodness. Views over the lake were amazing. So instead of smashing it up the climb, giddy with joy at riding the etape, ease off, get out the pain box and check out the amazing lake.

3. Get a group for Col des Pres
The Col des Pres is a really really boring ascent. It’s a straight road within a valley. Yeh great, a lovely valley to look at, right. Well yes, except you’ll have been navigating through the valley for about the last 18km steadily climbing.
So forget admiring the view and get on someone’s wheel that is chipping along at a speed just out of your comfort zone.
Get your googley eyes all over their rear tyre and fix your 1000 mile stare on it until your get to the top.
You’ll get that 3.5km 6% climb over in no time and some big French dude has saved you a load of energy by being a nice big wind block for you.

5. Mont Revard – munch your lunch!
I’ve not got much to say about this climb. Just got to sit there in the saddle and climb. Soak it up, your in the etape. Your going up a road that Froome-Dog is going to be in in just two weeks.
Climb it steady, climb how you like. In and the saddle out the saddle alternating the position to test your muscles.
It’s a gradual climb with the occasional bend so you’ve got plenty of time to munch on some lunch.
It will probably be between noon and 1.30pm by the time your mid Mont Revard. You can get a nice bit of tucker in your and your body processing it on the descent of the climb ready to hit the final spike.
I’ll be having – Salami I’ve wrapped up in foil, Banana, followed by some dried Apricots, Jelly babies and a bit of chewy Nougat for dessert
Washed down with some water with a natural tasting nuun tablet
At the top look to your left. There will be a SWEET view of the lake!

8. Get a Rapha Wind Jacket
The descents from the Mont Revard and Semnoz will be chilly. There will be all sorts of sweat going as your ride up it, so you don't want to give yourself a chill as you hit 50km/h on the way down.
Cold muscles are about as pliable as wood and getting your legs going after 15 mins of chilling yourself to the core is going to feel dreadful!
Rapha's wind jacket packs nice and small, its ultra lightweight and blocks the chilly wind like no other. Plus I think it might be slightly shower proof, well I've worn it in the rain!

9. Semnoz is cruel
10km right? Wrong you start climbing 5km back from that on a steady gradient. Then you reach Quintal and you'll have 10km left. The gradient never stays steady and you can't see the top. A bit like British climbs that jerk all over the place.
2km from the top you will clear the trees. From here you'll have 15mins left on the course. The gradient kicks and this is where you can give it everything. You'll start to see a ski chalet in the distance. Dig in and aim for it.
I rode a 52/39 - its way too big gear for the Semnoz. Grab a compact and dance up the really steep bits. The front of my knees hurt the day after. Not muscle soreness but an ache from the bone.

10. Toptube to Map
Print off the profile and annotate it. Write things you want to remember. Even if its totally basic stuff you already know lots about. If you don’t have space on your top tube. Punch a hole in your print out and zip tie it to the stem.
Yeh – I know, not very pro. But its also not very pro to find yourself tired and hungry and another 20km to go.


About CJ Boom


1 comment:

  1. sweet. im doing all of this. but im subbing nougat for soured cherry & sweet potato brownies. And a pocket full of pepperami and cheesestrings, because im basically a chav