PDA

View Full Version : Le Tour: Riding a Stage


dbrk
07-17-2006, 10:45 AM
A more complete report of riding the closed course of Stage 5 of this year's Tour de France is forthcoming. It was a whirlwind, amazing journey and one could not have had better hosts than Rapha and Pro Tours, the company that brought us along. There's a fine report and some pictures posted here: http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/news/article/mps/UAN/1471/V/1/SP/340601396163662836696

My conclusion about the ride is that 1) if this was an "easy" stage (225km, only four cat4 climbs) 2) and the peloton averaged 43.34kph (we averaged something like 29.5kph), then what these boys do is so difficult, fast, and challenging I find it incomprehensible that it should go on three days, let alone three weeks.

This Road Cycling UK article by Guy Andrews focuses on the group that rode the entire 225km. Only six of the twenty riders took this "longer" option. I was among the 140km group and, honestly, that was entirely difficult enough for me. Here's a picture of the group on the podium. The ride of a lifetime and the chance to make a few friends who will always be part of that memory. I'll have the report of a mere mortal soon enough.


dbrk

FlaRider
07-17-2006, 10:50 AM
I raced L'Etape du Tour last year through some pretty nasty climbs in the Pyrenees (including Col de Marie-Blanque and Col d'Aubisque) and can confirm Douglas's assessment of the extreme difficulty of Le Tour. Last year, the Tour peloton completed that stage in about 5 hours (if I recall correctly); I finished it in 9 hours. Sobering indeed.

swoop
07-17-2006, 10:59 AM
you guys must a been baking in black! rapha is gorgeous stuff.

dbrk
07-17-2006, 11:16 AM
The current Etape group went up the L'Alpe d'Huez the other day. The word from Luke of Rapha who did the ride was that it was very, very difficult.

When I arrived in Paris on Tuesday for the Thursday ride I was concerned about the heat. Paris was in the throes of a heatwave and it was well over 90dF. Gratefully, it rained and cooled down. A portion of our ride on the Stage Five course was in mist and light rain. It then turned to sunshine but without the debilitating heat that we are witnessing now. I found the Rapha jersey to be incredibly comfortable and the black color no particular disadvantage. I often wear black jerseys even in the heat. 'Never seems a problem to me but I am a salamander and perfer it hot to cold (ironic given my north country home...100 inches of snow a year is our average in the Finger Lakes).

dbrk

Ahneida Ride
07-17-2006, 11:20 AM
What amazes me the most is that the Pros decend at 50 mph.

50 mph Decents ????? I once hit 35 for a few seconds.

One Boo Boo and you are toast ! ;) This takes copious amouts of concentration.

bostondrunk
07-17-2006, 11:37 AM
What amazes me the most is that the Pros decend at 50 mph.

50 mph Decents ????? I once hit 35 for a few seconds.

One Boo Boo and you are toast ! ;) This takes copious amouts of concentration.

You've never gone over 35mph on your bike?? :confused:

Bud
07-17-2006, 11:42 AM
What amazes me the most is that the Pros decend at 50 mph.

50 mph Decents ????? I once hit 35 for a few seconds.

One Boo Boo and you are toast ! ;) This takes copious amouts of concentration.

Bro head out here for a ride. The fast descents are the reward that follows a tough climb. Signs like this mean "fun ahead:"

FlaRider
07-17-2006, 11:42 AM
Douglas - which bike did you ride?

Thanks.

BoulderGeek
07-17-2006, 12:37 PM
Wow, that's great. I can't imagine doing 140 miles at all, much less TdF race pace.

I just received a call from my buddy who is in his mega-chill condo on the side of Alpe d'Huez. This time his wife and kids got the nod for trip partner, instead of me. He'll call me tomorrow for a live simulcast finish on the phone, however.

He and I went over without a tour, in 2002. We just had a car, the Velo News Tour profile issue, a couple of credit cards and a tent.

Alpe d'Huez was closed that year for repaving, and the stage was Briancon to Les Deux Alpes, next climb over to the south. We only rode 1/3 of the stage distance that day, and I barely crawled my fat azz up 2 Alpes in a 39/25, 6MPH on the steep stuff, no more, no less (less would be a track stand). Humbling.

I regret that I got in the car that evening (left on the Col du Lauteret) and drove over the Galibier, instead of trying to tackle it. Someday, Galibier, I shall ride you!

Props to all the schloogs and schmengies who insert themselves into the Tour insanity, for even a day. My friend says that all the schmengies are partying hard in Alpe d'Huez today, getting ready. Probably with Bobke doing beer bongs at the center fo it all. :beer:

dbrk
07-17-2006, 01:01 PM
Douglas - which bike did you ride?

Thanks.

I brought the Hampsten titanium Strada Bianca. It wore Eurus wheels with Michelin 25c ProRace tires. The bike was much complimented for its Brooks Pro saddle, Nitto bars and stem, and overall classic look, and it was a pure pleasure to ride. It was maintenance-free and allowed me to concentrate on breathing and pedaling, at times that being all that was possible. The very same bike, so well-suited for this ride on a Tour stage, is now wearing Honjo skinny fenders, ready for the weather. Versatility is a good thing.

dbrk

manet
07-17-2006, 09:14 PM
Douglas - which cycling cap did you wear?

Thanks.