I take my hat off to anyone who rides the route of the Tour de France. I only know of one rider referenced as having ridden it on his own, with no support. It was in Paul Howard’s book, “Riding High”. At least, I presume this rider finished it. He was actually doing it the really hard way; camping. Continue reading

What happened next

It was all well and good, finding me a mobile home for the night but, I didn’t have any towels, as I was relying on hotels for all my overnight stays. And so, having ridden 232kms that day, I washed as best I could and walked into the small hamlet looking for food. Nothing was open. Luckily, I had packed a pack of Adventure Food and so, from a vacuum packed silver bag, I consumed a cold Chilli and rice and went to sleep. Continue reading

1 day to go

Today was a much better day than yesterday. I still had the headwind, all the way, but riding in dry conditions is so much better than in constant rain. Having said that, there were a few showers but within a short while, you were dry again.

These were turning fast

Talking of headwinds, these things were facing the same direction that I was travelling in and they were turning fast. Continue reading

3 days to go

It’s too late to change anything. The time’s 14:20 and all final adjustments have been made and the bike is fully loaded. In a little while, I’ll be off to the Station to get the train to Portsmouth Harbour where I’ll be catching the overnight ferry to St Malo. Continue reading

One week to go!

Nearly there, just one week to go (Until I leave for the Vendée, that is).

I’m slowly getting all the kit together. There’s only been one slight problem which has been resolved thanks to, the importers of Altura panniers. A little while ago, I bought a Altura bar bag with the intention of using it on this trip. The trouble is that I no longer have the receipt and have never used it until now. It comes complete with a Map Flap which is sealed by the use of velcro strips which have come away from the plastic pocket. A quick phone call to them and they have very kindly agreed to put a new one in the post for me, at no charge. So, thanks again Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 31

Date Kms Time Type Avg Speed (KPH) Links
Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 78 2:45:11 Road 28.5 Strava – Garmin
Sat, 6th Aug 2011 84 2:59:40 Road 28.0 Strava Garmin
Sun, 7th Aug 2011 84 3:03:14 Road 27.5 Strava Garmin

Tuesday was another still, hot day in the Massif Central. I had previously mapped out a ride taking me part way along Stage 9 of this years Tour route (Issoire to St Flour). This section runs from Lempdes to Massiac, along the Allagnon River with a very slight uphill gradient but the roads are fantastic. Most of it had obviously been resurfaced for the Tour with such smooth Tarmac, the reduction in rolling resistance was really noticeable. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 29

Date Kms Time Type Avg Speed (KPH) Links
Mon, 18th Jul 2011 40 1:32:55 Road 25.6 Strava – Garmin
Tue, 19th Jul 2011 84 2:42:46 Road 30.9 Strava – Garmin
Fri, 22nd Jul 2011 92 3:18:11 Road 27.8 Strava Garmin
Sun, 24th Jul 2011 33 1:55:12 Road 27.6 Strava Garmin
View from Burling Gap

View from Burling Gap

The weather forecast is awful for this week. Today, the westerly winds are really strong and blustery. It also looked like rain. I decided to take the Trek out today and go around Beachy Head, taking the camera with me, as the photo opportunity would be quite good at Burling Gap and Beachy Head.

Continue reading

My progress so far – 18th June 2011

Firstly, here are the numbers:

  • 2 weeks to go to the start of the 2011 Tour de France.
  • 10 weeks to go to my Tour de France or Bust trip.
  • 2873 miles cycled so far this year.
  • All 21 stages mapped for GPS (available for download).
  • Accommodation booked and confirmed for the first 11 days of the trip.
  • £88.00 collected for Help for Heroes (My target is £1000) Continue reading

New website – Freewheeling France

Anyone planning their own Tour de France would do well to check out a new website. Freewheeling France is the brainchild of Lynette Eyb, an Australian cyclist living in Bordeaux.

It’s early days yet, with limited information, but the potential is high with information on Where to go, Planning a trip and the Tour de France. It also has a Messageboard where you can ask or answer questions about any aspect of cycling in France.

How many miles can I cycle day-in, day-out?

The Société du Tour de France regulations stipulate that the total mileage of Le Tour must not exceed 3,500 km (2170 miles), spread over 21 days of racing, which includes 2 compulsory rest days, during which the distance of 225 km (140 miles) cannot be exceeded more than twice. In preparing for this trip, I have often wondered whether this sort of mileage is achievable by a non racing amateur on a touring bike with panniers. Obviously, the TDF riders do this in one go, without stops. I, on the other hand, have all the time in the world. If I plan to set off each day by 8am, I could conceivably take 12hrs in which to complete that day’s stage. If you include stops totalling 2hrs, this reduces the actual ride time to 10hrs, giving an average speed of 22.5kph (14 mph) for a 225 km (140 mile) stage or, for the average 180 km (110 mile) stage, 18 kph (11 mph).

Personally, I think this is achievable, even though these sort of distances will have to be covered on a pannier laden touring bike day-in, day-out, for seven consecutive days. Currently, because of work commitments, I only train twice a week. If I do a road training session, it’s generally a hilly 25 mile route which I can easily do in one and a half hours at 18+ mph. My Heart Rate for these rides generally averages 168 bpm. Obviously, this is done on a lightweight road bike without panniers. Given the greater distances than my usual training rides, by lowering my effort/Heart Rate, I’m quite sure that I’ll be able to do that sort of mileage on a daily basis.

My only real worries are the long Alpine stages. Taking the 2010 Etap du Tour as an example, the181 kms stage from Pau to the Col du Tourmalet includes 3 Hors Category climbs: Col du Marie-Blanque, Col du Soulor and the 19km-long (with an average height difference of 7.4%) Col du Tourmalet. 10,000 amateur riders of varying standards started this event with just 6,888 riders finishing before the time limit. The fastest rider this year completed the stage 50 seconds short of 6 hours.

Etape du Tour 2010

Etape du Tour 2010

I’m hoping that by the time the Alpine Stage come along, I will have had a whole week of intense mileage under my belt, which should put me in good stead for these stages. I might be clutching at straws but for every climb, there’s a descent. Ultimately, I won’t know if I can do it until I actually do it……..or not!.

If anyone has any views on this, please comment.