How to prepare for l’Étape du Tour de France Participating in such a gran fondo on a road bike may seem like a simple goal for experienced cyclists, but it's a great challenge you may want to set yourself.

How to prepare for l’Étape du Tour de France Participating in such a gran fondo on a road bike may seem like a simple goal for experienced cyclists, but it's a great challenge you may want to set yourself.

@A.Vialatte - A.S.O

If you’ve been cycling for a while and want to participate in your first Étape du Tour de France, we’d like to give you some simple tips to help you with this challenge.

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@A.Vialatte - A.S.O

21/07/2019 – Etape du Tour – Albertville – Val Thorens @A.Vialatte - A.S.O


If you are not used to ride this distance, you will have to reach it gradually, do not try to reach 170 km if your usual distance is 70/80 km. If you are used to ride 120/130 km, you will be able to jump to 170 km without any problem, you just need a little more effort and preparation than usual. And don’t forget the elevation gain. This gran fondo has about 5 000 m of climbing, if you live in a hilly area, think about planning rides that accumulates elevation. If you live in a flatter area, plan to do some weekend rides in the mountains or to buy a connected home trainer could be your good idea for this preparation. Plan to train in the same weather conditions, it can be very hot at this time in the Alps.


Try to prepare training routes that are not too steep, but also not completely flat. The fact that there are valleys will distract you and you will not be aware of the kilometers that pass. Ideally, you should be able to make a loop with an escape way in case something goes wrong. That way, if you have to shorten the ride because of some inconvenience, you can get back to the starting point without any problems. Try to make your ride through towns so that you don’t lose sight of any water sources or places to buy food if you need to.


You should be especially careful about the pace you normally ride at. A professional can ride at over 40 km/h, and a good cyclist at about 30 km/h. Your pace will determine how many hours it will take you to complete your challenge. As an indication, you should know that at a pace of 20km/h, it will take you 8h30 to cover 170 km, at 30 km/h, 5 hours 40 minutes, you will have 11h at the most to finish this ride. Do not exceed your usual pace to reach a specific time, control your pace to adapt it to the one you usually use, and only in the last part, and when you reach the goal, increase your pace if you feel fit.


21/07/2019 – Etape du Tour – Albertville – Val Thorens @J.-Mitchell-Jacvan-event-A.S.O.


It is important that you have food with you at the start of this gran fondo. If you regularly use energy bars or gels, use them. Any other type of food that is easy to eat can be taken, such as dried fruit or fresh fruit. There will be refreshments along the route but you can’t predict that there will be what you like (or need) to eat, at the right time. Hydration will be essential, so bring water bottles (which are mandatory at the start) and stop regularly if needed to refill.


Prepare your clothes for the season. Too much or too little clothing can ruin your adventure. Do not wear new clothes on this day. The best choice is to wear your favorite shorts and jersey, the ones that have done so many miles with you. Of course, don’t forget that helmets are mandatory and gloves are highly recommended as they will help your hands feel more relaxed and protect you in case of a fall.


You will be riding for many hours and this increases the risk of breakdowns or punctures. Don’t leave without the mandatory equipment: repair kit with 2 tubes or a specific anti-puncture spray for tubular or tubeless tires. If you don’t know how to use it, train yourself, it would be a shame to give up along the way because of this. A mechanical assistance service will be available but you may need to ride a few kilometers to reach the nearest point. There will be fixed Mavic assistance points along the route as well as mobile devices.


Ideally, you’ll ride with someone else. If he or she is more experienced than you, ask them to help you set the pace and protect you from the wind. It will always be easier to complete the challenge with someone else than alone, as the effort of riding in someone else’s wheel is about 25% less than being constantly facing the wind. If you find yourself alone, try to join other cyclists or groups to ride for a while and get out of the wind. Do this only if you have enough technique to not endanger anyone, ask permission first and say thank you at the end.


21/07/2019 – Etape du Tour – Albertville – Val Thorens @A.Vialatte - A.S.O


You don’t want your adventure to be ruined by a last-minute problem. Your bike must be in perfect working order. Trust your local bike store to give it a service before the day of the challenge.


Ideally, you should ride with as few stops as possible, because after a stop your body will have a hard time picking up the pace. Scheduling stops in advance and trying to stick to the plan 100% is a good idea, stops should be made for the minimum amount of time you can, unless you are already exhausted and need a more intense rest to continue.


This will be your longest cycling session. Try to change your posture frequently, stand up even when you don’t need to, change your hand position on the handlebars, move your neck and stretch your back. Spending more than four hours on a bike is starting to become a big deal and your body will appreciate these movements.


It is very possible that the day after your adventure, or even the same day, you will be very tired. It is important to start recovering as soon as possible. Stretching and a nap are a good idea. Try to start hydrating as soon as possible, hydration and protein intake on that day is important. Remember, recovery begins before you leave the road. If you get hungry on the final section of the course, don’t wait until you get home. No matter how far you are left, that last bite may not seem necessary to finish the ride, but it will be necessary to start your recovery.


We hope that with these little tips you will be able to take on the challenge with confidence and enjoy your first gran fondo. Taking on this challenge is something you will not forget and will enjoy remembering.

How to Choose the Best Road Bike

All Trek road bikes offer incredible performance in a wide variety of situations, from racing to long-distance touring. However, each style is designed with a focus on certain rider priorities and for a specific type of bike.

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