L’Etape du Tour 2012 !!

A big thanks to all those who sponsored Johnny and I on this years Etape du Tour  for Finns Trust – you’ve helped us raise raised over £1,500 so far making the event very worthwhile  🙂

Back in November we made the seemingly wise decision to tackle the second Etape option, thinking that the longer route with more climbing was a very sensible choice. At the time the 201km distance and 4800m of climbing over 5 cols didn’t seem very real.  It was only when we drove the route the day before the race that reality set in. The fact that it took us almost 5 hours to drive, set the alarm bells ringing.

However on the day of the event all seemed well as almost 5,000 cyclists gathered at the start in Pau under an overcast sky.  The first 35km flew by as peletons formed on the road south to the mountains.  It wasn’t until we hit the first climb the  uncategorised Col d’Aubisque that the prevailing weather pattern for the event took shape in the form of light drizzle on the climb which changed to driving rain on the descent as speed picked up to 60 km/h!!  At least the temperature increased as each of us dropped deeper into the valley below.

The start of the race

The start of the race in Pau

The next climb starting at approx. 87 km in was the legendary Tourmalet or as it became for the rest of the weekend the ‘f*ckin Tourmalet’ 🙂 Trailed as a 19km climb, the timing mats were placed 36km from the summit….meaning nearly 2 hours of climbing up through the drizzle and cloud before hitting the top of the race at 2115m above sea level.  This was a key milestone as over 2/3 rds of the distance and climbing were behind us now and we could now entertain thoughts of finishing ahead of the dreaded ‘broom wagon’.

The last 2 climbs the Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde although reasonably painful given the overall distance covered seemed easy in comparison to the Tourmalet, and I’m sure everyone was helped by the large crowds lining the climbs shouting ‘Allez, Allez’ and extolling us to climb faster!  It was still a great feeling after 184km to reach the top of the final climb and know that it was downhill all the way to the finish line.  Even better on reaching Bagneres de Luchon and the home straight which was lined with thousands of people cheering us into the line.

So all told a great experience and we both made it to the finish line in one fairly shattered piece.  The question being will we put ourselves through it again next year?

1 Comment

  1. All that training for one day that nearly killed you, and Wiggins does it for three weeks! Amazing achievements, both for you two and Wiggo. Well done fellas.

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