Posts by Pete

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?

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L’Etape du Tour results are in !!!

PeteVery quick update tonight…..just arrived back from the Alps and am totally knackered  as you might expect!!    Steve and I both finished L’Etape yesterday along with 6443 of the 10,000 who started. Steve finished in an amazing time of 5:08:14 and placed 939th and I posted 5:29:14 and placed 1,636th so we’re both pretty happy having targeted 6 hours and top 15%.

The event was amazing…but details will have to wait until my brain is actually in gear…….but thanks to everyone for your support and donations and especially to Jon Wilson who hosted us in Saint Michel de Maurienne and acted as our superb Director Sportive for the weekend !!

Finally thanks to our brilliant wives Sarah and Geri who have supported Steve and I throughout the last 8 months of training and put up with our bike related antics for much longer 🙂

p.s. we are experiencing some problems with Paypal donate (they set a limit on how much you can donate into the account and we’ve already hit it)….so if you experience any problems donating please drop Sarah an email at


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Is all getting ‘Jangly Jangly’ up here in the Alpes

Steve and Pete - Etape practice, May 11Just about 12 hours to go to the Grand Depart…….and Steve and I are rather keyed up.  Drive down to Saint Michel de Maurienne went smoothly – French roads a dream.  Witnessed a spectacular electric storm from Jon’s balcony last night and were then joined for some moral support by our good friend Simon Ryley, who nipped down from Geneva.

Today we visited the competitor village, registered for the event, met up with 4 of our fellow elite atheletes and surveyed beacoup de bike porn.

The bikes have been re-assembled, the gels, bars and carb drinks weighted and measured – there is not much more to do now before the off.

A massive thankyou to all of you who have visited the site and donated so generously to the Trust – we have raised over £1500 since the site went live on Friday.

Next stop Alpe d’Huez! Weather for tomorrow is likely to be warm and sunny!

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Etape Du Tour…….5 days to go

All the training is now complete and only rest and carb-loading remain between now and Monday July 11th at 7 a.m. when Steve and I will tackle our first Etape Du Tour on the same route as Stage 19 of this years Tour de France.

The route takes us from Modane in the South East of the French Alps, close to the Italian border, through St-Michael de Maurienne before heading up the first climb the Col du Telegraphe – 13 km of climbing.  After a brief respite spinning downhill into the ski resort of Valloire we then set our sights on the Col du Galibier a beast of a climb taking us up to 2566m!  We’re hoping to get there after about 3 hours but won’t have time to take in the amazing views as we’ll be speeding down the other side of the Galibier round fairly scary hairpin bends before the road opens out and heads down the valley towards Le Bourg d’Oisans.  This will be an opportunity to give the legs a little rest for , get into a group and take on some more carbs and drinks in preparation for the final assault up to Alpe D’Huez. Having already cycled 96km and climbed over 2000m the 21 hairpins of ‘The Alpe’ cover another 1100m so we have our work cut out to get to the top!

I can’t wait to get there as it will mean no more training!!!

Will keep you posted on progress over the next few days  – would be great to hear from you all.

Check out the route of the 2011 Etape and the climbs:[nggallery id=2].
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