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How To Ride Faster & Preserve Energy At L’Étape Du Tour

How To Ride Faster & Preserve Energy At L’Étape Du Tour

If the weather is really warm, then keeping
as cool as possible can help you ride much, much faster. When choosing your kit, if you
are buying anything specific, look for a full zip jersey. This allows you to open it up
while climbing, and it can keep you significantly cooler. Some riders like to wear a hat under
your helmet, check the forecast the night before and make your kit selection then. This
will reduce those pre race nerves. Think layers. The weather can change during
the day, so small things removing your gloves or cap on Tourmalet, will help disperse heat
more rapidly. The same goes for cold conditions, you can put these items on. While each of these points will make a small
difference, the more of them you can adopt into your tactics or approach to the L Étape,
the greater your advantage. Just remember, you can make it much, much easier if you use
your head as well as your legs. It’s a well used phrase, riding behind someone
can save you up to 30% of the effort of being in the wind. This isn’t an exaggeration, so
why not make the etape 30% easier? It’s not quite as straightforward of course,
not much is going to make the Hautacam 30% easier, but everywhere you can, think about
sheltering and working with other riders. This is the kind of skill that takes practice,
so if you can, go and ride with a group before hand. Ideally, your front wheel will be about a
metre from the wheel of the rider in front of you. Don’t get too close, you don’t know
if you can trust them not to make a mistake after all, but tuck in behind and go with
it. Sheltering from the wind doesn’t mean just
sitting directly behind the rider in front though. If the wind is coming from the side,
to get the full advantage, you need to be sat off to the sheltered side of the rider
in front. Always look to be aware of the wind direction.
The more experienced you are on a bike, the more this becomes instinctive, but if you
are new to riding with others, keep this in the forefront of your mind. Losing 5 minutes in the first hour may save
you half an hour on the Hautacam. Cycling is a tough old sport, and those riders
who make it to the top of the sport, are often the ones that know how to use their effort
wisely. Part of that is slipstreaming, but a large part of it is pacing.
For example, don’t ride alone. It’s quite likely that on the day of the LÉtape you
might find yourself separated from your fellow riders. on the climbs of the Tourmalet and the Hautacam,
you will clearly need to pace yourself. You need to avoid pushing it too hard, too early,
always think about conserving your energy stores. If the Tourmalet is going to take
you two hours to ride up, you must try and ride at an intensity that allows you to burn
some fat as well as carbohydrate. This means in practice that you can still breath comfortably
and even sing to yourself if you really wanted too. You’ve got to use due caution of course, but
descents are a fantastic time to help with recovery. Use the opportunity of taking a
break from pedalling and drink plenty, eat some solid food, and generally concentrate
on looking after yourself. This is particularly key on the descent of the Tourmalet, It’s
going to take a long time, so if you eat something at the top, it’s likely that the nutrients
from it will be entering your bloodstream by the bottom. At this point, you might benefit from getting
out of the saddle and changing your position a bit, arch your back perhaps and give it
a bit of a stretch. Use your brain though and don’t do all of this at 50mph, take it
easy. The descent might seem like a good opportunity
to make up some time, but with the road covered with other cyclists, it’s a risky proposition
so keep it in check. Making sure your bike is working perfectly
can actually make a significant difference. There’s some research that says even the type
of lubricant you put on your chain can make a few tenths of a percent difference to your
power output. Now while I’m not suggesting you could ever use your lube as an excuse
for a poor performance, but it does go to show that small things can add up to make
significant gains. So when it comes to your bike, make sure your
gears are spotlessly clean and well indexed and your tyres are inflated appropriately,
if in doubt put 100psi in, or 90 if it’s wet. If you’re really pushing the pace, take lessons
from the pros and try and get aero. While the climbers in the Tour de France will only
look to be lightweight, you will be spending much more time in the wind, and so looking
to make a few aerodynamic savings could make a difference if you’re looking to post a really
competitive time. Try to minimize your frontal area whenever
you’re on the front at speeds of over 20 mph. An aero jersey can save a few watts if you’re
buying anything for the event, and always zip it up when going quickly.

17 comments on “How To Ride Faster & Preserve Energy At L’Étape Du Tour

  1. What is an average speed riders are expected to maintain in a group on a tour race as long as this one on flatter roads, not so much climbs?

  2. A "how to" video about eating and drinking while you're out of breath on a bike would be useful. It takes me several minutes more to eat an energy bar if I'm on a fast paced ride.

  3. "Don't ride alone!", the hell? There's no freaking rule that you Have To join a club if you're going to be a road cyclist. And secondly: some of these tips are for people that have a gran fondo race coming up… Not very beginner friendly if you ask me.

  4. How do pro cyclist average 28+ mph on time trials? It just seems astounding to me that a person can maintain that kind of speed, while i can barley reach that speed on sprints. Are they really that much genetically superior or is it the amount of training? 

    Also, if a pro cyclist completely stopped training for let say a year, how bad would their performance suffer? would a guy averaging 28 mph go down to the teens? 

  5. Some good tips.  While I won't be entering any races soon, getting quicker on the longer rides is always a good thing.


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