Monday, 29 October 2007

36 weeks to go....

Weight 105.5kg (loss of 1.5kg last week)
Target 107kg
Miles last week 92 (307 behind target)

92 miles maybe, but it did get a bit desperate with 62 of those coming after 2:30 on the Sunday afternoon. This real life stuff can really get in the way of training.

This week will at least be a bit more certain, the Cheshire Safari Audax next Sunday will at least guarantee 102 miles, and with a couple of nights on the turbo, 150 should be possible.

Can it really only be 36 weeks (yesterday) to next years Etape? It does bring the requirement to lose another 30.5kg, and train up ready into perspective. At least I'm not going at it from a standing start, and will at least have a base of miles to build on. This weeks miles should see me go through 4,500 miles since July of last year, some easy some harder. Should be OK as long as I don't get eaten by elephants when we pass through Chester Zoo.

It's a shame we don't have any 1,500m climbs in the Midlands, but I guess that with the Tourmalet being the highest road pass in the Pyrennees, that would be a bit much to ask. I imagine that we will have to settle for going up and down the same hill several times in North Wales to compensate, but thats for next year.

For now, its back to the Turbo, and some long Zone 2 miles to burn the fat. OK, some VERY long Zone 2 miles.

Friday, 26 October 2007


Entry sorted
Accomodation sorted
Weight - unsorted
Training - unsorted

Only 30 miles so far this week (5 days), looks like a heavy weekend after a Saturday that looks distinctly diy-ridden.

I'm beginning to be suspicious of next years etape route. What's the catch compared to 2007?

Sure, the Tourmalet is indeed a 'bad detour' and will be, if not the 'mother of all killer climbs', at least a very close relative. Hautacam should probably be renamed Hurtacam but, if that is all, we seem to be getting off lightly compared to the attempted murder to which this years etappers were subjected.

Would I be right in assuming that there will be a reduced time allocation next year, and that the broom wagons will come hurtling after us piloted by Lewis Hamilton? Are the climbs hiding something their profiles don't show? Is there no oxygen at those altitudes? Time will tell.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

It could have been worse

Much worse.

This years stage is described as 'short and intense' and will be stage 10 from Pau to Hautacam in the Pyrennees. At about 165km (officially 154km with a roll-out start, I imagine) with two major climbs, the Tourmalet and Hautacam itself, it initially seems a bit kinder than this year. More a classic stage than an epic one.

Certainly, the 2,300 metres of climbing in the two climbs is a lot less than the 4,000+ in the 5 climbs of 2007. Perhaps they're taking pity on fat blokes after the attrition rates shown this year.

I'm being glad its not the stage to Jausiers, over the 'roof' of this years tour on the Col de la Bonnette (at 2,802m as opposed to the Tourmalet at 'just' 2,115). Or even Embrun to Alpe d'Huez the long way round over the Galibier and the Croix de Fer.

There are some 'howevers' however, two climbs of over 14km at an average of over 7% will not be easy, especially if the weight is not lost, but it at least seems do-able compared to this year. Certainly, there have been sportives this year of up to 90% of the etape requirements, albeit with oxygen at lower altitudes (more on those later).

Back to the exercise bike.

Monday, 22 October 2007

?? weeks to go

Weight 107kg
Target 108kg (2kgs off last week)
Miles last week 101, (three hundred and something behind target year to date)

Hallelujah! Weight loss at last, helped no doubt by a few extra miles last week.

It's perhaps worth explaining where the 300+ behind target has come from. I hadn't cycled much at all until July 2006, when colleagues at work decided that it might be a good way of keeping fit, and getting out of the office at lunchtime.

A trip to the local tip followed (together with it's charity shop) and I exited with an aged Peugeot 10 speed in need of some TLC, at a cost of just a tenner. Bargain!

Miles followed, together with the realisation that I quite enjoyed cycling, even on a steel-framed monster with equally steel rims that brought you to a halt when THEY felt like it. Thus a target of 70 miles a week came into being. This far I am averaging over 65 miles a week, but not the full 70, hence the shortfall. I still hope to make it up by Christmas.

The Peugeot has long since departed back to the charity shop from whence it came, but not before it escaped from under me on a corner breaking a toe in the process, severely undermining my confidence in any tyre who's tread pattern doesn't suggest it came off a tractor.

I'm now riding a Halfords Carrera, doctored with an 11-34 rear cassette (much to the amusement of 'real' cyclists) which at least gives me the chance of getting most of the way up most of the hills.

I suppose its now a case of "same again next week" and wait until Thursdays announcement.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

T minus 7 and counting........

Seven days to go, and then we will find out the location of next year's pain.

Whatever, I'm hoping for a recognisable (in)famous Tour stage. The Alps will be great, Pyrenees too. I'd even be 'happy' with Mont Ventoux, though I'll admit that a stage in the massif central I would find mildly disappointing, even if it did mean I was more likely to finish.

Even better would be the Etape taking place on the Monday, thus making it the 14th July, Bastille Day. Where better than an Etape going through rural France with all its Bastille Day fetes? Answers on a postcard please............

To all the investors out there, sell your shares in McDonalds and KFC now, the diet is in full swing and even being stuck to (for now). Someone even asked yesterday if I was dieting, so it must be working.

Training progresses, but the thought of running as part of the training has caused my knees to seize up just thinking about it. I think that has something to do with the size of my stomach exceeding the design tolerance of my knee joints. Perhaps that can wait for the 100kg point.

Back to the Fortius to burn some more miles, and then real road on 4th November for the "Cheshire Safari" 160km Audax. Perhaps we should phone ahead to the Eureka! cafe to make sure they get more food in...........

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Starting Out

Bear with me, I've never tried this blogging mularkey before, but I figure its a good way of recording thoughts and progress for myself, even if no-one else ever reads it.

Well, the clue's in the title. I'm counting down to the Etape du Tour 2008, even if no-one knows when or where it's going to be yet.

I doubt that it will be that easy, given that I'm currently 109kgs, with a BMI of about 35. I'm unsure whether thats Obese, Clinically Obese or Morbidly Obese, but you get the picture....

At least I'm not going at it from a standing start, having done a few Audaxes, and a Sportive cycle ride here and there this year (2007), of course nothing approaching an Etape.

Target weight loss, 1 kg per week through until 75kgs, that will be about the end of May. Training target 70 miles per week up to the end of 2007. I'm currently about 350 miles down on that for 2007 as a whole, but I aim to make that up by Christmas.

Time to get on the Turbo trainer and burn a few calories. I've purchased a Tacx Fortius, which is currently plugged into the PC and raring to go. I think that the Alpe d'Huez program can wait for now, I'll try something flatter to build the miles first. No point peaking too early, is there?