As Rich, a fellow London Dynamo who rode last year’s Etape and who I saw out on a sunday ride yesterday, pointed out.
I had been fretting that 196km is an awful long way to train for, even though it’s only 10 more than last year. But as Rich spotted, after the final climb it’s a downhill belt to the finish, meaning that in reality you are pretty much home and hosed at about 176km. so if you’ve made it to the top of the Peyresourde you’ve only really got to avoid falling off to finish.
This has raised my spirits infinitely as it means that getting to the finish might be vaguely enjoyable. After my experiences cramping on the descent of the Lautaret to Bourg D’Oisans, knowing that even if I got there in time I would still have to climb Alpe d’Huez, the knowledge that this time the final descent is to the finish makes it a much more welcome prospect.
I’m now comfortably doing the Sunday ride and I can feel the edge starting to come back. Once the weather improves I may even take the new bike out and start working on that.