I know I talk a lot about myself in this blog, and I will today as well, don’t worry. But I’d like to start with a few mini-portraits of some well-known friends who are heading to The Alps this weekend for the Etape du Tour.
Pierre is quite famous on the blog and has made several appearances over the past couple of years (here’s one of my favorites). He is a member of Coach Rob’s stable of motivated middle-aged athletes and will be racing in his 2nd Etape this year. His goal for the race is a secret, but it is much more than last year’s ‘finish before the broom wagon’, I can tell you that much.
He is also a French Canadian, which explains the fashionable cycling socks.
Woman of fearsome route-planning abilities and increasingly scary climbing skills, Anne is doing her very first Etape this year and will start in the back pen. I can tell you from the many rides in the mountains I’ve done with her that she won’t finish in the same position.
Husband of Anne and freak of nature, Erik is the type of rider who I can beat up a mountain after 5 solid months of training, but only because he has been doing a weekly one-hour Sufferfest video during the same period. Once he gets a few Ventouxs, or a week in Italy, in his legs, it’s game over, as evidenced by his excellent results in last year’s Etape (better than top 10%, right Erik?).
I know lots of others who are doing the Etape this year. Who knows, you might be one of them! Good luck to all of you this Sunday. If you’ve suffered well this season, it’s time to let the legs do the talking.
And now to me. I took two days off this week, after a month of solid training, and went out today and had my 2nd ‘wow’ experience of the year (April’s Ventoux climb was the first). After 15 minutes or so of riding I could not really feel my legs, but in a good way, if you follow. I felt like my whole hilly ride was on autopilot and when I was ‘dancing’ out of the saddle my torso ‘floated’ above my legs, which were orbiting the bottom bracket, instead of pushing down on the pedals. It was a surreal experience that I now need to discover how to 1) recapture, and 2) hold for a week in The Alps.
I did have a beer at the end of yesterday’s TdF stage. I wonder if it could be that..?