Tapering, the Hard Way

You may remember from my post at the end of Peak Week that I was going to determine how my taper towards Haute Route would look. In the end I went with the prevailing wisdom, it seems, and continued to ride as normal (i.e. 6 days a week), while reducing volume by around 50%. I was supposed to also increase my normal amount of ‘intensity’, too, but I’ve got no idea if I have done that.

Today, being a weekend, I wanted to head out into the hills and do a short-ish ride with a good amount of climbing, so, along with John and our new riding buddy, Sakari, we went north to the mountains. Here is Sakari cresting our first of 3 little cols today.

2013-08-11 09.50.35

The rest of the photos were taken by him, which really helped out with my ride. I’m usually the one stopping all over the place to get shots. I could just freewheel along today and hope Sakari would remember to send me the photos. Turns out he’s trustworthy. Here’s John, ‘fresh’ off a two-week vacation in NYC (they don’t have mountains in NYC).


Probably our first climb, up the Corniche des Cévennes – a gentle 7km ascent that leads you to an awesome ridge ride that goes on forever.



A staged photo of John and I. If only you could see the beautiful exhaustion on our faces!


Not staged. We’re really exhausted.


One of the goat tracks we rode on today.


We didn’t go this way, but you can see the end of the word ‘col’ twice on these signs. There’s plenty of climbing in them thar hills.


8 thoughts on “Tapering, the Hard Way

  1. That doesn’t look like any tapering that I’ve ever done, but I’m sure you know what you’re doing. Enjoy the (semi) relaxing week before the time of your life.

    • If you’re referring to the Strava stats, take those with a big grain of salt. The climbing was only around 3000 ft. Still, it’s the hardest taper I’ve done, for sure!

  2. Last week! I am doing my last ride today here in Vermont: one hour only, including the 1/2hr climb which I will do near- or at (if I feel like it 🙂 threshold.
    Have you looked at the race bible and the projected best times (which are sharper than mine, if you consider the TT times). The first stage (and some others) is longer than I planned on. My buddy last year rode each day under 5 hrs, except for the marathon stage. He also said the first day is now longer and much harder.
    Packing today–will bring the tubulars (they rode great yesterday). One question: did you see on your Etappes whether tubular riders carry a spare tire (or whether carrying my little PitStop sealant is sufficient)?

    • Jan, I didn’t read anything about tubulars, but for clinchers we need to carry TWO TUBES! I’ve never ever done that. I think you should look into it.

      Good luck with that last ride. I’ve got a couple more before I leave on Thursday, but short, of course.

      I’ve taken a look at the times, yes, but haven’t really calculated where I think I might be. I do have an idea, based on 3 previous Etapes du Tour (anywhere from 19 kph to 23 kph). Maybe I’ll take a peak tonight and see what I can estimate. I’ll get back to you if I see anything scary!

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