A Man With A Plan…

…and 5 extra kilograms since August, but that’s another story.

It’s been 3 full cycling seasons since I started this journey of ever-lowering stems, hill repeats and learning to love my Zone 4. I’ve just completed Haute Route. What the heck could possibly top that? Nothing, you’re right. But anyway, a guy needs goals, so here goes.

1. The Gran Fondo St. Tropez (April 13)logo52

You may remember that I have done this race twice now. The 2nd time, last year, was in order to qualify for the UCI World Championships for Masters and Amateurs. You also might recall that I didn’t qualify, finishing just outside the top whatever-it-was in my age group. Next year I will be more prepared. Yes, that’s right, I’ll have someone there to hand me water so I don’t have to stop! And I’ll train a bit, too…

2. The Etape du Tour (July 20)logo_ET1

This will be my 3rd year doing the Etape and 4th one in total. The Etape will forever be close to my heart. You never forget your first multi-Alpine col race, do you? Happily, it’s also a very cool event, with closed roads, guaranteed epic routes, and all the carnage and suffering you could ever dream of.

3. The UCI World Championships for Masters and Amateurs (Sept)download (1)

This should be the main event of 2014 and will depend on how efficient my water boy/girl is during #1 above. Plus my training, I guess. If I don’t qualify in St. Tropez in April I will either put this one off for another year or find another qualifying race in a country with weaker riders!


This year it’s different. In previous years I had only one main goal, and all my training for the many months preceding were just geared to getting me ready for it. Everything else – at least in theory – was secondary.

2014 will be more interesting, and probably more challenging for both me and the guy who designs my programs (ready Coach!?). All 3 events are ‘A races’, as Joe Friel would say. Therefore, my training needs to have me peak thrice (note: you have been witness to the first and last time I will use this word in print. Enjoy it). I think Stage 14 of next year’s Tour neatly illustrates the upcoming training season:

  • The first long approach from Grenoble to just past Bourg-d’Oisans is my winter of indoor suffering.
  • The Col du Lautaret is ‘Peak #1’ – the St. Tropez race
  • The Col d’Izoard is ‘Peak #2’ – the Etape du Tour
  • Risoul is the ‘Worlds’ in Slovenia.


It’s a long way from Grenoble to Risoul, with many ups and downs along the way, it seems. But I’ve really got to lose these 5 kilograms. It must be done.

So what are you doing in 2014?

21 thoughts on “A Man With A Plan…

  1. 5kg!!! Gerry, you are a regular Jan Ullrich. I thought I had put on close to a 1.5 kilo but as it turned out I hadn’t. But you have perhaps answered the question on how to justify a new bike – set a goal. So I tried it out on my wife and she said “yeah you do need a new bike”!! Hold it. That was too easy. There’s got to be a catch? Anyway, goal setting. Very important. You may see me at the Gran Fondo. If I recall, when you did it, it was horribly cold and wet, or was that a different race?

    • Okay maybe closer to 4, but it’s still a lot. I am following a long history of putting on pork in the off season. Bernard Hinault, for example, was famous for starting spring training in horrible condition. I’m just following cycling tradition!

      Nice work on the new bike, but better check and see if that ‘yeah’ comes with any ‘but’s! There’s always a catch, in my experience.

      No, the weather in Saint Tropez has been great the two years I’ve done it. Fingers crossed for one more.

  2. Gerry, you have a lot longer view than I do… I think I might skip Paris-Roubaix next year, but the other Spring Classics are firmly in my mind. And, I am very tempted by the route being discussed for September in the French Alps. Other than that, I have not really thought about anything. Yet.

    • No longer view, Chikashi, just have to book hotel rooms before they’re all sold out!

      I’d love to get up and do either P-R or one of the other Classics sportives. Make sure you post when you sign up. I need the motivation.

      What is this mysterious French Alps route you mention, by the way?

      • Forclaz, Montets, Megève, Madeleine, Glandon, Alpe d’Huez, Ornon, Parquetout, Cayolle, Valberg and a few minor lumps adding up to 13.900 m of elevation gain.

        Yes, I’ll post when I’m signed up. RvV and L-B-L are high on my list, but it will all depend on whether I am disciplined enough to keep my legs warm over the winter… Easier said than done!

      • And, yes, P-R is definitely worth doing at least once in one’s life. However, I would not even consider doing it if the ground is wet — too dangerous.

    • It’s only an assumption on my part right now. I haven’t seen any list yet either. It’s been the race for the past two years, though. Hope it is again.

  3. I am going to get all my exercise vicariously (as the actress said to the bishop) by following your breathtaking exploits from the comfort of my armchair. My sole target will be to bicycle 100 miles at least once during the year…..and lose 3kg.

  4. Gerry: Good forward thinking and planning! After my 8mo training plan for the Haute Route this year, I’ve decided to not plan yet beyond cross racing this Fall, then base training, and the rest will come when it comes…
    I will pick a few road races and do some buildup training for them, but there’s no big goal like August 2013. That’s not good from a training perspective, but I also like the freedom 🙂

    • I might have to give up on the Etape. Can’t find a hotel within 20 km of Pau right now!

      I like your plan of no plan, Jan, but I don’t trust myself to train properly without an objective, so had to get that out of the way early! I’d kind of like to see what gains I can make next year, too. Want to keep the momentum moving while I can.

  5. somehow, I must admit, I like the “have to give up on the Etape”. Then I can just do those climbs with friends and not in race mode — I guess I know where I fall (my “natural rank”) and am resigning myself to that? In contrast, I still may not have reached my plateau in cross, so hence my refocusing…

    But you are totally right: what I liked with HRA is that I had the clearest training goal ever and with it came great focus. No pain, no gain.

  6. My goal is not to fall off my bike after drinking beer, keep my weight at its present level, and do a few 100 mile events-where? Depends where I’ll be at the time. Bottom line is to enjoy cycling and the freedom it brings. What else is there?

    • Good goals, especially the beer one, and especially if it’s your new bike! Good luck finding a Century where you live. Maybe ask Jonathon? I know he’s done some riding in Malaysia and Thailand.

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