L’etape 2009 Diary – part 1

Well , I felt that my motivation was lacking recently and decided that a new challenge was what was needed to get me back training more consistently . There were a few options available , go back racing next year , do a malin to mizen , blazing saddles or a Crumlin charity cycle , or else ride a stage of the tour on closed roads and feel like a pro for a day . Having gone back racing a few years ago to ride the Ras ( see here ) and having done a blazing saddles epic before ( see here) I decided on having a go at the L’etape de tour .

I eagerly awaited the announcement of the route and when it was announced that it was going to be the stage form Montélimar (Drôme) to the Mont Ventoux my mind was made up that I had to give it a go .

In years gone by one could send in a private entry but in recent times it is neccessary to book your place through a recognised l’Etape agency . A full list of official agencies may be seen here . Even though it is possible to book through any number of international agencies I decided to go with one of the two Irish companies who are licensed to enter the event . Trail seekers offer a five day package for €995 excluding flights whilst On your bike offer a seven day package for €1995 excluding flights .

Having spoken to Sean O’Leary of Trail seekers , a man who raced against the O’Gormans , Bobby , Larry and Paddy Power , Tony Ryan et al and who claims that he had the finest steak he ever tasted during the 1983 Ras in a B & B between Clonmel and Carrick I was happy to book one of the Cork mans’ few remaining places and forward on my €150 deposit .

So there it is , no turning back now !

Training wise at present I am doing 2 – 3 hours on Sundays with the group , 2 – 3 on Tuesdays by myself looking over ditches and one hour on the turbo on Thursday mornings . That will have to be improved on pretty soon if I don’t want to be in a complete body bag on the evening of July 20th .

As my training progresses and as I receive more information about the event I’ll post it under a L’Etape diary heading .

For a sneak peak at the route see the following video clip ;



29 comments to this article

  1. Michael Kelly

    on November 20, 2008 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Good luck Barry on this one , looking forward to reading your diary ,hope to meet you on the road , over the next few months

  2. DQ

    on November 21, 2008 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Good luck Barry, I did the Alpe D’Huez edition of the Etape with Sean in 2006 (you couldn’t miss him, the big 80’s steel bike – “Steel is real” he would say himself), theres a picture of the 2 of us lying on the road at the top of the Alpe. I am still half considering this years one (he usually gets a cancellation or 2 in January)… As you have probably already realised he is in fact mental in a way that only west cork people seem to be, but good fun all the same and the trips are very well organised. He had a nasty spill in last years edition though ended up in hospital.

    You should hook yourself up with a TacX Imagic or Fortius, I have one with a real life video of the Mt Ventoux climb…. and yes, I can confirm that it’s nasty.

  3. worldwidecycles

    on December 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks lads ,

    I’m looking forward to it alright . Had an imagic before Dave but training in the cold dark mornings seemed more appealing . A guy in the shop last week told me that it’s like tickincor for 21k . :( ouch

  4. Patrick Santini

    on December 29, 2008 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Hi Barry – Patrick here from On Your Bike. I’m looking forward to reading more about your Etape preparations on the site. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve posted a link to your blog on our site: http://www.onyourbike.ie/links.aspx

    Keep up the good work and best of luck in 2009. Let me know if I can do anything to help you out between now and then. See you on the Ventoux! – Patrick


  5. Paul keohane

    on January 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    This is my first etape,looking forward to it,I am also travelling with Sean from Cork,the hard training starts now in the cold wind and rain.

    • worldwidecycles

      on January 6, 2009 at 6:52 am - Reply

      Look forward to seeing you there Paul . Best of luck with the training . As Armstrong says ‘ Pain is temporary , quitting lasts for ever ‘

  6. Jon Ratliff

    on January 7, 2009 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Greettings Barry from Texas.
    I too am going to give the l’etape a go this year.
    I look forward to reading how your training goes, as I am really beginning to get serious with mine here in Texas after reading the horror tales.
    I wish you the best, and hope to see you on Ventoux!

    Jon Ratliff

  7. worldwidecycles

    on January 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Jon ,

    Great to hear from you . Hope that your training is going well . Come up and say hello if you see me on the day . I’ll be pretty easy to pick out , six foot three on a yellow Viner Maxima dressed head to toe in Yellow worldwidecycles.com gear :)


  8. Paul keohane

    on January 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Got out the last two days,weather was dry so I was a happy camper,did 70k on Monday and 55k yesterday,I did the same last week,Id like to do that for the next 3 weeks just to get the fitness up a bit,I didnt get out on the road in December so I need to build up my fitness before I start doing big milage.

  9. Jon Ratliff

    on January 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Great weather here in Texas this weekend… sunny, warm and windy!
    Got out for a 100K on Saturday, getting ready to head out again this morning.
    Hope everyone has a good week.


  10. Paul keohane

    on January 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    The weather here in Ireland is shocking,freezing and heavy sleet the last few days,I plan getting out over the next two days,fingers crossed its not to bad.Il have to make them short and fast.

  11. Jon Ratliff

    on January 31, 2009 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    We had the sleet and freezing rain earlier this week here in Texas too. Fortunately it didn’t last long.
    We have sunny weather here this weekend. Got out for a 100K today.
    Hope to get back out again tomorrow.
    Also I purchased a DVD from Cyclefilm,
    “The road to Mt. Ventoux”
    It’s really good. They ride the entire Etape route and give detailed descriptions of all the climbs and the entire route. You can order it from cyclefilm.com.
    I hope everyone has a great week.

  12. Paul keohane

    on February 4, 2009 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    I got the dvd in the post the other day,very good ,gives you an idea what to expect.My training has been on the back burner the last 10 days,i had a stomach bug and its been snowing here in Ireland the last week,im already falling behind with my training,looks like I’ll have to put extra miles in in the coming weeks- if the weather improves.Im kind of getting into a panic about missing training days,I suppose the etape is still six months away.

  13. worldwidecycles

    on February 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    I wouldn’t panic too much yet Paul . I was speaking to Sean from Trail seekers today and we were discussing training . As Sean suggested if you got fit now you would have to hold it for 6 months and that from Easter on would be when you would need to get serious about it .
    At present to train when ever you can/ feel like it is enough , wheather that be 1 or 4 hours .
    Very important to keep your mind and body fresh for another while yet and recovery days are allowed ;)

  14. worldwidecycles

    on February 4, 2009 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    It’s good to hear from John that we’re not the only ones experiencing the crazy weather conditions at present . I always hought that Texas was warm and dry , guess not all year round .

  15. Jon Ratliff

    on February 16, 2009 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Weather was rather cool here in Texas this weekend, but I got out for a 65 K on Saturday and 100K Sunday. A lot of wind here, bit I feel fortunate that we are having good enough weather to get some good training in.

    I hope everyone’s training is going great.
    You guys have a good week!

  16. Pauk keohane

    on March 2, 2009 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    ya Barry your probably right about peaking to early,Ive been tipping away the last few weeks,took advantage of the good weather.I must give Sean a ring,I still havent given him all the paper work.Jon you seem to be putting in some handy milage -youll be flying come July.

  17. Paul keohane

    on March 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Got out on the bike the last two days,weather is touch and go at times,cant wait until it improves,theres only so much rain you can take.
    Barry are you doing the weekend in Kenmare?,I was talking to Sean the other night,should be a good weekend-90 miles on the Saturday will be hard,the roads down that neck of the woods are farily lumpy.

  18. worldwidecycles

    on March 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Should be a bit easier to get out as the days get longer and weather improves (fingers crossed )
    I’m heading down to Kenmare also and looking forward to meeting everyone . The 90 miler will be a good guage as to how everyone’s form is progressing . No pressure ;-)

  19. Jon Ratliff

    on March 16, 2009 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Rained most of the week here. Finally cleared today. Got out for a good 120K saw an old friend out on the road and went a bit further with him.
    Only about 120 days left until the trip. It’s getting close.

  20. worldwidecycles

    on March 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    120 days and counting . That really makes it seem close Jon . I recently saw the cyclefilm recon dvd which is excellent and is also good for a bit of extra motivation .

  21. Paul keohane

    on March 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Weather is great here in Ireland the last few days,got out and did 110k on Tuesday and did a very hilly 80ks yesterday down in Kerry,my legs are a bit tired today,120 days seems very short when you think about it,still plenty of time to get the milage in.

  22. Jack Ronan

    on April 8, 2009 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Hi Barry I was in with Ray in the shop yesterday and we were talking about polar -v- Garmin as a monitor. I wonder could you pass on your views on this to me. Also would you have any recommendation for a training book? Thanks Jack

  23. Paul keohane

    on April 9, 2009 at 3:30 am - Reply

    got out for a 110k and 75k spin last thursday and saturday,weather was great,hopefully the weather will be ok for the bank holiday,ive a few things on that involve booze:) but i hope to get out on the monday.Barry hows your preperation for kenmare?,ive a feeling i’ll be at the back for long periods :)

  24. worldwidecycles

    on April 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul , Training could be better but sure I’m sure we’ll be fine for kenmare . Looking forward to the weekend .

  25. Jon Ratliff

    on April 19, 2009 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Greetings Guys,
    I got out for 100k in the warm rain here in Texas today. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow so I’ll be heading out for more. Training has been going well here as I’ve managed to get a lot of rides in during the week after work.
    It’s 90 days and counting down..

  26. Jon Ratliff

    on May 30, 2009 at 2:50 am - Reply

    Greetings Guys,
    I hope you are all doing well.
    Training has been going really well here. Weather is really getting hot here now. Hopefully it will help me in my preparation for Etape.
    I’ve been ramping my mileage up considerably.
    I Met a guy on one of our club rides the other day from London, here in Texas on holiday…
    Look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Less than 5o days!!

  27. Leo Dillon

    on June 10, 2009 at 7:47 am - Reply

    For anyone interested, the Dauphine Libere is going up Mont Ventoux on Thursday (tomorrow) – you can see it live on Eurosport 2 at 3pm or a repeat later that night at 11.40pm on British Eurosport. God bless Sky+.

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