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 ;