Cycling Weekly’s Deputy Editor agreed to try and ride the Marmotte and Etape in two days. Now he’s got to actually go and do it.
Well, the big day is almost upon me. I fly out to Lyon this afternoon and like a prisoner on Death row have a day to hang around and do nothing before the big day.
The plan is to get a little ride in tomorrow to test the legs, but the problem with being in the Alpes that it?s all up and down. There isn?t a single ride you can do where you can just spin the legs for an hour or two. Especially when the accommodation is at the top of Alpe d?Huez.
I?ve been looking online for a taxi service in Bourg d?Osians that has cars fitted with bike racks, but can?t find any. Even if there were, they?d probably be closed between 10.30am and 2.30pm for lunch.
I do at least have a bike to ride. But only just. The Independent Fabrications bike arrived at the end of last week, but only after I forked out a load of dosh to get it out of the Parcel Force depot. In all their infinite wisdom, customs and excise decided to charge me a lot of money to release the bike, even though it hasn?t been bought, and will eventually go back to the States.
When it arrived, I excitedly unpacked it. The frame looked great. Out of the wheel box I pulled a beautiful, brand new Mavic R-Sys rear wheel. Quickly followed by another beautiful, brand new Mavic R-Sys rear wheel. Ah. We have a problem.
It turns out one of my fellow ?crazy betters? (as we?ve been christened) had two front wheels and has promised to bring them both it with him. I hope he does, I?m not very good at wheelies.
Once I?d swapped the 175mm cranks with the 170mms I had asked for, bought a headset and stopped the seatpin from slipping down the seat tube with some carbon grip, I was good to go.
My training has taken a bit of a dip of late. Coaching manuals refer to this as tapering, and apparently it?s good for the form. So that?s all right then.