Hints and tips (6-10) for those competing in the Etape for the first time or indeed any long sportive
What goes up, must come down – just with practicing your seated climbs you must practice descending. Simple tips would be relax your arms and shoulders, don’t turn the corner too early, be aware of other s around you and enter the corner slowly & exit quickly (not the other way round).
7 Your Bike
Get your bike sorted now – don’t be farting about with it a month before the trip. If you need to make changes, do it now. If you need to change the gears, do it early. If you are thinking of getting a new bike for the trip, do it early. Book it in for a service for a month before the off and make sure you have the right tyres (slicks are not the answer). Another top tip is to take lower gears than you think you need. Don’t forget the essential spare inner tubes (minimum of 2), tyre levers, pump, mini-tool.
8 Cycling Attire
Getting saddle sores far from amusing. Splash out on good shorts if nothing else and get lubed up. You are cycling in the Alps, so you need to pack for every weather eventuality. The very basics – helmet, shoes, socks, shirt, shorts & gloves (finger/fingerless), Glasses (changeable lenses are very useful). Other important items – a base layer, arm & leg warmers, gilet, upper body waterproof (drizzle and rain proof), light feet covers & bandanna. Don’t forget sun cream, chamois cream, neck warmer.
9 Mental attitude
A strong mental attitude is the key to success in the event and during your training. Physically you are capable of far more than you mind lets on. Fundraisers are able to picture the people that will benefit from their achievement, maybe remember a loved one that passed away or simply the money that they will raise. Whatever it is, you need something in your mind to drive you on – Researching motivational techniques and putting them into practice is as important as your physical preparation. The self discipline to remain focused on the task is also vital to success – whether that is during your training sessions or whilst cycling in the event, it’s important not to let your mind wander.
Without getting into too much detail, your body is your engine and your need to fuel the engine correctly. If you haven’t started to, now is the time manage your food intake more closely whilst still allowing yourself the odd treats! The extent that you go to will depend on the individual – but by maintaining a balanced diet you will also reduce the chances of illness. Avoiding being overly hungry and grabbing a quick fix is key to the plan – eating 5 times a day rather by adding mid morning and afternoon snacks should keep the blood sugar levels up and put pay to any cravings. Avoiding dehydration – as a norm, 2 litres of water (not sweetened drinks) should be consumed a day, without compensating for the levels of exercise you are doing. Some basic tips are…
Never miss breakfast – A good quality muesli or porridge oats are what all the experts will advise as they release energy and carbohydrates slowly. You will benefit from using skimmed milk/water and anything that isn’t refined – Goji berries, blueberries, sunflower seeds will make it taste better.
Snacks – unrefined stuff – banana, flat jacks, nuts with fried fruit or some natural yoghurt.
Lunch & Dinner should be a balance of carbs and protein – we all understand what carbs do, but 2-3 portions of protein a day will manage your appetite and keep hold of your muscle. Don’t forget to keep a cheeky eye on your fat & vitamin intake.
Keep an eye out for more tips on preparing for the Etape over the coming weeks
Dan Marsh – owner & founder of Marsh-Mallows.com