Lessons from Le Tour
Today would have been Sign On for The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France 2021 as we prepared for our Grand Depart and epic journey to watch the Tour finale (thank you COVID).
However … we’re not dwelling on things here at Hotchillee, but instead looking ahead to 2022 and excited to think that in just over 53 weeks the Hotchillee peloton, bolstered by a new gravel contingent, will be rolling into Paris on closed roads ahead of the pros and await all the drama that next year’s Tour will bring.
So, having had two weeks of unbelievably exciting and unpredictable racing, what can us mere cycling mortals learn from the Tour so far and how can we apply to it our own riding and preparation for 2022?
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Have a plan
We wonder how many people were aware of Mathieu van der Poel’s plan for yellow on Stage 2 with his double attacks on the Mur-de-Bretagne and, if he did announce it on the Alpecin-Fenix team-bus, whether anyone believed he could pull it off or tried to talk him out of it! He knew what he needed to do though, had a plan and nailed it.
We know this is controversial but he also has a bigger plan for 2021 and that’s gold in the MTB XCO at the Olympics. With this goal in mind, slogging himself for another two weeks around France wouldn’t be the ideal preparation, either physiologically, or from a skills perspective, so he took the very sensible option of leaving Le Tour.
So, at the simplest level, plan for each ride you do. Think about your pacing, fuelling, clothing, hills etc and make sure you give yourself the best chance for a great ride.
Bigger picture, plan looking towards your main goals. If you’re joining us for The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France, now’s the time to start your preparation.
But be flexible
Jumbo-Visma’s Tour plans pretty much fell to bits during the first week of the race but with the exploits of Wout van Aert on Ventoux and Jonas Vingegaard tickling the top of GC, they’ve more than salvaged their race.
The reality of cycling (and life!) is that it doesn’t always go according to plan. However, with regards to preparing for an event such as The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France, if you put a plan in place now, it’ll give you plenty of buffer room for illness, injury, work stress, Christmas and all the other spanners that life can throw in the works. Time gives you flexibility so don’t leave all your training for the final 8 weeks of so.
Don’t go too deep too early
There have been quite a few riders who were really prominent in Week 1, especially in the Alps, who have now faded into obscurity, survival or abandonment.
The lesson here is that, whether it’s a long single-day event or a multi-day event, avoid the temptation to go off too hard. This can be tricky with the excitement of a big event and fresh legs from a well planned taper but it’s guaranteed to come back and bite you. Using a power meter, knowing and sticking to your zones, ensuring you fuel and hydrate well and erring on the conservative side of pacing are the best ways to ensure you finish strong and aren’t just limping home.
Find a team
The teamwork of Deceunick-Quickstep aka The Wolfpack in support of Mark Cavendish has been awesome and his win on Stage 10 was about as close to a perfect lead-out as you’ll ever see.
We can’t quite guarantee you a Michael Mørkøv if you join us at The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France but, with the Hotchillee Ride Captains and an events team who’ve been doing this for 16 years, you’re in good hands.
We’re also really proud at Hotchillee of our bigger team – our community. Whether it’s out on rides or on our community platform, if you’ve got a question or just need some support, there will always be a fellow Chillee who’ll be able to help you out.
Push on through
Having been a part of Nic Dlamini’s journey since he won the yellow jersey on The LONDON-PARIS 2013 as a headstrong 17-year old, we were full of pride that he started the Tour but even more so when, despite a crash and horrendous conditions put him outside of the cut-off, he toiled solo to the finish in Tignes when he could have easily jumped in a team car.
Part of cycling are those bad days on the bike but often, by backing off the pace, maybe having a bit of a break, eating some food and having a drink, you can reset, get going again and finish the ride. The good news is that, on our rides, unlike Nic, you won’t have to plough a lonely furrow. There will always be someone to ride with, plenty of encouragement, maybe a welcome hand on the back on a tough climb and we’ll do all we can to get you to your finish line!