Cycling multiple stages of the Tour de France route is going to involve some training, but how much and what sort will vary hugely from cyclist to cyclist, depending on how much sport (even if it’s not cycling) you’ve done in the past and which Loop you’ve chosen.
Once you’ve signed up to take part, you’ll have access to the Rider Zone where there’s lots of training advice and information.
We strongly maintain that if you take it seriously and put in the work, there’s a place for everyone on tour. Below is a list of the training advice we offer…
Each month, Emily will post training articles to give you direction and inspiration. Her first post will see you through to January, after which they’ll be monthly right up to the event.
Everyone’s starting point is different and we love the fact that cyclists of all abilities come on Le Loop so it’s really difficult to give specific advice. However, the single best thing you can do training-wise in order to enjoy your Loop, is to build up the long rides and complete a few back to back rides in the spring.
In My Rider Zone you’ll find a list of monthly goals corresponding to the Loop you have signed up for. Although they are a rough guideline, if you manage those rides (at almost any speed), you can be confident that you’ll have no problems at all in France.
We have a strava group for cyclists who like that sort of thing (and no pressure at all if you don’t!): Le Loop Strava Club
It’s a great way for cyclists to share stories and ask questions before the event. We also have a Team Marie facebook group especially for women cycling with us.
If you’re not a strava person but are thinking of it, this is a great article from Cyclist magazine that might help you decide.
At all times, be careful to gauge your training so that it still remains fun. You have to want to get back on the bike for your targets to be achieved. If you are feeling drained for too long after rides, be careful to not over-tire yourself. Your natural enthusiasm will soon ebb away if exhaustion creeps in. Keep to your training plan and you will be able to relax, which is essential. A positive attitude, focused on the enjoyment factor, will do far more good for your riding than you might imagine!
As with all aspects of training, we’ll provide much more information in My Rider Zone once you’ve signed up. However, to help you decide what Loop to choose – and to remind you that this is a very inclusive event, here’s some extra information from Emily on cobbles and climbing…
COBBLES (these don’t feature every year)
People are fond of playing up the difficulty (and potential disaster) of riding on cobbles, but in reality it can be a rewarding – and enjoyably challenging – experience. Cycling over uneven cobbles requires you to focus your mind as well as your legs and we’ll help you manage it. You’ll also gain the kudos of having participated in one of continental cycling’s proudest traditions.
The trick to riding on cobbles is to relax. We know that’s easier said than done, but keeping your body loose will mean that it functions as a natural shock absorber, so that you get less vibration, especially through your arms. The bike will also be easier to control if you don’t grip the bars too tightly, and if you maintain a smooth, high cadence, it will help you float over the uneven surface.
CLIMBING (more than 3500m in a day)
It’s not as hard as you think to climb 3,500m or more in a single day – the key is pacing. You’ll need to make sure that you’re able to ascend at a sustainable speed for several hours but the 20-30km ascents of the Alps and Pyrenees are nothing like the short sharp ups and downs you’ll find in the UK.
Fortunately, this makes things relatively easy – it isn’t about going into the red; it’s about keeping going slowly and steadily, and hopefully staying relatively comfortable as you do so. You’ll want to be fit, yes, but far more important than that is being able to stay in the saddle while you climb, and having low enough gears that you can spin, rather than grind up the fearsome gradients of cols like Alpe d’Huez.
If you’ve never cycled in the mountains before, we’ll make sure you have the advice and encouragement to take this on. A lack of experience shouldn’t hold you back if you think you can make the time to train for long, steady cycling days.
Training through the winter can be tough. We give plenty of advice in our monthly blogs to help motivate you and keep you on target. Signing up for our training weekend at the end of March is a great way to stay focused too.
Not everyone has the time or funds to squeeze in a winter/early spring training trip to the sun – but if you can, it’ll boost your training no end. We’re friends with a couple of operators who understand Le Loop and what is needed from your winter training. They can help you to get the most out of a winter/spring cycling trip, with a keen eye on your goal of Le Loop.