I’m training for the Etape Caledonia on Sunday 15 May. It’s an 81 mile timed road race mainly involving lots of men who like this…
The picture is from Edinburgh Road Club the super-fast roadies we see out and about on our travels. Membership of said club is for me but an aspiration. Now I’m not saying there are no women in the Road Club – it does have a women’s race team – but road racing is a predominantly male affair. For example last year over 3,000 people did the Etape but only around 400 women. C’mon girls!
Note if you will the contrasts between me and the fast guys – the heavy bike, the rack and bag, the kit and fleece and let’s not discuss the rider…
Nonetheless, I’ve signed up for the Etape and training is going well. I know the distance is no problem since last year I did the Pedal for Scotland Sportive 100 mile bike ride last September. When I arrived for the Scotland Sportive admist a sea of men in lycra marshalls checked with raised eyebrows that I was really intending to do the Sportive and not the 52 mile option. I was I confirmed. And I did!
It was a glorious day for the event and such an incredible sense of achievement afterwards. It took me 8hours 40mins on my trusty old hybrid (pictured above). You can see pictures on facebook here.
The Need for Speed
The issue for the Etape will be finishing the hilly course quickly enough! You see the roads are closed for the Etape and then reopened, at which time competitors who fail to meet the minimum speed requirement are de-bibbed! My aim is to avoid this indignity!
This requires an average speed of 13mph over 81miles. And have I mentioned the course is hilly?
All that is a precursor to this posting about wonderful weekends training rides with biking friends and my Etape buddy Jack. Here are some pictures from our beautiful trip to North Berwick a few weekends ago. There aren’t many en route as I was cycling hard and managed to average 13mph on the way out to North Berwick via the mainly flat A198 coastal route (approx 26miles). So I’ll need to do better than this before next month.
A glorious day in North Berwick.
We went for lunch al fresco at lovely bistro 12 Quality Street.
We couldn’t resist when we saw fresh lobster being delivered and shared one between us. Divine!
We took a longer and hillier route back to Edinburgh via Haddington, Gifford and lots of other places. We stopped in Gifford to buy more water and sat on a lovely bench in front of the church.
And here are the bikes. Jack’s built for speed.
Mine built for comfort!
But the good news is Jack is lending me one of his road bikes for the Etape (he has 3!). Thanks so much Jack! I’ve trained on it a few times and love the way it really flies it but it will take a bit of time to get used to the riding position and gear change on the crossbar. I’m not even attempting the toe clips again…
And yes, a shiny new bike designed for speed is on my shopping list. It takes time to find the right bike.
UPDATE: We’re raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and now have an online fundraising page. Please donate if you can http://www.justgiving.com/stephandjackdotheetape/
Send me positive thoughts on 15 May for the Etape.
I will need them!