Cycling travel tips, resources and product reviews
Gran Fondo Training Plan: 16 weeks
Doing Etape or some other epic Gran Fondo? Don't Just Turn Up.
(“Etape” is used to mean any epic Gran Fondo including Maratona, Marmotte, Peaks Challenge etc.)
Lots of people think they can just turn up and do Etape without any Gran Fondo Training Plan. This approach will guarantee a horrible day out for most people.
Why? Because Etape is just so incredibly hard. It is an absolute epic undertaking that surprises many people in its intensity and difficulty.
But we still think it's within us. For most of us, ego plays a big part in what we do. We feel we can complete feats of endurance as if it's no big deal.
Professionals know better. Professionals know they need to train (and train, and train) for something to be competitive. Professionals don't just turn up. And sure, you're not a professional, but the mindset still applies.
You don't just turn up to Etape and do it. I am staggered when people tell me they attempted Etape without any training, or with only a couple of months training. Remember this: most people will need 4-6 months of training for Letape. They end up lamenting their lack of training and a wasted trip.
Most people don't regularly do events or rides as hard as Etape on a regular basis. Here's the Etape 2014 profile. It's about the same as riding halfway up Everest.
2014 Tourmalet profile
Most of us don't live in the Alps, Pyrenees or Dolomites. We live in areas with some local hills, sure, but these mountains—real mountains—are on a whole other level. They will chew you up and spit you out if you are not prepared.
The Pain of Abandonment
I've seen people spend thousands of dollars to travel halfway around the world to do this amazing event.
I've seen them spend a lot of time preparing for the trip. The excitement, anticipation.
…Only to fail to do any training. Or, to do the wrong training.
Imagine spending thousands (or even hundreds, if you're coming from the UK or nearby) on your dream cycling event in France. Imagine toiling all day, often in searing heat, with thousands of other like minded cyclists.
Imagine battling up the heroic Cols of France all day.
…Only to abandon on or before the final climb.
6km from the top of the Tourmalet, Etape 2010
Who needs to train?
Almost everyone will benefit from some proper training for Etape. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or an A Grade crit-monster (ESPECIALLY if you're an A grade crit-monster), you will benefit from training for Etape.
Why Unnecessarily Suffer through L'Etape?
Why spend all that time and money going France and doing L'Etape without proper preparation? Madness!
Lots of people think training means hours on the bike, forsaking your personal life.
But it doesn't have to be like that. In fact, I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised. With as little as 10 hours a week training with purpose, you will make a significant difference to your fitness and your enjoyment of L'Etape.
Most people who have done Etape will tell you they wish they'd trained harder, both in volume and for the hills.
In retrospect, I should have sought out longer climbs on the East coast. In PA, the longest climbs in the area was about a mile…clearly not enough. Shaun, USA
Most people fail to train enough, or to do proper training for the mountains of France. What you need is a credible training plan that builds your strength and endurance, so that you can ride the whole day, including up the big mountains.
Here's a video I made for an Etape promo that explains why turning up without being fit, is folly.
Did you know that in 2011 Etape 1, around 63% of entrants (that's 5700 people) did not finish Etape?Or that in 2010, fully 30% abandoned on or before the Tourmalet?Or that 20% of participants usually don't finish?
Where to get Etape Training
I've commissioned one of the Best in the Business, Mark Fenner, to construct a training plan especially for people wanting to not just survive Etape, but do well in it..
I use Mark for my own training and I can attest his skill in constructing a plan that will not only make you faster and stronger, but that fits in with your busy day-to-day life. Few of us have time to spend hours on the bike, so the training takes this into account.
This Etape training plan will get you into shape for Etape du Tour, no matter what your condition. If you have no experience in the mountains or with Gran Fondos like Etape, this will get you into good enough shape you'll avoid being pulled off the course for being too slow. If you already have some fitness, this plan will see you challenging for silver, or even gold status.
Here's what you'll get in your Gran Fondo Training Plan:
Daily training rides for a 16 week block.
Training session instructions—print them and take on your ride.
Training session notes describing goals and intensity for each session.
What people are saying about the training
Real testimonials, real people. (Source: Amazon.)
Not being terribly well versed on physiological, nutritional and training related terminology has made every other training guide I've ever bought a little indigestible. This guide was exactly what I needed and now its time to get out on the bike and make it happen! Ben, Australia
I had small windows of time combined with a 5 on and 5 off work schedule. Tim built me a customized plan that worked. Even though my longest training ride was 120 k. I was able to finish the 174 km La Marmotte with a respectable time while others around me quit. Training with Velonomad is the best investment I've made in cycling. Don, Canada
Still Not Sure it's Right for You?
That's cool, I understand.
You might be thinking, “I don't need training.”
Or, “How do I know this will work?”
Here are some common questions.
Will I have to sacrifice time with kids/partner/golf course? We are big fans of maintaining marital harmony and golf club handicaps. For this reason this plan is flexible and fits into your commute and daily life. You can shorten sessions as required. In short, you don't require ridiculous hours on the bike.
Will I have to sacrifice feeding the kids, or my clandestine bike budget? We are big fans of being able to feed your kids, and maintaining your clandestine bike slush fund. This Etape du Tour training plan is ridiculously affordable.
How much training will I need? Depending on your starting fitness, you might only need a few months, or you might need more. Race-fit cyclists who already undertake some form of training will probably only need 16 weeks to get them mountain-ready. If you've no experience with training or big mountains, you'll need longer.
Will this be above my head? No. The guide is written in plain English, with everything clearly explained.
What type of cycling training plan is this? This is a heart-rate based plan, so you will not need a power meter. If you have a power meter, you can still use this plan.
Will this be full of stuff I already know? Hard to answer this one, but chances are you are here because there is a gap in your knowledge, which this Etape Training Plan aims to fill.
Will I have to do stuff I don't like? I don't like training sometimes. It's hard, and I'm lazy. But man it works. So, if you like pushing yourself and doing stuff you don't like in order to reach a goal, you'll be fine. If you can't be bothered doing stuff you don't like to reach a goal, give cycling training (and this guide) a miss.
Will I have to do stuff I am not good at? Unless you are super good at climbing already, the answer is yes, I'm afraid.
Are there on-going costs? Nope, one payment and you're done.
When should I start training? This is covered in the training plan.
What if I need help?” If you need help specific to your training, you just need to email me.
How is the training actually provided? After completing checkout, you will receive your training via email as well as having instant access to a membership area. The training is provided in PDF and Word (doc) format and all top tube workouts in Excel format, so that you can reformat things however you'd like.
Awesome. Get your Etape du Tour Training Plan below. It comes in two versions:
PLEASE NOTE: This product is in ebook format only. You will not receive a hard copy.
REFUND POLICY: I’m so confident you will be completely satisfied with your purchase, that you’ll receive your money back, guaranteed, no questions asked. If you decide you want your money back because you can't be bothered training, or you don't have time, there are no refunds sorry. Please only purchase this plan if you have intent to train and work hard!