During my recent trip to Europe I completed the 2015 L’Etape Du Tour. L’Etape is an annual event run by the Tour De France organiser ASO and follows one of the years routes a few days before the race. This year the event followed the Stage 19 route from Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to La Toussuire; a 142km climbing feast (4,600m elevation gained!).
Starting at 7am and heading straight into the first 17km climb it was immediately apparent how tough this was going to be; 63km of climbing, 45km of descending and 34km of rolling “flat” plus the French summer weather. Luckily there were 14,000 other cyclists to keep me company.
Throughout the ride I felt like I was constantly climbing and there was no respite on the descents with these being super technical, hitting 80km/hr regularly. I pushed myself hard from the start and was pretty spent by the time I hit the bottom of the last climb. Luckily the thought of finishing and the adrenaline lift from the spectators lining the road on the last climb got me to the finish line in just under 6hrs 30mins.
Diabetes wise I was really happy with how the day panned out. Waiting at the start line was a bit of a balancing act between eating and Bolus dosing to keep my BSL at a good pre-ride level. Once I got started my Basal rate (elevated and then decreasing during the ride) allowed me to ride and eat as required and enjoy the great hospitality put on at the main aid stations. Finishing the event my BSL were also stable enough for me to tuck straight into some pasta and ice cream and then have a short nap on the grass in the sun!
What a great event! The Tour de France vibe on a pre-race stage gave me such a buzz and climbing over 4,500m in a single ride was a massive achievement. For the record, Vincenzo Nibali won Stage 19 of the Tour in 4hrs and 30mins.