There's a £3500 holiday up for grabs...

Trek, as a sponsor of the Étape du Tour, have announced a competition for buyers of its premium road bike line, the Madone. One lucky customer will win an exclusive trip to ride the Étape with Trek Travel.

Anyone buying a Madone between 13th February and 30th April 2009 can register their details and bike serial number on the Trek website, www.trekbikes.com. The prize is an exclusive 5 day, 4 night luxury level bike trip as offered by Trek Travel on their web site www.trektravel.com

Staying at the impressive Chateau de Massillan, once the hunting lodge of Henry II, the winner will have the opportunity to ride the Étape with full support and feed stations exclusive to Trek Travel riders. You're also assured an early start number: with fewer people in front, you stand the chance of setting a great time, or at least having one!

Trek and Trek Travel will make the trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible; the winner still has to turn the pedals all the way from Montélimar to the top of Mont Ventoux themselves, though...

This prize, at time of going to press, was valued at over £3500.

For more details, visit Trek’s web site at www.trekbikes.com

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.


Mynydd.Mawr [26 posts] 8 years ago

And there's me paid for entry already! I will be riding my Cube Streamer, which, while no Madone, does have a granny ring and so hopefully will see me over the top(s).

Having never attempted anything like this before (my previous longest ride is a mere 70 miles, on my old mtb with slicks), I started the fitness drive just before Christmas with some gentle rides and am now doing two nights a week in the gym (mostly on a cross trainer and the rowing machine, can't stand the exercise bikes they have in there) as well as two rides each weekend (about 30 miles each time). The plan is to ride the 30 mile round trip to / from work three days a week when it gets a bit lighter and to push up the miles at the weekends.

If anyone has the experience, please could you let me know if my training will be enough, or give me some pointers on what would be a good idea preparation wise?

DaSy [766 posts] 8 years ago

Mynydd Mawr, I would say that you will need to add a couple of important elements to your training.

Firstly this is a pretty long ride, so you need to be used to 6 plus hours in the saddle with all that entails. I would aim at a weekend ride (if that is practical) of as long as you can, say starting at 40 miles and aim to up this each week so that you are happy riding 80 - 100 miles in a session. You will also find out what hydration and nutrition works for you in training rather than discover you went wrong on the day.

Ventoux is a long climb, and is going to take a couple of hours possibly, so you need to be used to pushing fairly hard for that long. I found that you can train quite effectively on the flat for these long mountain climbs, you just need to find a course that takes around that time and ride it at a fairly high intensity, choose a big gear and work hard, this is more effective than lots of short sharp hills that we have in this country.

I rode pretty much this course in April and loved every second of it, Provence is a great place to cycle, and the Col de Aires offers an amazing view of the north face of Ventoux, and Ventoux itself is an amazing experience.

Mynydd.Mawr [26 posts] 8 years ago

Thank you for the advice, I'll definitely be trying to fit in one longer day at the weekends and should probably start sticking a few high carbohydrate snacks in the jersey pockets and substituting something a little more sugary for the normal bottle of water.

I know what you mean about the short steep bits, as despite living in the midlands which looks basically flat, it's fairly hard to find more than a mile or two at a time of level ground around here unless you fancy riding on the motorway hard shoulder!

Planning some longer rides in mid Wales soon, from Aberystwyth to Rhyader through the Elan Valley and back across the Aberystwyth mountain road, which I've seen from a car many times and often thought would be nice to ride.

Roll on July, and Vive La France!

dave atkinson [6330 posts] 8 years ago

DaSy's right, there's nowt like the Ventoux round these parts so you do have to get a bit creative with your training! I've ridden the Ventoux as well (look! right there in the pic!) and I'd suggest the main features of the climb are:

1) it's really long; and

2) it's fairly relentless

Much as you might hate the turbos at the gym, what they will allow you to is work against a lot of resistance for an extended period of time, and that's exactly what you need to train your body to do.  The long rides will be more fun and will prepare you for the time you'll need to spend in the saddle, but at the end it's just a big old slog and it'll be good to have some experience of that too  1