Toughen up for this summer's big rides with a weekend in the Brecons...

 If you're training for the Etape or any other big ride this summer you might be interested in the training weekends a new outfit, UK Etape Training has to offer. One of the problems for British cyclists is that while your training builds up your fitness levels it is much harder to simulate the full rigour of a European sportive.

 That's where these guys come in, based in the Brecon Beacons, training ground for the likes of Nicole Cooke, Magnus Bäckstedt and Geraint Thomas, they aim to provide a training weekend that gives you a taste of what it is like to ride the Etape or a Gran Fondo, or indeed one of the UK's new breed of tougher sportive rides.

Places are limited to 14 riders and you get two days of training rides, the first ride on the Saturday is the harder: 140Km plus and 2,500m of climbing, that's led by British pro Yanto Barker a man with 10 years of racing in his legs including five outings at the world championships with Team GB. Early in the Saturday ride Yanto will assess whether the groups needs to split in two and if so, when.

Sunday's ride is a more forgiving 1,500m of climbing on a 90Km route. Both rides are followed by a support van with everything you will need including spare wheels, extra layers, snacks, and lunch.

Sports masseurs are on hand after Saturday's ride and you also get two 30 minutes presentations one on riding this year's Etape – the route of which Rob Penn has already ridden and the other on sports nutrition, because as Alberto Contador found out last Saturday if you don't get your feeding strategies right on a big ride it will cost you.

The venture is the brainchild of long distance cyclist, author, and journalist Rob Penn, who told us that they try to tailor what they offer to the particular needs of that weekend's customers:

“There's a box on the booking form asking what event the client is training for. We then speak briefly to all clients before the weekend to get an idea of where they're at with their training schedule.

“Our groups are max. 14 but this will give us 1) a steer on whether (and when) we'll have to split the group on the rides; and 2) the content of the presentations. On this - 'Nutrition' will always feature; the second part of the seminar will change according to the needs of the group - if the clients are all doing the Etape, it will be about the route; if they're all doing different events - it will be about 'rider position analysis', 'tailing training off', 'injury prevention and stretching' or other.

A weekend with UK Etape Training costs £395 which include two nights stay in the Gliffaes Country House Hotel. The first weekend at the end of May is fully booked but places are available for the three June weekends.

6/7 June
13/14 June
20/21 June

To find out more visit the UK Etape Training website: www.uketapetraining.co.uk

(pic © Chris Anderson www.chris-anderson.net)

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.