Posted in L'ETAPE DU TOUR on October 27, 2010 by Administrator
L'ETAPE DU TOUR - DOUBLE TROUBLE
Decisions, decisions, but it’s all really simple…just ride – anywhere, anytime! Although this is my 5th L’Etape du Tour Recon film with Michael Cotty, we’ve never had an affiliation with the event organization. It’s not about promoting the Etape, it’s about being an additional information resource for intrepid riders taking on the challenge of following in the tire tracks of the Pros. Along with a packed hour or more of riding tips and route insights, I always like to add my own version of cycling entertainment for the living room or turbo trainer session. In essence, this is what makes up a Cyclefilm Reconnaissance.
Over the years, Mike and I have developed a productive friendship based on our shared love for the sport. These recon films are as much influenced by my vision for Cyclefilm as they are shaped by Mike’s riding style and unique commentary - consisting of effortlessly charging up steep climbs while delivering inspiring monologues. Due to tight budgets that only allow for a maximum of 1-2 days filming on location, we have adopted the phrase “Fast & Furious” and try to instill the mantra “No Retakes, No Rehearsals”. Mike insists that this is what makes these productions so special, while I could always do with a few more angles and camera moves. C’est la vie! Our recon trips run at full throttle from the moment we leave home, followed by launching the afterburner for an additional 4 weeks of editing, designing and social marketing to deliver the final product.
So, without any further delay, here is my verbal account of this years’ L’Etape Recon with partner in crime Michael Cotty from Cannondale, Chris and Helen Balfour from Pyractif Cycling Holidays helping with logistics, and production sponsor Prendas Ciclismo.
Since the L’Etape organization decided to stage two events, people have been asking me: “What route is better?” I will be brutally honest and say if you are intrigued by the Galibier/Alpe’d Huez stage, why not go for a home-run and do the Marmotte Sportive the week before on July 2nd, 2011. In my opinion, the Marmotte is the quintessential road ride – a natural loop, which starts at the bottom of the Alpe, takes you over the Glandon, Telegraphe, Galibier and finishes after 174km on top of the magic 21-bend ascend. Chapeau!
I hate to be talking down the Alpe d’Huez Etape, but when quality choice is in such abundance, why settle for less? On the other hand, if you’re after a physically manageable mass participation event with all the bells and whistles that the L’Etape du Tour offers, you really can’t say anything bad about the majestic ascend of Telegraphe/Galibier, the 45km beauty of a descend to Bourg and the final glorious charge along a spectator lined 14km of Alpe d’Huez. How can you not feel like one of the ‘Giants of the Road’ as you put in your final effort and sprint to the line? 109km is certainly doable, even on a tight riding schedule, with family and work commitments. By all means, go for it.
When I first saw the route profile of the Massif Central stage between Issoire and Saint-Flour, I really wasn’t impressed. 208km of rolling roads over lesser-known climbs is not exactly inspiring in the classic sense of the Tour de France. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Spending a clear autumn day filming/cycling in the Massif Central was one of my highlights of this year. Rarely have I seen so much variety packed into 208km. I’d like to call it your long Sunday ride from heaven. It starts with wide open, gentle rolling roads out of Issoire, morphs into a romantic canyon road through the Gorges de l’Alangnon before sloping upwards over a couple of plateaus and starting the first proper climb of the Col de Pas de Peyrol (Puy de Mary). It really looks like a climb out of a fairy tale as it traces along an idyllic valley and traverses into a kind of balcony road to open up magnificent views over the surrounding peaks. A 5-star worthy descent gets you to the bottom of the Col du Perthus climb, which will separate the men from the boys. A persistent 10% gradient with stretches at 15% will demand the most from your legs and lungs on this route. This is followed by 3 more medium length and moderately sloped climbs to set you up for the 3rd act.
The final 50km snake through narrow country lanes with a final dip down to the Barrage de Grandval lake with the imposing ruin of the Château d'Alleuze standing guard. Don’t underestimate the effort it takes to climb back out of the valley and over the Plateau de la Chaumette. With over 160km and 3,000m of climbing in your legs at this point, even the smallest incline will be painful. Stay mentally prepared for what will feel like a very long ride to the finish in Saint-Flour. The terrain stays demanding right to the end with false flats, head wind and tight turns on narrow, bumpy roads. After 207km, the only thing separating you from glory is a final 1km ascend to the cliff perched upper village (ville haute) of Saint-Flour. As we were going along the final kilometer, I swear I could already hear hundreds of spectators cheering and clapping until the last Etape rider crosses the finish line. This is the Etape you want to ride. This is the experience you want to call your own. This is cycling - Tour de France style!
I now face the task of putting these words into film as I start editing 2 days of recon footage from the Alps and the Massif Central. I do regret not spending more time on location but money rules the world and dictates how much time I can put into this. If you like what you see, hear and read, then please pick up a DVD from our Shop, or get a Digital Download from our EJunkie DDL Store and support Cyclefilm. If you would like to associate your business, brand or product with future productions, please get in touch to find out how we can work together and continue to bring inspiring and informative films to the bicycle loving public.
Tags: cycling, etapedutour
Posted in ROAD CYCLING on October 24, 2010 by Administrator
BLING FROM EUROBIKE
This was my 4th trip to Eurobike in 5 years and this show just keeps getting bigger. 14 Zeppelin hangars full of bike bling from all over the world should satisfy even the most discerning bicycle fanatic. Enjoy my 100 snaps from the 2010 show. Will I see you there next year? Let me know your plans. Did I mention the German beer? Now we're talking, right! Auf Wiedersehen...
Tags: cycling, tradeshow, eurobike
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