The Tour of France! How can people who obsess about cycling not know about the Tour of France, the biggest, hardest sporting spectacle in the whole world!
The Tour of France, also known as Le Tour de France, is a famous multiple stage bicycle road race primarily held in France annually and occasionally going through some countries near by, such as England, Belgium and the Pyrenees of Spain.
The Tour of France was first held in 1903 and after then it was held in summer annually. In total, the race usually lasts for 23 days and there are 21 stages. The average route is over 3500 kilometres, which is about 2200 miles in total. The complete race route varies year from year, but basically, the route is around France for a circle and in recent years, the route always goes through the mountain chains of Pyrenees and the Alps as well as the Eiffel Tower and then finish on the Champs Elysees in the central of Paris.
Basically, there are 20-22 teams each year with 9 cyclists in each team. The route is divided into many stages and usually, the stage is from this town to that town. Every stage is timed to finish and all stage times are compounded together to rank the riders’ scores. The rider with the lowest cumulative finishing times wins the race and he will wear a yellow jersey or a maillot jaune.
At the end of every day, the leader can put on a yellow jersey, the best sprinter will have a green jersey while the best cyclist in the mountain classification, who is called the king of the mountain sometimes, will win a polka dot jersey.
The Tour of France indeed is an exciting race for every cyclist. So, here is the thing: how do I prepare for the race?
1. Know me and know thee, lose none and win all.
Only knowing the enemy and yourself first can we find a way to fight a hundred battles without losing. Therefore, in order to conquer the Tour of France, the first thing we need to do is to learn about its route features, like where to sprint, where to climb, where to speed up. Then, know your cycling ability level and make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. According to the list you make, work out a plan to reinforce your strengths while making up your weaknesses.
Let me take an example: if I am very good at sprinting but I am weak at climbing, my training plan will be more focused on climbing, but I should never give up on sprint training.
2. According to your plan, train in an orderly way. cycling recovery
Usually, a month or two before the big race, its map and a detailed itinerary will be posted on the Tour website as well as some cycling magazines. You can make your plan according to the detailed itinerary. Most of the route is little country lanes and long, straight flat roads as well as the mountain stages.
You need to know what is your power level and where you are in your training. Do a five-minute or 20-minute pure test, step as hard as you can to determine your max power. You can figure out your present level as well as the answer of whether you need to work out harder to push your limit or whether you need more time to recover so as to perform better.
Do you know high-intensity interval training? It is a great way to push your limit step by step, but the best method to improve yourself is getting out of your house and starting racing.
The mountain stage is quite a tricky place where cyclists will change their places all in a sudden. Therefore, practice to attack the climbs repeatedly. You can find a 20-mintute-long climb and do an interval from the base to the top and then do another one from the top. Do it again and again and you will find you have made big progress.
Keep in mind that warming up yourself before the training is necessary to prevent injuries. I know that when some cyclists training, they keep hammering all the time as if in this way they will perform better. No. we need to mix it up and ride really hard to improve yourself.
3. Get enough nutrition.
Our food places an important role in improving us in training as only getting enough nutrition can we have enough power to perform better. Eating and drinking to maximise our cycling performance on and off the bike is a way with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency. Getting sufficient hydrate, vitamin, protein as well as some necessary mineral substances. According to your physical condition and the intensity of your training, eat at the reasonable time, notice food choices and collocations. Not only in the training period, but also in the recovery period does our diet place a vital role to get a better result.
The Tour of France is the hardest cycling race and getting sufficient nutrition is one of the most important parts to conquer it. If you are not sure about what you are going to eat, ask for advice from a cycling expert or a nutritionist.
4. Recover properly!
It goes without saying that our training for the Tour of France is a high-intensity and long-period way. If we don’t recover from the hard training properly, we won’t have much progress and it hurts our physical health as well as our mental health. There are many ways for us to get a proper recovery. Getting a good night sleep is always the first thing I recommend; getting a professional massage or doing some restorative yoga is very beneficial to recover soon; getting some help from high-tech products is also a great way; don’t forget to replenish yourself by some food high in nutrition.
5. Keep an eye on your safety.
Our safety actually should be put in the first place whatever we do. Buy yourself a high-quality helmet and/or other protection tools to stay safe. we all know that the Tour of France is a long way filled with dangers.
If we prepare for the race in a proper way and push our limit, I am not 100 percent sure that you can win the race, but at least you win yourself every day. Work out your plan carefully and stick to it. The Tour of France, here we come!