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Étape Recce 2010
Rapha's Étape du Tour reconnaissance took place last week. The Étape, the amateur cyclist's chance to fulfill (or shatter) their Tour de France fantasies, will in 2010 celebrate 100 years of the Col du Tourmalet's looming presence in the history of the Grand Boucle. Aside from discovering that the 18th edition of the the Étape will be a truly leg-breaking and unforgettable ride, we consolidated our belief at Rapha that suffering in the mountains should be accompanied by great company and a sufficient amount of food and wine. Why subject yourself to a soggy sandwich and a glass of tap water after punishing yourself over 180 kms?
The pleasure/pain principle proved itself to be wholeheartedly correct. The two really do go hand in hand, as it was proved by our good friend and etapist, Charlie Pearch. After climbing the Tourmalet, the third and final col on this year's route, we descended and stopped for a celebratory lunch at the Auberge la Couquelle.
After a delicious lunch, a few pichets of wine and one too many glasses of armagnac, we continued down the mountain to return to the rental van and head for home. Unfortunately, the effect of gravity, damp tarmac, alcohol and the sound of Chris Rea in his headphones took Charlie to soar like an eagle a bit too literally, losing his flight-path and ending up on the wrong side of his bike. The pleasure/pain experience was wrapped up in five stitches (courtesy of a passing docteur) and a sore pelvis. Mr. Pearch is now fine and will ride the RAAM in a week's time. Good luck to him and everyone riding this year's Étape du Tour. Just make sure the armagnac is consumed after you finish.
Look out for the full Étape feature at Rapha.cc very soon.
Rapha will also be hosting an evening at the Cycle Club discussing the route and giving advice on the ride. More details to follow.
You can follow Charlie Pearch and his team's RAAM exploits here
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