Team Igero #chasethestage Tour de France

Tour de France fever has hit us hard, so hard that we’re packing our bags and digging out passports to go and #chasethestage for the final few days. Taking on the Igero Challenge to tackle some of the most epic and challenging cols on the tour are 3 plucky cyclists Ben, Matt, Lauren and ‘Race Crew Rachel’ who will be manning the camper-van, camera and camaraderie.

Following the tour from stage 16 until the end our team of Igero pedal power will be picking and choosing which ambitious ascents to tackle as they follow on behind the pros as they make their way to Paris. Our team of ‘wannabe Wiggos’ consists of…

Ben

33 and from Poole, Ben is not someone to put his feet up and relax! He’s currently in training for Ironman Wales (good luck boyo!) and when he’s not clocking up the miles on his bike he works for the RNLI. Ben’s an old hand at endurance distances having done Land’s End to John O’Groats, Sevenoakes to Slovenia and Bournemouth to Barcelona, all the while raising money for charity on his well travelled Planet X Pro Carbon.

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Lauren

More at home in a different type of saddle Lauren is the newbie in the crew. Keen horse rider, runner and all round fitness fanatic Lauren has been cycling for just over a year. Game for a challenge she’s clipping into her cleats and going to give the French terrain all she’s got on her trusty steed a Cannondale Synapse. You go girl!

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Matt is a real life action man. Warrant Officer 2 in the British Army he’s no stranger to hard work and physical challenges. As if the day job wasn’t hard enough, glutton for punishment Matt is a regular Ironman competitor and endurance distance triathlete & runner. Tackling Le Tour with this Pinarello Dogma we salute you sir!

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4th and arguably the most important member of the team is Rachel aka ‘Race Crew Rach’. Behind the wheel of the trusty camper-van that will be ferrying the team round the Alps, keen runner Rach will be making sure the team are hydrated and will be on hand when things get too hard to handle (those ascents take no prisoners!!!). Documenting the trip with the her top notch photography skills, topping up her tan, and quite possible sample some of the local vino, it’s a hard life hey Rach?

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If you’re heading to France yourselves keep a look out for Team Igero in their black and white team tops, if you’re following the tour from the safety of the sofa keep up to date with their progress on our facebook page and below where we will be posting daily updates.

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#chasethestage Day 1

First Cols attacked by Matt and Ben yesterday, they covered 72 miles in order to catch up to Le Tour, good effort lads! They climbed a whopping 5,900 feet in the process, taking on Col De Justice. Matt had on his trusty Oakley Jawbreakers and Ben tried out some special Tour De France Oakley Radars, well when in Rome ‘n all that! The boys reported back that both those shades performed like yellow jersey winners, so we’ll take that as a thumbs up!

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#chasethestage Day 2

Heading further into the Alps the team are reporting back that the scenery is both “breathtaking and flipping scary as hairpin bends in a big ol’ motor home has it’s moments“. Some one get ‘Race Crew Rach’ a stiff drink, sounds like she needs it! Ben rode 55 miles of Stage 18 tackling Col de la Croix de Feux, climbing an epic 9,293 feet. From the looks of the picture he’s pretty chuffed with that effort.

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#chasethestage Day 3

Things are hotting up in The Alps, and our team have been joined by an incredible number of fellow TDF enthusiasts and camper vans which are now lining the whole route. TDF Fever is in full swing!!! Matt took on Col de Glandon today at 1,924 meters he was getting a taste of what the big boys will be tackling on Saturday. Just warming the route up for them hey Matty on your ex-Team Sky bike? Not much news back from our newbie Lauren yet….worried she may have got a puncture!

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#chasethestage Day 4

Both boys were up early to take on a Col before breakfast, climbing for over 2 hours in the searing heat. Check out the Garmin stats, the pros will be tackling this tomorrow. Highlights of the trip so far have been cycling past the huge dam and lake on the climb to Croix de Feux and the switchbacks in the trees to Valence. Unfortunately Lauren has encountered some serious bike issues and so she’s hung up her cleats and gone to join ‘Race Crew Rach’ for the rest of the trip, any excuse to crack open the rose girls we’re onto you!

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#chasethestage Day 5

Another day, anther col and then for a change a cable car! The team hitched the cable car up the mountain and then trekked a further 4k to watch the pros climb Col de Glandon. Epic selfie opportunities including one with the local gendarme! Can you spot the yellow jersey wearing Chris Froome? Good effort team!

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#chasethestage Day 6

Immense storm last night!!!! A little unplanned 4×4 action with the camper van this morning as the team skidded down off the landslide ridden mountain and drove 450 miles north to the outskirts of Reims, ready for a short train journey into Paris and the final stage!

We managed to catch up with ‘Race Crew Rach’ and here’s what she had to say over email…

We are fixed in the most gorgeous spot high in the Alps.  We’re an unbelievable 1600 meters part the way up a mountain, which means we’ve been living at an altitude greater than the highest peak in Britain! Madness!

Our week so far has been FULL of climbing with epic switchbacks and seriously sketchy descents.  Much of the % inclines & declines have been into double figures and not just for a few hundred meters like you might find in GB – these routes go on and on and on!! A total adrenaline hit that no caffeine drink could EVER reach.

As such though our brave cycling newbie has been, rightly, staying put and doing her phyz in other ways.  Its no place to discover your courage levels aren’t as high as you initially anticipated.  No shame in that though, we’ve seen seasoned cyclists battered, broken and crying at the summit or foot of a Col.  We’re about enjoying our sport and encouraging participation, not throwing the bike to the back of the garage never to be pulled out again!  C’est la vie Lauren.

Our Oakley sports glasses we’ve been testing have been pushed and punished along the route.  Each ones performance has been reviewed and discussed over du vin & fromage. The Prizm road lenses are coming out on top as you’d expect really, those years of research & perfection haven’t been in vain from those Mad Scientists at One Icon.

The team hit the tour viewing BIG TIME yesterday when we yomped up to the Col de Glandon to see the Pro’s on Stage 18. Catergorized as HC by the dudes that plan this race, its means its beyond categorization – it’s that bonkers! (Note the boys have climbed this monster earlier in our trip ;-0 ) Pearched high up on a great vantage point, we pitched our enormous Union Flag and Team Sky flag – it’s so large we had the official TDF Photographers taking pics of it!  Raging heat ‘welcomed’ the Pro’s and the hillside was pulsating in anticipation of those first riders into view.  Huge shouts of “ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ!!!” greeted them and encouraged their climb weary legs to the very summit.  The relief awaiting once over the top was an epic descent which had the riders partly preparing for as they climbed the final meters by shoving the ‘standard’ attire of a newspaper down their chest to help with the bone chilling wind that speeds of around 70-80kph!

Today, the Tour comes straight past our camp-site as part of their descent from Col de la Croix de Fer, another HC rated climb.  We’ll be in situ for that in our Igero supporting kit.  Tomorrow’s stage is also now coming past our camp-site thanks to the last minute re-planning that’s been needed by the race organisers due to a landslide on the original route. Unfortunately we won’t see it as we’ve got an enormous drive off this beautiful mountain (before the road closes) and up to Reims in order to hit Paris on Sunday for the ultimate finale…

A bien tout!

 

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#chasethestage Day 7

We’re in PARIS! Soaking wet but enjoying the atmosphere at the 1k marker point. Huge congrats to Froome for an epic win, we’ll back be next year to do it all again!

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