Third de France Wrap Up

Well the full Tour is done and dusted, so how did I fare in the end.

Out of 21 stages…

  • I rode 16 as intended
  • I missed one stage due to being away for the weekend
  • I missed one and a half stages due to fatigue
  • I missed half a stage due to a mechanical
  • I missed half a stage due to illness

I completed 17.5 stages out of a possible 21, or really 19.5 given that I can’t do anything about a mechanical and was always going to miss a stage while away for the the weekend.

The fatigue/illness part of things was almost certainly due to starting this whole thing with a very low level of fitness. I started with a CTL of 29 so the fatigue piled up pretty quickly in the first week, as can been seen with the yellow line below.

Third de France CTL Graph

All my missed or shortened stages came in the second week which took the pressure off a bit (yellow line rises slightly) and then allowed me to get a clean, uninterrupted third week. Having said that, the fact that the French weather resulted in shortened Stages 19 & 20 also helped by reducing the workload towards the end.

In summary, my totals over the course of the event were 30h 43m of riding, covering 869km and a total workload of 1711 TSS, resulting in a CTL increase from 29.2 to 48.0. I’m happy enough with that. I’ve taken a couple of days rest and will get a few days riding in before heading off on holidays to Malaysia and Singapore for ten days - not an ideal followup to a fitness gain, but by the time I’m back I’ll still be fitter than I was when I started this Third de France :)

Third de France, Stage 21

Pros: Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées, 128km - Flat

Me: 42km

All done! The pros had an easy ride into Paris and I had an easy ride out and back to Wellington Point. I’d say they got the better deal, although they did deserve it after the last three weeks. I thought about getting Jacqui to drive alongside me and hand up a glass of champagne but I guess it’s only the winner who does that and I definitely wasn’t doing the same efforts as Egan Bernal. Still, it’s been a solid three weeks and I’m looking forward to a couple of days off the bike now.

Me: 44.5km, 1h 53m, 942 calories, 84 TSS.

Pro: No idea. No-one has uploaded to Strava yet - too busy partying 🤣

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 44.8 - TSB: -18.9

Third de France, Stages 19 & 20

Pros: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Col de l’Iseran, 90km - Mountains, and Albertville to Val Thorens, 59.5km - Mountains

Me: 5m @ 100%, 10m @ 90%, 5m @ 90%, 20m @ 75%, 20m @ 85%

Well it’s been quite the weekend at the Tour de France! Friday’s stage didn’t get off to a great start with Thibaut Pinot, France’s great hope, retiring early with a knee injury sustained a few days prior. He had been in great shape in the Pyrenees and looked ready to shake up the race to Paris.

Mother Nature had other plans for the race anyway and dropped lots of snow and rain on the descent from Col de l’Iseran. So much in fact that water and ice started flowing over the road less than 10km from where the riders were racing the descent at 70km/h plus. In the end, the race organisers had no choice but to cancel the remainder of the stage, especially as video started emerging of mudslides blocking part of the route as well.

Saturday’s stage was also affected, with mudslides blocking the road down from Cormet de Roselend, leading to that being cut from the stage and a short 60km being all that was left. 25km on the flat to warm-up, then the 33km ascent up to the finish at Val Thorens.

As for me, well I got sidetracked on Saturday and didn’t leave myself enough time to ride my version of Stage 19, so I took advantage of the real life Tour chaos and just added an extra interval to make a combined Stage 19 & 20, riding that today instead.

Most of the riders aren’t going full gas on the longer climbs as they are out of overall contention, so my final intervals weren’t as intense as they might have been. It’s probably just as well, as Friday’s interval session gave my legs a good going over.

All the hard work is now done, and all that remains is an easy ride tomorrow to finish Stage 21.

Me: 55.5km, 1h 38m, 1034 calories, 102 TSS.

Pro: 175.1km, 5j 38m, 6195 calories, 405 TSS

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 47.1 - TSB: -15.1

Third de France, Stage 18

Pros: Embrun to Valloire, 208km - Mountains

Me: 68km, 5m/15m/20m/20m SST

Stunning stage last night, starting at Embrun and then running through the Ubaye valley to Col de Vars, which is the first ever mountain climb I did, with Kevin, back in 2010. Some odd behaviour from Movistar, riding on the Izouard and taking a few minutes out of the gap to their own teammate, Quintana, who ended up winning the stage.

If they’d let other teams ride Quintana could have ended up right in the mix over the last two mountain stages, but now he’s two minutes behind the favourites with no chance of getting any more significant time back.

For me, I opted to do the ride indoors as it was pretty much all intervals. Tough ride in the end. y legs felt tired at the stage, so you can see how the longer “easy” rides can be used to sap the legs a bit before the mountains. The final interval was hard going and left me thinking I should have adopted the pros technique of taking it easy most of the climbs. Looking at a few Strava files, it seems they were only riding at around 70-75% instead of the 90% I set myself.

Might try that tomorrow if they take it easy again tonight!

Me: 55.6km, 1h 32m, 1078 calories, 111 TSS.

Pro: 216.4km, 6h 5m, 5127 calories, 326 TSS

Weight: 91.7kg - CTL: 46.9 - TSB: -17.4

Reflections from Spain

The author returns from a few weeks travelling around Spain and gives his opinions on Spain through his economist’s eyes.

I must admit that I’ve commonly regarded Spain as a bit of a basket case. It suffered a similar fate to Ireland in the GFC with a big housing bust, though, unlike Ireland, it didn’t have a large tech sector and dodgy international finance dealings to keep things ticking over. I always had the impression in my youth that it was on the verge of collapse, though this opinion was never based on extensive research! 😄

Not so says Mr. Caplan - while things are not all rosy, he reckons there is massive untapped potential, particularly if immigration is encouraged from the half a billion Spanish speakers worldwide.

After I visit a new country, Tyler Cowen always asks me, “Are you long or short?” In terms of potential, I’m very long on Spain. The trinity of “deregulate immigration, employment, and housing” is vital in almost every country, but this formula would do more for Spain than nearly any other country. Wise policy would make Spain the biggest economy in Europe in twenty years flat.

Inside Amazon

An interesting counterpoint to the undercover “stings” which support the narrative that Amazon exploits its workers, written by an actual Amazon warehouse worker.

While warehouse work doesn’t sound particularly appealing or financially rewarding to your average white-collar worker, he makes the point that Amazon’s are pretty decent warehouses to work at and the pay is quite a bit better than other jobs on offer. Sure, $15/hr isn’t much, but it’s 36% better than $11/hr elsewhere.

Bloodworth says he worked 10-and-a-half-hour days at Amazon, which sounds pretty brutal. Maybe they do things differently in the UK, but my Amazon sortation center is very flexible about the hours it offers. When I was applying for the job online, Amazon allowed me to create a schedule tailored to my needs. They asked me how many hours a week I’d like to work, and which days of the week suited me best. They asked if I preferred to work evenings, overnight, early mornings, days. After compiling this info, they gave me a shift that fits me like a glove. I work four and a half hours a day, five days a week. My shift begins at 6:30 am and ends at 11 am. But, when I need a bit more money, I can go to work at 5 am and pick up an extra 90 minutes of work pretty much whenever I want. Many of my co-workers add hours to their days whenever they are in need of a little extra cash, and we can take voluntary unpaid time off just about whenever we like.

Third de France, Stage 17

Pros: Pont du Gard to Gap, 200km Hilly

Me: 68km, 5m SST

One small interval today and then cruise along for the remainder. That’s the last of the flat days over with - it’s now into the Alps for the pros, which means lots of longer intervals for me. 2h 45m of sub-threshold intervals over the next 3 days - my legs will be toast!

Me: 67.1km, 2h 37m, 1467 calories, 136 TSS.

Pro: 208km, 5h 5m, 3355 calories, 180 TSS

Weight: 91.7kg - CTL: 45.3 - TSB: -11.5

Third de France, Stage 16

Pros: Nîmes to Nîmes, 177km - Flat

Me: 59km

Pretty straightforward stage today. No climbs but the pros, so no intervals for me. Just ride along for 59km.

Nice ride in a balmy 25C - gotta love a Brisbane Winter. Back on my old bike while I get the broken spoke fixed and definitely noticed the difference. Wheels are about 350g heavier and noticeably slower to spin up, though once they’re going they’re great.

Power and HR were both up, so not sure whether that was due to legs feeling good after a few days’ rest or just a bit of dehydration after not drinking much water all day. Will find out tomorrow with another pretty flat stage before all the action kicks off on Friday.

Me: 59.8km, 2h 21m, 1330 calories, 129 TSS.

Pro: 181.6km, 4h 20m, 3597 calories, 194 TSS

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 43.1 - TSB: -5.3

Second Rest Day

The second week of the Tour ended up being a bit of a light week, with one rest day, another Stage missed due to being away and two short stages due to a broken spoke and risk of getting sick. So be it, life gets in the way, and the risk of getting sick is I’m sure partly due to starting this Tour at such a low fitness level.

As you can see from my CTL graph for the second week, fitness (blue) has remained fairly constant and tiredness has improved somewhat. Probably just as well, as the final week is going to be really tough.

Week 2 CTL

Totals for the 15 stages so far: 20h 40m, 558.8km, 1149 TSS

Third de France, Stage 15

Pros: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis, 185 km - Mountain

Me: 62km, 10m/15m/15m/15m SST

Great stage last night and well worth staying up for. Lots of attacking and all the top guys cracked at various stages, with the exception of Thibaut Pinot. Alaphilippe showed that the strain is getting to him too, so it’s all down to the Alps later this week with five riders in with a realistic chance. If Pinot wins, he’ll be the first French winner since 1985 and France will erupt! Would love to see it.

After all that excitement, my session was a damp squib. J woke up after the weekend feeling sick and I was feeling a bit run down too. However, felt a bit better after lunch and decided to go ahead with the session, but was starting to feel it again after the second interval so opted to cut things short. 55 mins at sub-threshold takes a chunk out of me, so didn’t want to push myself over the edge into full sickness.

The last week has been a bit hit and miss - some I can’t do anything about like breaking a spoke or being away for the weekend - but tomorrow’s a rest day, so hopefully I’ll feel better and be good to go without further interruptions for the final week.

Me: 28.2km, 48m, 554 calories, 50 TSS.

Pro: 26.9km, 4h 47m

Weight: 92.4kg - CTL: 42.0 - TSB: -9.8