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Home / Blog / Alpe d’Huez Assault Part 13: It’s the final countdown

Alpe d’Huez Assault Part 13: It’s the final countdown

With the race now just days away, the girls of Team 33Shake go for one last big push in the park, writes Warren Pole

“I’ve got to train more,” said Erica, “the race is only a week away”. Giovanna and Anya nodded in agreement and it was clear all three were united on this one: more training was clearly A Good Thing.

And it’s certainly an admirable sentiment, not to mention an audacious illustration of just how far all three have come from their humble sporting beginnings just a few months ago where my biggest task was getting them into a training groove. But now, the opposite was needed, because with so little time left before the race the chances of making noticeable fitness gains through training are all but zero. The chances of getting injured or ill however are high.

With this in mind did my best to persuade the trio that rest, foam rollering, good food and stretching were where salvation lay. Come race day, they’d feel the benefits and reap the rewards I explained. They looked at me like I’d just walked out of a space ship.

So a compromise was struck. One last big session. Piling into the team van we stacked in the bikes and bodies and made the short trip over to Richmond Park for a final bike/run affair. Three bike laps of the park would make 33kms (although rather missing the monstrous Alpe d’Huez climbing it did at least neatly mirror race distance), while a 7km out and back run afterwards would also match the race and be a nice final confidence booster.

Better still, there would be a chance to practice a little transition urgency because while fitness couldn’t be improved much, all three have chunks of time to gain in transition as they get used to it.

The bike went perfectly, the girls working hard and smoothly around the park and lapping fastest on the final lap, but as they hopped off their bikes to come down the trail to the ‘transition’ I’d set up by a bench it all went wrong. They were strolling down, chatting away merrily. I didn’t want to be a party pooper, this whole project’s all about enjoyment after all, but I did shout that perhaps after the session might be a better time to chew the fat.

Urgency up, bikes down and, after a quick blast of natural nutrition from 33Shake’s brand new Chia Energy Gel, all three were out on the run in short order and pushing strongly, returning sweaty, exhausted and well pleased with themselves.

“I’m ready for a rest now,” said Anya as she got her breath back. Flaked out on the grass, the other two just nodded wearily, too tired to speak.

Let the taper begin…

Team 33Shake is naturally fuelled to perfection by 33Shake, 100% natural superfood sports nutrition (www.33shake.com), with additional big thanks to Specialized bikes for the Dolces (www.specialized.co.uk), and Polar for the RCX5 GPS watches (www.polar.com).

Exclusive to 220 Triathlon readers, 10% off 33Shake’s all-new Chia Energy Gel with code 220GEL33SHAKE, and 20% off all superfood shakes with code 22033SHAKE.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.