Sunday, 6 February 2011

Pedalling to the E'Tape, but not on this. More's the pity

In pings an email from my sister: "Mum tells me you're doing the Tour de France." This is patently untrue seeing as a: I have a full time job which doesn't involve cycling and b: I'm not a professional cyclist and it would probably kill me.

This reminds me of the time I found out that my aunt in America had been telling everyone she knew that I was the editor of my newspaper. Thank God she was in America. It could have become very embarrassing.

I have, however, signed up to do the E'Tape. For those who don't know what this is, it is one stage of the Tour de France which the organisers open up to the public each year and which around 10,000 riders attempt to complete.

Previous E'tapes have included high mountain stages featuring iconic climbs like Alpes D'huez and the Col du Tourmalet (last year, to mark the centenary of its inclusion of the tour).

This year's E'Tape goes through the 'Massif Central' from Essoire to St Saint-Flour, and is a 240-mile trip through some picturesque scenery and across a couple of reasonable-sized mountains. It will be the longest E'Tape so far.

For this I have already started my training and also selected a new bike, which isn't the one pictured here.

If, however my pockets were laden with gold coinage I wouldn't hesitate.

This is the Rapha version of the Independent Fabrication XS, in all its carbon and titanium glory and fitted with the best components money can buy. So coveted is this machine that it has twice won Bicycling Magazine’s ‘Best Dream Road Bicycle’ award.

And it performs as good as it looks by all accounts. Guy Andrews, John Bradley and Simon Richardson each rode an XS on an homage to Anquetil’s Crazy Bet, which took them on a 20-hour slog across the Glandon, Galibier, Alp d’Huez and the Tourmalet riding back-to-back sportives in France.

So the bike earned its stripes. This Rapha version adds to the carbon and titanium base with pearl white paint and loads of Rapha details, including a trademark Rapha story on the inside fork.

Maybe if I ever get one I'll try and persuade Rapha to etch in the story of my first ever E'Tape. That should be a laugh.

$6795 plus ashipping for the frame and fork only

More info here

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