Tour de France 2021 – Recap

Tour de France LogoAs promised, I will conclude the reporting on my Tour de France 2021 with a recap.

I cycled 14 out of 15 available days and have my own stupidity to blame for having a “rest day”.

While I guess this Tour de France once again showed I’m (still) capable of pushing myself through – and over – my limits, there’s no denying that I will have to take it down a notch.

How much will also depend on my capability to keep enduring the back pain on every climb.

Sure, taking in the mostly overwhelming landscapes, the feeling of tininess when looking around and the stunning views are great “distractors”.

But I keep increasing the number of short breaks to ease the pain, which eventually do not help very much any more either.

On the upside, these enable me to take in more of the views and make pictures too 😂

Anyway, lets get to the recap…

First, this is the overview of the stages – I refer to the individual posts on each of them for more detail.

DateTitleDistance (km)Elevation (m)Speed (kph)
8/12/2021Stage 13Cancelled
8/11/2021Stage 12101.43,03016.5
8/10/2021Stage 11 (Marmotte)184.45,35118.6
8/9/2021Stage 1077.22,31118.1
8/8/2021Stage 9105.23,02019.4
8/7/2021Stage 883.71,99620.2
8/6/2021Stage 7100.82,05322.1
8/5/2021Stage 672.812,22117.3
8/4/2021Stage 535.51,63613.2
8/3/2021Stage 470.02,37516.6
8/2/2021Stage 380.32,01118.7
8/1/2021Stage 289.32,66218.4
7/31/2021Stage 175.02,24718.5

(The data is from Strava, but the links are to Garmin’s registrations, as I closed my Strava account in 2022)

Unlike during last year’s Giro d’Italia, there was a rest day for the wicked this year, even if it really was not.

Also, that Giro was “only” 11 consecutive days and less than 800 kms in total…

This Tour de France 2021 was a bit over 1,200 kms long, with around 35,000 m of elevation difference.

The average stage length was 86.2 kms with 2,477 m of elevation.

The fancy VeloViewer wheel looks like this:

There was one occasion where I finished on a summit, so my “50/50 rule” is slightly off, but the climbing average is somewhere near 6.3%, which is in line with previous Tour de France averages.

And much like during last year’s Giro, when I cycled the Maratona, I’ve (finally) ticked another item off my bucket list: the Marmotte Alps.

Once again, I have nothing to show for it, as it was not the official event, so no fancy shit to put up on my wall of fame, but so be it.

(And also much like last year: if any vinegar-pissing nitwit suggests I actually didn’t cycle the Marmotte, because I didn’t start in Le Bourg-d’Oisans and finish on the Alpe d’Huez, I will hunt you down and throw you off a cliff myself.)

In total during this Tour de France 2021, I spent almost 66 hours on my bike (moving) averaging a whopping 18.4 kph 😎

There’s one additional problem stemming from the hernia induced back trouble that doesn’t help me and that is that my L/R balance is off.

While I’ve worked hard to improve this balance during the endless training hours in my pancake flat backyard, the imbalance gets worse when I’m climbing.

Normal L/R balance
Climbing L/R balance

You can see how a 41 / 59 balance seriously messes up your power output. Roughly speaking, when I generate 300 Watts, 180 is pushed by my right leg and (only) 120 by the left…

As I can and often do get an almost perfect 50 / 50 balance on my TT-bike, this means I “lose” somewhere between 40 and 60 Watts of power when climbing, which is not peanuts.

That doesn’t mean I would be a much better climber if I wouldn’t “leak” power, but it would help a lot if I didn’t.

Also, this doesn’t occur when riding indoor on my Tacx Neo 2T, usually with my spare TT-bike on it, and so the upward angle of the bike while climbing, coupled with the more upright position of myself on the Trek, probably has to do with it as well.

BTW, the (dis)advantage of riding on a TT-bike indoor, is that you have no aero gains, so you actually have to push harder to get to the same speed.

Anyway, if you – rightfully – think I‘m crazy: during my 10th 🎉 ascend of the Alpe d’Huez, I met a Norwegian guy that was doing nothing but Alpe d’Huez climbs all day and all week long.

Many, up to 200 kms and 7, 8 or 9,000 m of elevation a day, varying by ascending and descending “only” the toughest bit up to la Garde, or by not descending the whole way down every time before turning around. *

On the day I met him, he was also dressed in a long sleeved jersey and a long legged bib short. All black.

I kid you not – Amir in all black long…

I’m not sure if that was by mistake – I guess he started early – but it was over 35 degrees and it was not really that cold early in the morning…

Which goes to show just how invaluable it is to have your own team car, with a dedicated and supportive partner.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I do not deserve an angel like Paula 🥰

With that, thank you for reading – feel free to comment or ask anything related to this Tour de France 2021!

PS: There’s a separate “Best of” picture gallery here.

All summit or “in between markers” selfies of the Tour de France 2021

1 thought on “Tour de France 2021 – Recap”

  1. *

    I didn’t know (these numbers), as our encounter was brief, but interesting and entertaining.

    Later, I realized I never asked him his name and after we split, I didn’t see him again. But this morning, I remembered that Strava Local Legends thing and I thought: “If he’s on Strava”…

    And there he was, still going up and down that wretched Alpe…

    If you are on Strava, go have a look – there’s way more to him than I could have imagined when I met him.

    You are one hell of a guy and you have my mad and deepest respect, Amir 👏👏👏

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