The Col Collective


Hi Guys! Hope you are doing well and thanks in advance for your kind attention! It's appreciated I'm currently preparing the Etape du Tour this summer and some other famous climbs as Tourmalet, Galibier and Alpe d'Huez. Unfortunately I'm feeling something like a tendonitis pain on my right thigh. I'm confused because I'm shared between (1) a full training stop which is mainly recommended by most of my friends (but with associated loose of condition) or (2) continue training and perhaps use an infiltration treatment which was not recommended by my friends. What do you think about it? What should I do? Many thanks in advance.

Really sorry to hear about your injury. It’s such a power struggle when your body is saying one thing and your mind the other. The reality is, if you train with an injury then there is a good chance you will do more damage and therefore a short break now could end up being a large break later. If you can I would seek professional advice so that you can get a good understanding of what is going on. One thing that I’ve found absolutely invaluable is a regular stretching routine. You may find that it’s something as simple as your IT band being tight. Taper back on the training and rest if you need to. With big mountains and events coming up a little time now to get it right will have you smiling much more come the summer. I put my daily stretching routine online here, hope it helps!

I am doing the Paris-Roubaix challenge this spring and have the R-SYS SLR on my bike. I am a bit concerned the carbon spokes might not be strong enough on the harder sections so would like to know what you think about using these wheels for this. I'm 90kg and am planning to use 25mm Vittoria Open Pave tyres. Would have loved to use the 27mm but clearance on my bike is not allowing it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you, Grandolfo

The carbon spokes on the R-Sys SLR are absolutely capable of standing the cobbles but the overall design of the wheel makes it not the best for this particular event due to its high stiffness. A set of Ksyrium SLS wheels would bring more compliance, control and comfort, however the tyre for this ride is really the key element. It’s a real shame that you can’t use wider than 25mm as this would bring you a lot of added comfort, grip, safety and ride quality needed on the cobbles.

Thanks for your support, good luck!


Topic: Events, Wheels

I have decided to take upon myself a real challenge of doing a 500km ride in my home country of Israel from the south all the way to the north with a lot of climbing and descending. But my problem is that I don't know where to start when it comes to technique, training, nutrition, and proper tools for this sort of thing. I have never done anything like this before. I have done mostly organized sportive events and for this year after seeing your two videos (the journey from Evian to Nice and your 1000 km journey to Mont Blanc) I was inspired to try something similar myself, but I will need your advice where to start? Thank you! Raz

That’s great to hear Raz!

The main thing that you will need to work on is your endurance (lots of kilometres and hours on the bike) so that you can improve your efficiency. I’ve spent years training this area. Keep it simple, if you plan to ride a long way then you’ll need to train to be able to ride a long way. Gradually build this up over the weeks / months and don’t forget to listen to your body and take regular easy or rest days so that your body recovers from the training load. I’ve always found that consistency is better e.g. lots of good quality rides building up to around 250km. If you can ride this far then a great deal after that will come down to three areas (1) Pacing: Don’t push too hard too soon (2) Nutrition: Make sure you take on regular fuel and fluid throughout (3) Mental Strength: I’ve found this is the most important element. How bad you really want it.

Further to your nutrition, everyone is different. I try to eat organic whole foods wherever possible in every day life (no processed foods). I also don’t eat any animal products. Personally I’ve found this clean way of fuelling has worked really well for me but again we are all different. Concentrate on good quality food that isn’t precessed and you will start in the right way. On the bike I also like to eat proper food (gels and energy bars are ok for shorter more intense activities but are too much for the stomach to handle during long rides like this). I make up things like organic rice wraps, sweet potato slices and cereal, along with coconut water for natural electrolyte replacement. Again, we’re all different so experiment in training to see what works best for you.

Hopefully that helps to get you going. Best of luck!


Hi Mike! Love The Col Collective! I'm training for a team Everesting event next year. I will be 50 in January and although I have been riding for years, I don't really know how to prepare for this. The event itself involves repeats of a 1 mile hill in the south-east, the hill is NOT the steepest but I know after 20 or so repeats it will feel like hell, with at least 45 more repeats to come. Help! Dave

Thanks for the question and very happy to hear you’re a fan of The Col Collective!

Sounds like you have a big challenge planned for next year, just what we like to hear! In terms of preparing for this it’s easy to assume that intervals and intensity work are the key here and while each will serve a purpose it’s important not to overlook your base training and overall aerobic conditioning. In an event like this you’ll need to try and be as consistent in your pacing as possible. It’s unlikely you’ll be redlining it (and if you are you’ll probably want to slow yourself down). The goal will be to remain at a comfortable working level that you hope to sustain throughout. At first this may feel too easy but as fatigue starts to creep up on you the tables will turn at which point it’ll start to become even more of a mental battle.

I’d focus the majority of your training at the intensity level that you’ll be working at during the challenge, to try and build your efficiency at this level. It’s important to try and lay the foundations early in the year (higher volume, lower intensity, longer rides) to build a solid base. As the event approaches start incorporating more specific workouts - are you able to train on the climb or something similar? If you can then I’d start to replicate what you intend on doing on the day. Riding the climb at the exact intensity, seeing how you feel, checking your gearing, understanding how your legs cope with lots of short recovery sections on each downhill. It’s not the same as doing a long endurance ride where you keep a consistent force on your muscles whilst turning the gear over.

Whenever I have a challenge I look at the end goal and then work backwards to put a plan together that replicates as closely as possible what I intend to try and do. You need to get to a point in your training and preparation where you feel confident in your technique, equipment, nutrition strategy as well as your physical and mental wellbeing. Don’t forget that recovery is one of the most important elements of training and that you don’t necessarily have to build up to the full elevation before the event (this could cause too much fatigue). Consistency is the key with your training and if you’re regularly able to build up to rides of 4,000-5,000 metres elevation then this will put you in a very good place. You want to get to the event physically and mentally fresh so that you can pull out all the stops on the day. Keep it simple, take a deep breath, believe in yourself and whatever happens as long as you try your best then you’re always a winner!

I hope that helps a little. Best of luck!


Topic: Climbs, Events, Fitness

Hi Guys! I'm flying from Brazil to France with my brother for the 2015 L'Etape du Tour and we are concerned about our wheelset choice. We heard several times people against carbon clinchers, due to poor braking under wet conditions and heat problems leading to blown tires/tubes and such. What's your opinion on this? Thanks in advance! Edson

Hi Edson,

That is a great question and one that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. You’re right to be concerned about rims potentially overheating and compromised braking performance in the wet. In some cases event organisers have gone to the extent of forbidding the use of carbon clinchers where they feel that the overheating may be an issue. We released our Cosmic Carbone 40 Clincher (CC40C) in Spring 2013 after over two years of extensive development and testing to ensure that both of these criteria were met and that rider safety was in no way an issue whatever the conditions. The CC40C utilises a very light weight internal aluminium rim bed that not only dissipates heat but also ensures that the brake track is perfectly true to prevent a rim that feels like it pulses under braking conditions. We developed several types of high temperature resins (TgMax Technology) to ensure that the CC40C achieves the highest possible resistance to braking heat. Not only was this tested in the lab but we also undertook an extensive analysis out in the field with a 100kg rider descending Mont Ventoux whilst dragging the brakes continuously for over 10km. We were also able to reduce stopping distance in the wet by over two times when compared to other carbon rims.

The unfortunate thing is that on the surface carbon can look the same, whereas underneath the surface it is very, very, different. If you are not confident in the materials and testing that your wheels have under gone (or you can’t find out) then we would seriously consider not using them in very mountainous events like the Etape du Tour. We can’t answer for every manufacture but we can say that if you are using a CC40C then we are confident in the performance of this wheel for mountain riding.

We hope that helps. Best of luck next July in the Alps!


Topic: Events, Wheels

I’ve done several long sportives in the UK and will be attempting the Maratona dles Dolomites for the first time. I’ve ridden once in the Alps before but never the Dolomites, how would you say the climbs compare and is there anything I should consider to prepare me beforehand? Thanks for your help! Peter

If you have a good number of long rides under your belt, including an Alps trip, you will be perfectly prepared to tackle the Dolomites. The Maratona dles Dolomites is one of the most majestic granfondos, and anyone partaking for the first time will, no doubt, be blown-away by the incredible mountain panoramas. Although the physical requirements for taking on the Maratona will not differ too much from an Alpine sportive, the mountains can feel a little bit more intimidating in the Dolomites. The mountains are packed closer together and have characteristically steep sides. You ride closer to the mountains faces here, closer to their peaks, you feel you are tip-toeing around a sleeping giant. On the day of the race, soak in the grandeur, enjoy the views but keep one eye on your speed or heart rate. Too often you can just be sucked along by a peloton, distracted by the views and end up going too fast, too soon. Consistency is king in endurance racing.

The Alps, by comparison, are a vast mountain range, with a more open feel. The climbs themselves are longer and more consistent in gradient. The Dolomites, force the roads to be less lengthy and have a few sharper kicks. Be prepared for some short bursts of powerful climbing to get over the steeper sections. Try some steeper hill repeats to acclimatise the legs in training and get used to being able to change your efforts and cadence to suit a changing gradient climb. Thankfully the roads of the Maratona are impeccable smooth, whereas the Alps generally suffer a rougher surface. So you can look forward to some really rewarding descending for your uphill efforts.

Otherwise, standard mountain sportive preparation applies. A compact chainset and a larger ratio cassette are advised. Make sure your fit position on the bike is correct, bike is in top condition mechanically, set your goal for the race and you have a corresponding training plan to stick to.

A final preparation point may be to find out as much as you can about the Maratona course before you ride it. Knowledge is power. Knowing where and how to apply your efforts or save your energy could be make all the difference.

Good luck and most of all enjoy!

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