How to stay awake for the Tour de France

Okay so it’s cooling down (rapidly) in most of Australia but we are warming up to the Tour de France. From July 7th to July 29 all sporting eyes will be off Russia and firmly on France. 

2018 marks the 105th Tour of endurance and the numbers are exciting! 

  • 3,329 km 
  • 21 stages
  • 176 riders
  • 22 teams 

Not all will finish, not every kilometre will be clocked by some. So how about you? Are you ready for the race of endurance, because in the land down under the Tour is a unique marathon of its own. 

Twenty-one nights propping your eyelids open with toothpicks then, somehow, getting through a workday. 

So what is the trick to staying awake to see the Le Tour through? 

For inspiration we’ve turned to the tour riders themselves to get some tips on what they do to go the distance. 

To keep up with the pros, you need to think and act like a pro. Here is how we suggest scheduling your evening to get you to the end of each stage, then making the most of your sleep time before work, so you can back up night after night! 

  1. Rest well, so have a 15 to 20 minute nap or zone out for a while in the early afternoon or evening. 
  1. A few hours before the race stage footage begins wake up and prepare. Have a large and nutritious meal and start hydrating with water (or a hot cup of tea). 
  1. Warm up with some highlights of previous Tour de France races while doing some exercise. Set up your trainer in the middle of the lounge and go for a 30 minute pedal or use Zwift to get your blood pumping and your brain oxygenised. 
  1. Keep water on you at all times and drink frequently. 
  1. Make your toilet breaks super fast and well timed so you can keep up with everyone else. 
  1. Take it easy when the peloton is relaxed. No need to burn energy if no one else is. Use this coasting time to have small snacks, chat with friends and reserve some energy for that final push at the end. 
  1. Take your mind off the kilometres. Thinking about how far you still have to go is sure to break your concentration and motivation. To help keep your brain active during those longer stretches do something else, preferably offline – having a computer and a TV (or a TV and a phone) on the go at the same time disrupts your sleep and ability to pay attention. Try something else like learning a language, playing the guitar, doing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, planning out your meals for the week, writing a shopping list, knitting…something you can do quietly and put down quickly when someone ‘turns up the screw’. 
  1. Eat again (you might want to skip this one) 
  1. Have a cool bath (you might prefer warm water with some drops of lavender). A darkened room works best to wind down for sleep. 
  1. Have a massage – wake up your partner and insist on a massage! They won’t mind… 
  1. Fall asleep. 
  1. Wake up refreshed (see, that lavender was a great idea). 

If you have annual leave you are not using for anything else (like an actual trip to France) then now is a good time to take a well earned break, maybe go down the coast or into the hills for some leisurely riding in the fresh air and spend your evenings tucked up at night under the covers to watch the elite riders do what they do best. 

If you can’t get out of work then endurance is key. 

If you just can’t manage the whole tour then pick your stages carefully or plan for two big binge nights a week. Have your not to be missed sessions highlighted on your calendar, like Alpe d’Huez for example. Get a good night sleep the night before and arrange with your boss to come in a bit later or work from home the day after. 

Just because we have a time difference penalty doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the best cycling of the year. 

Waking up fresh as a daisy and ready for your own ride after a big stage? That’s freedom!

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