By Brett Ratner
Last year, we had the pleasure of meeting and riding with London-based cyclist and writer Stephen Ferns.
Ferns was in town visiting, and wanted to get a few final miles in before tackling the 2015 edition of L'Etape du Tour, a challenge ride that pits participants against some of the Tour de France's toughest climbs. We took him up Sheridan road, hopped in a couple of fast pace lines, posed in front of the picturesque Baha'i Temple, and headed back into the city.
Afterwards, he was kind enough to share his experiences in a Chainlink article.
Unfortunately, L'Etape proved a little too brutal, which Ferns shared with us in an email the following week.
"I was fine for about four hours then went to pieces," Ferns said. "I missed the cut at the 80k mark. I prepared diligently in every way, so it's a huge disappointment. I could speculate as to the reasons but it won't change the outcome. Tough to spend yesterday evening surrounded by happy finishers."
Fast forward a year, and we received a very different email from Ferns, who had another go at the 2016 edition.
"Hope all is well in the Windy City," Ferns said. "By some miracle I actually managed to complete this year's L'Etape du Tour. They took out one of the Cat 1 climbs for fear of landslides. Just as well, as it turned out. On the Col de Joux Plane it was 37 degrees (Celsius) and the last 6k were at 9% average gradient."
Congratulations, Stephen! And please look us up the next time you're in Chicago!