My 2016 Cycling Challenge

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Col du Galibier (1)
Happy 2016 !

This blog started eleven years ago today, when I challenged my non-cycling self to bike 10,000 kilometres in 2005. It almost killed me, but I succeeded on Christmas Day, without ever riding more than 80 kms, and usually just 30 or so per ride.

Success! Christmas 2005:

Luckily, I am still fully addicted to cycling, especially uphill. These days I don’t take my Challenge quite as seriously as I did a decade ago. It is now more just the beginning of a plan for the year. Still, I seem to get motivated by New Year Resolutions.

Here are my Ten Favourite Rides from 2015. And here is my assessment of last year versus my 2015 Cycling Challenge.

Anyway, here is my 2016 Cycling Challenge:

Cycle 100 Different Cols

New stuff, old stuff. Just enjoy the ride. I try never to forget to re-visit the great stuff – especially when it’s close to home. Of course, it counts if I reach a col on cross country skis.

A Few Big Rides in Austria

I began learning Italian exactly two years ago today, and am at a level where I can happily have conversations, read books, etc. It has hugely increased my enjoyment of cycling in Italy.

So now I have begun learning some German with an eye on cycling in Austria (and of course Switzerland). I have some Austrian ideas such as Kitzbühel, Großglockner, Timmelsjoch, etc. We’ll see.

I could certainly use some more Austria cow photos:

Find 20 “Good” New Climbs

I am always making lists and still have plenty of ideas – especially off the beaten track. But suggestions always welcome! 🙂

Below: Col de la Bâthie was a wonderful surprise in 2015.

Continue searching for high unpaved “roads.”

Without a doubt the highlight of my last couple of years has been the switch to more high alps mountain biking. I would especially like to focus on some of the official National Swiss Mountain Bike routes that include some very interesting looking passes in eastern Switzerland.

Also, I hope to continue exploring the old military roads all along the French / Italian Alps border. I will certainly have another look at the amazing Strada dell’Assietta, approaching it from a different direction.

Strada Militare Colle delle Finestre meets Strada dell'Assietta

Strada Militare Colle delle Finestre meets Strada dell’Assietta

A Few Adventures with Doreen

My wife is not quite the cycling fanatic that I am. But she has succeeded in climbing many of the most famous climbs in the Alps. I am certain we can think up a few good bike adventures for 2016.

Above Grosse Scheidegg:

A few more rides with friends

I like riding alone. I often dash off somewhere at the last second and like to ride at my own pace (slow). But riding with good friends is always fun.

Occasionally they even let me force them to pose for a tripod photo: 🙂

Final Thoughts

Anyone that knows me understands that I am not a racer. I cycle slowly, stop frequently for photos. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some tough challenges. And I am addicted to trying to get high anywhere in the Alps. 2015 was a great year on the bike. I’m hoping for more of the same in 2016.

Happy New Year. Cheers, cin cin, santé, and of course prost!

A Galibier Beer

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

15 Comments

  1. Fantastic post and blog, Will, as always. Am back in Geneva for work in March, and again will be looking for tips on what cols are rideable then! I will be riding up then even slower than you, but getting equal pleasure from it. Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Will, I wish you all the best for 2016. It’s very interesting to read your postings about your adventures in your blog. Thank you very mutch, and keep going!

  3. Have a great year Will. I also look forward to reading more blogposts. Heading over from Oz for 7 weeks in July/Aug so would be great to cross paths somewhere.

  4. Have another great year in the saddle in 2016 again Will and looking forward to reading about the highlights. A couple of suggestions for your Austrian adventure would be Pitztal and Kaunertal, both not too far from Timmelsjoch which is an absolute must (particularly from the south from Italy).

  5. Great challenge, Will!
    My tip to Austria: Try A/I border round via Passo Stalle and Klammljoch in Rieserfernergruppe. That’s (quite tricky) rideable on road bike, better on cross bike and very nice. Don’t miss spectacular Kaunertal too.

  6. Will. A Happy New Year. Many thanks for the blog and tweets, as always inspiring and motivating. I like your goals especially the 100 different cols. I will see if I can match that down here. Also more riding with my wife now she has her new Trek Silique. Hopefully the weather for the Ventoux night sessions in 2017 will be better and we can meet up.

  7. Happy New Year, Will, and thanks for all the entertain in 2015. You know I appreciate everything that you do, so can I suggest one more goal for you in 2016? Use your car less and use trains to get to the start and end of your rides more often. That’s not so practical in France (unfortunately), but there is no reason not to when riding in German-speaking Switzerland. It also frees you from the burden or having to start and end rides in the same place. Happy riding!

    • Hi Chris, I take your point. I’ve been thinking about some multi day trips on the Swiss National Mtb routes that could do this. Looks like some huge stuff in Eastern Switzerland

  8. Thanks for inspiring us for another year, Will. Love the route reports, the photos and the humour. Keep up the good work and all the best for your 2016 Challenge. Look forward to reading your posts and hope to see you on the road.

  9. Wolfgang Emmerich on

    Hi Will,at this Moment I look your Fotos and read your experience reports first time.
    It´s fantastic,thank you for Motivation.
    Time to lift my ass and following the adventures
    Greetings from Germany and the best for you

  10. Michelle Soar on

    Hi Will, I love following your rides. Have you ridden Kunkels Pass from Pfafers in Switzerland. My partner and I did it on road bikes a few years ago . It’s a beautiful paved road to a restaurant at the top. We were planning to turn around and return the same way when we saw other roadies continue down to Tamins which we though was unpaved. On questioning they said yes it was for a short while through rock tunnels with windows to the valley below, but was paved lower down. It was great but steep through the unpaved. I am sure you would like it!
    Cheers
    Michelle
    Adelaide, Australia

  11. Love the article and especially the photos. My wife and I (yes she’s a real cycling enthusiastic too) are absolutely hooked on high alps mountain biking mainly because of the isolation and often breathtaking views. Thanks and good cycling.

  12. OH my God Will, I f*ck*ng love your blog. I envy you so much, Beer and Cycling….
    May be you should come to Spain, we have very good mountains here, and very good Beer.
    I am going to write you an email.
    See you.

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