My 2009 Cycling Challenge


Happy New Year!

Col du Galibier

It’s 2009 and time for my 5th annual cycling challenge! 2008 was the biggest cycling year of my life. I don’t think I’ll even attempt to top it.

But as always I will be searching for new climbing adventures, good photos, and some fun.

2005: Cycle 10,000 kms
2006: 30 Big Climbs
2007: 160,000 metres vertical ascent
2008: 160,000 metres vertical ascent

Here is my 2009 Cycling Challenge:

#1 – Climb 100 Different Cols

Furka Pass

Climb at least 100 different Cols (mountain passes) or other big climbs.*

– At least 15 Cols over 2000 metres
– At least 30 new climbs
– Repeat climbs won’t count, but the other side of big climbs is fine.

Along with the usual big climbs near me, I hope to spend a little more time exploring the many great climbs in central Switzerland, as well as a visit to the Dolomites in Italy.

* For example, Alpe d’Huez isn’t a pass but it would count.
#2 – Complete the Maratona dles Dolomites

Alpe d'Huez

In November, Martin and I had our names drawn to compete in the Maratona dles Dolomites in Italy, July 2009.

This is a pretty epic amateur cyclosportive. I have never cycled in the Dolomites before and I am VERY excited, if a bit nervous. Luckily, it’s the same weekend as La Marmotte, so I won’t need to do that again. 😉

I’ll write a review of the course soon.

#3 – Lose 7 – 10 pounds

Abstract Ventoux

Lose 7 – 10 pounds by April 30th and keep it off until year end.

In 2008, I had a weight challenge to lose 13 pounds and keep it off. Well, I lost the 13 pounds by June 30th, but have since regained 6 pounds. Failure.

Still, the good news is I am 7 pounds lighter than this time last year. I will pay a lot more attention to my weight than I did in 2008 and will post my weight loss status on the sidebar on the right.

Hopefully being a little lighter will help compensate for being a little older! 🙂

Other stuff?

Someone is following me!

More Cyclosportives?

In 2008, I had a great time entering 7 cyclosportives. I had done a couple the year before, but all these events was a new experience and a lot of fun. I plan to enter several in 2009. I’ll post some possibilities soon, but Martin is eager to do l’Etape du Tour up Ventoux – which seems like a great idea to me.

Why no altitude challenge this year?

Achieving my ascent targets meant I needed to be constantly riding up hills! I am hoping this year’s challenge will allow me to cycle a little less in 2009.

Less Cycling?

Besides cycling, I plan to do more hiking in the Alps this year with Doreen and friends. And I have new cross-country skis which need to get used. 🙂

A Big Thanks!

Dauphiné Libéré

I just wanted to say a big “Thanks” to Doreen and everyone else that has tolerated my “Challenges” and given me so much encouragement.

I am much fitter, active and happier than a few years back.

I have accumulated an ever growing collection of memorable experiences. And the best memories are those achieved with friends.

I look forward to more great days in 2009.


I will launch my 2009 Map of climbs after the first ascent.

For a map of all climbs over all years – see here.

Here’s my final 2008 map:

View Larger Map


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Good one! You can count on me to join you on many of your rides … for the Cyclosportives you’ll have to count on Martin as your domestique though 🙂 … you know I don’t pay to suffer.

    I don’t agree on the weight loss failure though. The kilos you regained are cycling muscles. You are fitter than ever. I’m sure that Doreen will confirm that.

    Happy NEW YEAR to you and Doreen (and to your Mum for her support, I know she is very important to you),

  2. What a great plan for 2009. I wish you all the best with achieving your goals but from what I read on your blog the past few months I feel fairly confident that you won’t have any problems achieving them. Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year. Best of luck with your goals this year – though based on track record I am sure you will achieve them. I look forward to following your progress in 2009.

  4. re #3 (lose 6-9 pounds): Can I have your piece of cake 🙂

    Well done for 2008 William, it was always a pleasure and fun to ride some of it with you. Sorry about the nose 😉
    Looking forward to 2009 and perhaps you can make a special guest appearance on the ‘Tour de Haute Coffee et Donuts du Europe’ Charity Ride?

    Slog On

  5. 100 cols ???
    mais tu n’a pas 100 ans !

    tout d’abord, bravo pour cette année 2008 et cette constance dans l’effort qui reste un exemple pour nous tous.

    pour 2009, tous mes encouragements, je trouve bien d’avoir visé “mieux” plutôt que “plus” de vélo.
    j’espère que ces 100 cols t’entraineront plus à l’ouest vers nos contrées moins hautes mais tout aussi belles!

  6. Will, first of all, Happy New Year! Second, let me reiterate my congratulations for having successfully achieved your 2008 Challenge. Great performance – don’t be too hard with yourself regarding the weight! As for the 2009 Challenge, I find the idea of the 100 different cols very good – did you inspire yourself with the rules to enter the famous “Club des 100 Cols”?. In my view, the idea to add new climbs is probably the most exciting aspect of your new challenge (although it becomes difficult, given the many cols you already did), since it enables you to discover new regions, new mountains, etc. Last but not least, I should mention that finding the time to ride some cols with you is part of my own 2009 challenge. Cheers,

  7. Congratulations on hitting your 2008 goal, which was an amazing feat. To me, your 2009 goal sounds just as daunting. You know, many bicyclists don’t even ride two days a week, much less average two cols per week for an entire year. I wish you good luck, although I already know you’ll achieve it!

  8. Jean Fondouce on


    Speaking about #1 – Climb 100 Different Cols

    Did you know that if you succeed, you could be part of the “Club des 100 cols” A club of pass climbers who climbed at least 100 pass. They discribe themselves as “amoureux du vélo en montagne

    Here is the website:

  9. What an inspiring website!

    I’m stunned by some of the photographs and more determined than ever to make our planned crossing of the Alps next year a reality.

    Thanks for this.


  10. My son has just issued me my challenge for 2010 all three sides of Mont Ventoux in one day, it is he says to celebrate my 70th year, I suspect other motives. I’ve done it once in 2000 with my wife on a tandem, it’s hard.

    Can’t wait to see your 2010 challenge

  11. Wow Will! I’m impressed with these challenges of yours. I set some cycling goals this year and made them all and had my best year on the bike and it’s about half of what you did. (5000km and 80km vertical) Very impressive.

  12. Will,

    Great stuff! I hope that the 100 col challenge is to ensure you’re membership of the Club des Cent Cols , if not, nice to get your name on their honour board!

    Congratulations on your efforts again this year – and perhaps (just perhaps) its time to lose the “more enthusiastic than talented” tag – it takes some considerable talent (as well as grit, guts and determination) to achieve what you do!

    Best regards


  13. Andrew Valentine on


    Nice site, inspiring to many, good to have goals, and climbing is a good one.
    For reference, my computer logs tell me that since 2000, so in the last 9 years,
    I’ve done: 1,000,000 meters and 75,000 km.
    Safe riding!


  14. Well, the inspiration worked! We cycled from Paris to Venice in 14 days in September 2010, covering 900 miles, climbing over 15000 metres (around 50,000 ft) with full camping kit.

    We (well, I) were slower up the cols than I imagine most people are, with all that weight (me and bike, minus water, weight 110kg before we set off).

    It was a great adventure, with few problems apart from fading daylight once or twice, a couple of Campag component breakages (not mine) and two punctures (again, not mine).

    I wore out two sets of brake blocks on my old mountain bike, camped in a £25 tent on an £18 sleeping mat (both from Amazon) and with an old Millets sleeping bag. Panneirs cost me £18, including postage, from Ebay. The bike was my wife’s, so cost me nothing.

    See more about the trip at, including a fantastic gallery.


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