My 2010 Cycling Challenge


Happy New Year!

challenge success

It’s time for my 6th annual cycling challenge.

2009 results here.


#1 – Climb 100 Different Cols

Col de Crozet

Yes, the same main goal as 2009. It’s what I like to do: Explore the mountains while cycling uphill.

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

– At least 20 Cols over 2000 metres
– At least 30 new climbs (it’s getting very hard to find new stuff near home)
– Repeat climbs won’t count, but the other side of big climbs is fine.
– little Cols won’t count although I’ll track them 😉

Along with the usual big climbs near me, I hope to get back to the French Pyrénées and the Dolomites in Italy.

* For example, Alpe d’Huez isn’t a pass but it would count.
#2 – One Metric Century per Month

Col de la Croix Fry

This is a bit harder than it sounds as there aren’t really flat rides here.

And given that before June 2007 I had NEVER done a metric century, this should keep me a little tense. I have a few good 80 and 90 kilometre loops that will need to be lengthened. 😉

Somehow in 2005 I cycled 10,000 kms without even once doing a 100 km ride

#3 – Cycle La Marmotte (again!?!?)

Update: Success!

Col du Galibier

Yikes. I am a little scared of this idea, but have already registered – and I am too cheap to not show up.

By far the toughest ride of my life was the 2008 La Marmotte. 174 kilometres and 5000 metres vertical. Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Galibier via Télégraphe, and then the “easiest”
climb of the day: Alpe d’Huez.

The difficulty is daunting enough, but equally for me, the 40+ kilometre descent from Galibier to the base of Alpe d’Huez through 10 tunnels is terrifying.

Training for this should keep me motivated.

I am hoping that some of my cycling partners will sign up as well (hint, hint).

As preparation, I have also signed up for “La Ventoux” in early June. Update: Race report.

#4 – Weight Goal

Now thats a pudding

No Comment! 😉

A Big Thanks!

Dauphiné Libéré

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

These silly challenges keep me motivated, fitter and (generally) cheerful.

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


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. BONNE ANNÉE et bon courage pour tous ces objectifs 2010 !
    Bonne idée d’ajouter l’endurance avec ces 100km, je pense que les longues sorties peuvent être aussi excitantes que les belles montées…et même si ce sera effectivement + difficile à organiser dans ta région.

  2. I love your 2010 challenge…especially 1 metric century per month — that should keep you motivated (read: tense) throughout the year!! Remember, if ever you want to do one of those centuries at a slower than snail’s pace, I volunteer to accompany you Annecy – Albertville!!

    …but no update on weight goal? 🙂


  3. Mon cher ami Will,

    Bonne Année and let me know when you are ready to attack your 2010 challenge. I will gladly accompany you on as many as possible of your 2010 rides. But you know that you won’t see me out on the big Marmotte day. Me riding along with 8000-2 other wannabees? Come on, I’m too special for that! 🙂 Bassachaux with the col sign just sticking above the snow, reaching Galibier on Oct 30th with you or motivating you (and only you) to do Col de la Colombière in January that is something you can count on me for. (BTW the 8000-2 wannabees is a correction to properly classify you and Martin of course)

    Your Flemish domestique

  4. Love these goals! They’ve motivated me to return to La Marmotte in 2010, and enjoy all of the suffering required to train for it! Have a fantastic crank-turning 2010.

  5. Well done on 2009!

    Looks like you’ve set yourself a tasty menu for 2010 and I am confident that you’ll succeed in enjoying every dish. 🙂

    Now to find my courage to register and ride La Marmotte as part of the 8000-2 again… yikes!

  6. Will, first of all, Happy New Year to your family and you! And congratulations for the great achievement in 2009. More than 200 climbs in a year is quite an astonishing feat! Your 2010 Challenge looks really good. The only thing I’d think about adding would be a little bit of height… How? You have committing yourself to do at least 20 2000+ meter passes. Why not trying to add… say 3 3000+ meter cols? Of course, that would require you to do more mountain biking, but it would be fun to break the 3000 meter barrier, wouldn’t it?

    Last but not least, I do still hope we’ll be able to ride together someday. I did reasonably well in 2009, adding close to 60 new cols (13 over 2000 meters) to my collection and doing around 100 climbs in total (that includes more than 10 times the Croisette). But because of my very busy professional and family schedule, I did most of my serious rides on Sunday morning, from… 6 to 11:30 AM, which is not very friendly for people wanting to ride on more civilized hours… But as said, I’m not losing hope! 😉


  7. Thanks for the messages!

    Philippe, Je suis très heureux que tu vas faire La Ventoux avec moi

    Martin, remember to sign up early for La Marmotte — so we don’t get stuck in that late start group again 😉

    Nicholas, Congraulations on your cycling year. That’s a great idea to do something at +3000m. Do you have any suggestions? I will need to do some research. Yes, Croisette was certainly what I climbed the most. It’s great living beside a mountain. Ummmm 6:00am? 😉

    Sprocketboy, extend your June Pyrénées visit and join us for La Marmotte?

  8. Très bonne année 2010 ! Elle s’annonce riche en nouvelles sorties de vélo, moi qui me demandait si tu n’allais pas commencé à en avoir un peu marre, surtout que comme tu le dis, il n’y a plus beaucoup de cols à faire près de chez toi (des routiers, car les autres, il y en a encore …). C’est bien, je vais suivre ces aventures 🙂 Bonne chance pour les cyclos, mais avec tous ces objectifs, je ne doute pas que tu arriveras préparé et en forme sur la ligne de départ.

  9. Nice one William 🙂 It was fun sharing some of 2009 with you. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with eachother up some mountain in 2010.

    Re No.4. It looks like you’re off to a good start by offering half your cake to the fat bloke next to you. Quite frankly though, the guy looks like he’s had one too many tarts already 😉

  10. Will, on the 3000+ meter passes topic, I do unfortunately not have anything precise in mind. But there are certainly plenty of possibilities with the mountain bike, both in Valais and Haute-Savoie.

    I passed countless 5000+ meter passes when I went trekking through the Indian Himalayas (summer 2004 & 2005), including what is supposed to be the highest road pass in the world, Kardung La (5602 meters, if I’m not mistaken). But all of this was on foot…

    On the bike I have yet to pass something higher than Iseran and Bonnette but will try to break the 3000 meter barrier this year. Perhaps this could become some sort of a project?

    Especially if you can accept standing up very early… 😉


  11. Gosh what an amzing year you have planned. Sitting in London at the moment – I’m green with envy !! The Col du Galibier via Télégraphe ride is fantastic. It’s tough but a really incredible ride. In 2007 I rode the entire route of the Tour de France one day ahead of the pro’s and they were on one of the stages. It was a tough but truly memorable day.

    Luke Bream

  12. Hywel Davies on


    I’ll be in Annecy from 29/5 to 5/6 again this year.

    Would be great to meet you and share a climb one day. Let me know if you will be in the areas

  13. Great list, except the weight loss. Bah weight loss!

    100 different Cols! Man that’s really a lot of cols. Very impressive.

    La Marmotte – now that’s just crazy. 😉

    100 km – i joined a club this year and they do a lot flatter rides than what i normally do, so sometimes after riding with them i continue on and climb a nearby mtn, and get some more kilometers to get up to 100k – i already have a bunch of metric centuries (for me) this year. That thing about 2005 and 10k kms with no 100km rides is amazing!

    By the way – down here, if you’re looking for new cols: Braus, Ablé (normally in combination with Braus), Turini (this also often added to Braus, Ablé), Madone, Vence, Madone d’Utelle (not a col but a mtn top), Cayolle, Col de Champs (gorgeous), Couillole (really lovely ride), de la Porte (paris-nice), – i’m missing some important ones plus of course lots of little ones. There are a couple just this side of la Bonette that i am forgetting the name of.

  14. yeehoo, thanks!

    Yes, I will someday have a shot at some of those Cols (I have done Cayolle a couple of times – terrific climb).

    Ha, yes, 2005 was bizarre. I was new to cycling and didn’t realize I could actually accomplish longer stuff. I nearly went crazy doing endless 40 kms rides.

  15. I haven’t done Cayolle yet – people often do a 3 col loop – Cayolle, Champs, and Allos – i will definitely do that sometime this year.

  16. Pingback: Annecy to Albertville Cycling Path : Cycling Challenge

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