My 2011 Cycling Challenge


Happy New Year!

It’s time for my 7th annual cycling challenge.

2010 results here.

#1 – Climb 100 Different Cols / Climbs*

Barrage de Roselend

Yes, the same main goal as 2010. It’s what I like to do: Explore the mountains while cycling uphill.


– At least 20 Cols over 2,000 metres (this is perhaps the hardest part of the challenge)

– 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.

Along with the usual big climbs near me, I hope to get back to the French Pyrénées, somewhere in Italy, as well as the south Alps (Agnel, Champs, Turini, etc, for the first time).

* For example, Alpe d’Huez isn’t a pass but it would count.
#2 – Cycle above 3000 metres

Epic - Looking down - lots of recent snow

At least once.

The highest paved road in Europe is approximately 2800 metres, so this challenge won’t be cycled with a road bike. The highest I have ever cycled is 2802 metres — Cime de la Bonette.

I have a few ideas with Col du Sommeiler (on the Italian/French border above the Fréjus tunnel) at 3005m being the lead candidate. Hopefully, I can do a couple more. Although it may not be until late July for the snow to be cleared.

Please feel free to offer any suggestions – (or to come join me).. 😉

#3 – Cycle a double metric century via L’Etape du Tour

Col du Galibier

I have never cycled 200 kms before. But I have registered for the 208 kilometre 2011 Etape du Tour on July 18th. Details here.

This very hilly course replicates Stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France. I am really looking forward to this.

Training for this should keep me scared / motivated.

I’ll do one or two cyclosportives in May / June as preparation.

And (excitingly), Philippe has decided that we need to do a Mont Ventoux event again. We have signed up for the June 2011 “Ventoux Night Session” – details here. Sounds like a lot of fun, although I am not sure how we get down afterwards?!?

#4 – Weight Goal

I finished 2010 several pounds lighter than 2009. I plan to finish 2011 no heavier than today, and hopefully a touch lighter.

Self portrait

No Distance or Ascent Goals??

Similar to last year, I am going to avoid a distance or ascent goal. In previous years this had led me to avoid hiking, skiing, and cross country skiing – all of which I really enjoy. In fact, I’ll add a minor challenge to do 250 kms of cross-country skiing – weather permitting.


And Most Importantly:

I look forward to enjoying more fun rides with good friends.

A special thanks to my brave and supportive wife – see her top 10 climbs here. 🙂

And of course to my good friend Eric who patiently waits for me on so many climbs and takes so many great photos.

Happy New Year!

Watching the Tour


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Congratulations on attaining your goals for 2010 and very glad to see you are keeping the challenge in “Cycling Challenge” for 2011! Jealous that I am no longer there to join you on some rides. I do look forward to reading (with jealousy) the adventures to come. All the best!

  2. GO GO GO!!! Great challenge Will…very original (also the Cycling Challenge Magazine cover). I love the Ventoux by Night idea…will be particularly challenging from a photographic perspective – not just for me for once 😉

    I feel you may need some help with DIY LED bicycle lights…welcome to the bright, bright world of superGEEKS here

    For the records : you have hurt me pretty bad twice in 2010 : during the Ramaz-Morzine/Avoriaz filming ride and on La Marmotte day where you did not know where I was, but I knew too well where you were…so far away from me, so far I just can’t see.

    Thanks for 2010 and looking forward to 2011. I think 3000m is going to become very addictive.

    PS My 2011 Personal Challenge is twofold:
    1) Ride more again (should be easy)
    2) Test out the effectiveness of a completely new type of cross-training…physical work during a house renovation and cycling. Time to invent the first dynamo powered drill???

  3. FELICIDAES, y animo por un año lleno de pasion y disfrute, otro año espero seguirte con atencion y emocion feliz 2011

    FELICIDAES, and intention by a full year of passion and enjoy, another year I wait for seguirte with attention and happy emotion 2011

  4. Hey Will, way to go on another successful cycling and web/photo/film year! And good luck with next year. That etape du tour looks fun. If you make it down here for Turini and others, feel free to look me up for any riding and/or map-consulting/beverage consuming activities.

  5. Hi, Will!

    Happy New Year!

    I’ve got a suggestion for you: ever heard of the Giro delle Dolomiti? It’s a 6-stage-race for cyclotourists taking place at the end of July/beginning of August in the area of Bolzano, Italy. Stages average 130km and about 2000 meters of ascent. Average speed is 22km/h, ridden in a really relaxed peloton. But every stage has one timed ascent; kind of mountain time trial.
    For more see
    It’s very well organized, lots of fun, lots of climbs, lots of pain, lots of satisfaction, lots of new cols, lots of everything road racers would die for…!

    Good luck and all the best for your challenge!


  6. Go Will, Go!
    Hop! Hop! Hop!

    For new climbs in my neck of the woods, how about these suggestions:

    Arolla: it’s in the valley between the Dixence and the Moiry, the town is at 2’000m, and I’m sure there are ways to go higher. Starting at Sion would make it quite a long and intense climb.

    Aletsch: I believe it is possible to MTB from Fietsch up to the edge of the Aletsch glacier at Marjelensee. That should also be 2’000m+ and totally spectacular.

    Emosson: If you have not done it from Martigny then that could count as a new climb…? That was my fave from 2010.

    I would of course be delighted and honoured to be your domestique on any of those routes!

    All the best for 2011!

  7. Thanks for all the comments:

    Martin: I just remembered that you were the photographer for the very top photo with Sorlinette the cow! It’ll be strange riding this year with you on the wrong continent.

    Alex: hmmm that Giro week is VERY enticing …. maybe 🙂 I have a friend who has ridden it and absolutely loved it.

    Ben: Hopefully we will see each other on Agnel at the Tour. And with any luck Turini.

    Simon: Thanks for the ideas. Yes, we should definitely try and meet up for a big climb your way this year. I’ve never done Emosson via Forclaz (Martigny) I wonder if they will re-open the road above the dam to the smaller, higher dam … and there is an interesting non-road bike way down I think. Aletsch sounds interesting … I don’t know anything about it.

    Happy New Year all.

  8. Hi Will and Happy New Year to you! Congratulations for having completed you 2010 Challenge and glad to see that you are keeping yourself motivating with setting the bar very high! 😉

    With regard to your 2011 goals, I’d be most interested to do something above 3000 with you. But we might have to do something different than Col de Sommeiller. It seems indeed that this pass is officialy “only” 2993 m high… Look at this weblink for more details: (

    There is however another one, which would largely do the trick: Col de Jandri, above the Deux Alpes ski station. The altitude: 3151m! (

    Something for July or August?


  9. Hi, Nicholas,

    Thanks for the Col de Jandri suggestion. It sounds fantastic. I suppose it’s hard to plan too far ahead as this sort of climb needs good weather, but I’d love to try and join you for this … perhaps in August ?

    Another idea Is a road above Orelle that seems to reach 3000m.



    PS – If I remember correctly it was a message from you a year or more ago that motivated the idea to get above 3000m 🙂

  10. Wot, no cake challenge?
    Look forward to joining you on a few challenges this year.
    (DownUnder warm [and wet!] till April)

  11. Hi Will. A double metric century… Sounds very hard! I’ve done it a few times, but I was in a car so it’s probably not the same 😉 Happy New Year an the best of luck 🙂 Cheers, Jesper

  12. Wow great accomplishments of you both. Also a cycling racer (hobby) but in the very flat lands of the Netherlands. The biggest hill we got in The Netherlands is about 300 meters high. But the rest of the lands is very flat. Also aspiring to climb some mountains om my bike. Busy training so I can accomplice that.

    But great achievements and great stories about them.

    Sadly a link is broke on your website or actually the Youtube account is removed. Would like to watch all of your videos on the website. On this page:

  13. Hello! Great website! I also love cycling and climbing. In fact, in the year 2010, I made the highest cyclable route on Europe. It’s in the Sierra Nevada mountais, Spain. 3475 m above sea. And you can climb from the 0 mts above sea, 85 km away until the top! You have 2 acess. A paved road with some holes to reach Veleta, also with almost 3500 mts, and a dirt road, to Mulhacen, ont he other side of the mountain.

    Cheers and keep moving the pedal!

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