The end of my 11th annual cycling challenge! I think I even still had hair when I began this. However, the blog (and the surrounding Alps) continue to keep me motivated, cycling slowly as ever, but steadily upwards.
So how did I do against my 2015 Cycling Challenge goals?
#1 Cycle 25 New Cols/Climbs
Every year it gets more difficult to find new ideas, but I managed to get more than 30 new climbs and quite a few more cols (many of these rides were multi-col loops). At the same time, I was able to visit lots of old favourites like Madeleine, Galibier, Iseran, Croix de Fer, Glandon, Mont Cenis and all the stuff near Geneva.
Yesterday, I published a post with my Ten Favourite Rides of the Year and six of them, including the first five, were new.
Here are five other excellent new rides not in that top ten list:
- Colle di Sampeyre via Strada dei Cannoni – another high Italian old military road.
- Cervinia via the terrific Col Saint-Pantaléon
- Pila Ski Station (Aosta Valley)
- Col de Rosaël (above 3000 metres)
- A new side of Col du Jovet
#2 Cycle above 2,000 metres at least 25 Times
(And above 2,500 metres at least 10 times).
By my count I exactly made it twenty-five times above 2000 metres, and fourteen times above 2500 metres. The majority of these rides were on a mountain bike, many in stunning scenery without a soul around.
Approaching Col de la Bailleta (2853 metres):
#3 Cycle to 3,000 metres at least once
Woohooo! I made it above 3000 metres three times in 2015. My highest ever: Col du Jandri (3158m), Mont Chaberton (3131m), and just above Col de Rosaël (3007m). See here for Ten of the highest paved roads in the Alps …. including details for the above three.
#4 Cycle in Austria
I finally made it to Austria, taking part in the Tour de Suisse cyclosportive up to the amazing Rettenbachgletscher. Unfortunately a couple of other rides were rained out. But I’ve been learning German and am determined to get back in 2016.
#5 Ride the Ventoux Night Session
Bah, awful weather. We decided not to go. The event is only held every second year, so I’ll try again in 2017. I did it in 2011 and 2013. Too much fun. Details here.
#6 At least 183 Very Active Days
I did well here. I’ve especially done well doing fun 90 minute / 2 hour rides on local trails near home throughout the fall, and climbing Mont Salève just above me fairly often:
Mont Salève, above the autumn clouds:
#7 Take Doreen Touring in Italy
Oops. we did get to Italy together, but not with our bikes. But I did take her touring a couple of times in Burgundy and we had an blast cycling around Paris for a couple of days. And finally, we cycled the highest paved pass in Europe, Col de l’Iseran, together on bike-only day,
#8 More Hay Surfing
This goal was easy. Wooohoooo! FYI, the Official Flickr Hay Surfing Group is here. We’re a small but welcoming group. 🙂
Thanks to everyone that has taken an interest in this blog. I appreciate the kind emails and comments. As I mentioned to someone the other day, most of the friends I have in Europe I met via this site.
Happy New Year!
FWIW, the most popular article here in 2015 was: 100 Cycling Climbs Better than Alpe d’Huez