My 2018 Cycling Challenge – Results

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I am getting old-

On January 1st, 2005 I launched this blog with a New Year’s Resolution to cycle 10,000 kms that year. That’s why this web site was named “Cycling Challenge.” I barely succeeded but had become addicted to riding a bike. 14 years later I still like making New Year resolutions Cycling Challenges as motivation.

Christmas Day 2005 – 10,000 kms and first cycling challenge success.

In the last couple of days I’ve published two articles detailing my favourite rides of 2018:

Anyway, here’s how I did versus my 2018 Cycling Challenge.

Cycle 100 Different Cols

By my count I rode roughly 150 unique cols although as usual I cheated with a few “Col Hunting” rides where I visited a bunch in one ride. Separately, I am lucky to have a few little local cols rideable from home. For example, I must have cycled Col du Mont Sion and Col de la Biche 100 times each.

Approaching to Bocchetta di Pedenolo – 2704m

A Few Big Rides in Austria

Wooohooo, I finally did a week-long cycling trip in Austria. I registered for the Grossglockner bike day and basically stopped to visit other climbs on the drive there and on the drive back. See here for details of all the rides and a fairly comprehensive map of Austrian road-bike climbs.

Silvretta Stausee at summit of the Silvretta-Hochalpenstraße

Find 20 “Good” New Climbs

Every year it gets more difficult to find new climbs but I did quite well with this goal in 2018. The Austria trip certainly helped. And all 10 of my favourite unpaved routes and many of my favourite road-bike routes listed at the top of this post were new to me. As usual, I searched for alternate routes up well-known climbs, for example, an original way up to Col de Joux Plane. And my friend Tim invited a few of us to the south Alps for several great rides on roads completely new to me – see here.

My first visit to Col Ferret on Italian/Swiss border

Some Gravel Touring

I have very little experience with here-to-there touring but had two fabulous little trips in 2018 — and the desire to do more in 2019.

The first adventure was a three day trip on high gravel roads around Le Grand Galibier that included 15 or so high, unpaved cols – see here.

La Grand Galibier peak behind (3228 metres)

The second adventure was a three day Tour du Mont Blanc with my friend Alfie. We argued and argued whether we needed three or four days. I demanded we do it in three, and we ended up riding dawn to after sunset on day three to finish. 🙂 . See here for details.

Col des Posettes with Alfie:

Ride Above 3000 metres

It’s not easy to get above 3000 metres on a bike in Europe. I’ve managed it 7 times – Colle del Sommeiller is only 2993 metres, but I wandered up a side mound. It’s always very difficult, but always worth the effort.

In 2018, I would reach Bormio 30000 at 3011 metres (woohoo). Details here.

See here for 25 of the highest unpaved roads in Europe including several above 3000m.

A few more rides with friends

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am a cheerful loner. But I like riding with like-able people. I probably did more big rides with others than ever in 2018.

Near Piano di Pedenolo with Barry

Cime de la Bonette with Tim, Alfie, and Richard

Col des Annes with Nick

One of many Wednesday nigh Mont Salève rides with the Steel Wheelers

Pushing a bike uphill with Alfie while circling Mont Blanc

Finally, I had a bunch of great rides with my best friend, my amazing wife Doreen. Probably the highlights were two multi-day trips to nearby Bourgogne (Burgundy) where we rode various stretches of its superb dedicated cycling path network. Primarily focusing on all the canal routes.

But don’t think Doreen only rides flat stuff. We like to “celebrate” when we reach a col together. 🙂

Happy New Year and happy pedaling to everyone.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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