- THE CENT COLS CHALLENGES ARE LIMITED TO 30 RIDERS MAXIMUM.*
This is first and foremost for overall safety of riders, but also in order to provide the best possible support to all riders on the road. Despite these limited numbers, each event is accompanied by a four-vehicle support team.
The first CCC was held in 2009. Since then, eight challenges have been organised. Roughly 80% of riders have completed the FULL course. An occasional lift in a support vehicle has sometimes been the only option.
The Cent Cols Challenges involve climbing 100 Cols in ten days, cycling approximately 200 kms per day with an rough average of 4,500 metres of ascension on each stage. The routes are inspired by the beautifully designed “Randonnées Permanentes” of the Club des Cent Cols. As well as including most of the Classic Climbs, the jewels of these routes are the many lesser known climbs.
The competitive element in the Challenges is limited to two timed climbs per stage. These are chosen in advance so that the relevant data is set up on www.strava.com . The recording of individual ride data throughout the event can be done through Strava, allowing comparison to past CCC riders. All CCC riders seem to agree that the Challenge is hard enough in itself, without anyone trying to race. So much time is spent descending, that for riders to race downhill is to seriously increase the risk factor of these events. The timed climbs are totalled up in a King of the Mountains competition through the event.
So far the Strava system has proved to be a very successful tool for the Cent Cols Challenge events.
With the focus on certain timed climbs each day, riders of all abilities see more of each other throughout the day. This has definitely helped to create a more cohesive group and promote camaraderie throughout the trip.”
Preparation is the essential key to individual success, as well as to that of the whole event. Monthly newsletters are designed to motivate and inform you during the training period.
ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH TO DO THIS?
It is hard to answer this question. Ride hard two ‘century’ rides back-to-back, well spiced up with hills, and then judge how you feel. Could you do this another eight times?! Be aware though : adrenaline and amazing scenery will fuel you more effectively than you might think!
“Phil, thank you again for your patience with us in the back. We rode as hard as we could. Please know that our experience at the back was as rich and sweet as those up front. It was a tremendous experience, that would not have been possible without your vision (route planning) and more importantly your organization.”
The top British cycling-kit tailors, Rapha, have designed cycling jerseys specifically for these Challenges. Rapha are renowned for the high quality, performance and comfort of their range of cycling clothing so you will at least have some comfort in your suffering.