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Thursday, 1 October 2009


Dave Arthur, who has just come back from this epic ride sent me this wonderful read

"Was the inaugural Cent Cols Challenge, a 10-day sportive around the Alps and Pyrenees, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, you may ask. Yes, absolutely without a doubt.

I’ve never done anything as hard, as punishing, as brutal, before. My body was pushed to the absolute limit. The mind too was challenged each and every day, with each stage serving up a five star menu of cols, many steeped in professional cycle racing legend.

The entire event was the brainchild of Phil Deeker, who to celebrate his 50th birthday got on his bicycle and rode 300 cols in 26 days. A feat of unimaginable daring. So naturally he decided to offer a slimmed down event to allow others to share in the experience that he himself enjoyed.

And so, on the 14th September 2009, 40 riders rolled out of a small hotel car park under the slowly rising sun, against a brilliant blue sky, and embarked on what for many would be the ride of their lifetime. There were many highs and lows along the way, broken bikes, injured bodies, creaking Campagnolo bottom brackets, bad wind, smelly shorts and socks. But there were also lots of smiles, laughs, a great deal of team morale, camaraderie, friendships, gentlemanly riding, support and a huge sense of achievement. Whether you were the first in the hotel bar or the last.

And quite incredibly, 10 days later nearly all those who started crossed the finish line. Yes, some were sidelined completely due to injury, some went home. But many found the strength to get back on their bikes once their knees had rested. And I say chapeau to every rider who faced their own struggles and personal demons to get through. I faced my own obstacles, but with the support of the many riders around and the deep desire to just finish, no matter at what costs, I battled through.

But every single person came away a different person. Stronger, wiser and happier. 106 cols the richer. For those who took part there are many memories to savour, but we’ve all shared in something special. Just d5on’t ask me if I’ll be doing it again, but if you get the chance to do it, I highly recommend it. You’ll never look back.

As for me, I’ve no perfected the thousand yard stare…"

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