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The Pyrenees Cent Cols Challenge is the most rural of our routes and the most technical too. Ten days without passing through a major town, and accompanied by the sound of cascading water and cowbells, the tranquil beauty of these mountains will work their way to your heart. Steeper climbs and some rougher roads mean this Challenge is definitely harder than the Alps, and more of a spiritual voyage of discovery – it is perhaps the ultimate cycling adventure.
Cycling up 100 Pyrenees climbs in 10 days: how can I do it?
Read the Guardian article here »
- Double-occupancy accommodation
- Support from Rapha staff on and off the bike
- Inspiring guides and reliable mechanical support
- Four-vehicle support caravan
- 12 nights’ accommodation
- Ride nutrition, breakfasts, roadside feed stops
- All meals but one lunch on the rest day
Airport transfers, flights, alcohol and (limited) single-occupancy accommodation are extra.
Thank you very much Phil and team for an amazing experience and event. Very impressive - it ran like clockwork and exceeded my expectations in every way. You guys were all super professional but great fun and very supportive too and between you created a really good vibe throughout the whole event.
I matured somewhat as a cyclist that week, not so much by just bagging the parcours & climbs, but more so the little things. How to keep the bike going for a week travelling, how to recover effectively, how to balance my efforts over 6 - 8 hours on a bike.
My adrenaline is still high from the Pyrenees, even after quantities of red wine & champagne over the weekend.
Through suffering, fear, and pain we all prevailed in the challenge with a new look at our limits and lives.
Rapha manages to strike the balance perfectly every time, with days that appear too tough but aren’t, that allow for a great sense of achievement but also have room for adventure.
Thank you, Rapha, for creating the exact experience I was looking for. It was perfect for a cyclist like me, one who enjoys road cycling culture just as much as riding a bike as fast as possible. I hope to enjoy many more trips in the future.
Thanks for a truly memorable adventure and the chance to complete a significant personal challenge.
Thank you for this memorable trip. I have never been so disconnected from everything that’s normally going on, and I simply enjoyed the ride and the scenery every single day. Thank you for making this possible and for the great support — including your patient company behind the peloton :)
What a great trip. The riding was ridiculous as was the scenery!
All characters brought together sharing a passion for cycling. Much as I love to ride, I love the friendship even more. I can't wait until the next trip!
This was an amazing trip. The scenery was incredible, and the roads were nearly untouched by vehicles. Phil and his staff made it possible for me to suffer tremendously on my bike, but not off of it! Great experience. I am looking at going on the CCC Pyrenees next year. Can't say enough great things about this trip.
I learned a lot in the Pyrénées but feel like there's unfinished business. I have a better appreciation of what an undertaking like the CCC is about and, If you'll have me, I'd like to ride the Dolomites next year with you. At the last dinner in Rivesaltes, you [Phil Deeker] told us you had introduced us to something potent - I'm not entirely sure how this works, or why, but you are right. The CCC has been on my mind virtually every day since I'm back and it would seem there's simply no way around it.
Day 1: Rivesaltes (Perpignan) to Prades
Stats: 191km, 4,260m
Key climbs: Auzines, Aussieres, Nadieu, Dent, Triby, Garabell, Jau
The stage begins by warming up on the hills guarded by the ruins of Catharre castles, then we trace our way up to the Col d’Aussieres via Sournia. After descending to Axat, we take a remote loop to bag four ‘back-road’ cols with some serious climbing, before briefly joining the Gorges of St Georges. From here we begin the long climb up to the Col de Jau for our final battle of the day.
Day 2: Prades to Saillagousse
Stats: 175km, 4,760m
Key climbs: Roque Jalere, Mantet, Llosse, Font Romeu
A superb loop opens the stage, via the Roque-Jalere. After this comes a relatively gentle wooded climb to Vernet-les-Bains, before the main challenge: the Col de Mantet, with its steep final kilometres. After this monster, the incredible corniche road that starts the 30km climb to the Col de la Llosse sustains the days’ demanding nature. This back-road climb is the highlight of the stage, leaving ‘only’ a short climb up to the attractive ski-village of Font Romeu.
Day 3: Saillagousse to Oust
Stats: 204km, 4,600m
Key climbs: Quillanne, Pailhères, Plateau de Beille, Port de Lers, Agnes, Latrape.
Another steady beginning to a stage gives us time to loosen legs before hitting the Pailhères for the first of our two meetings with this beauty. Once over and down to Ax-les-Thermes, we head along the N20 for the Plateau de Beille climb up to lunch : a real treat!
Day 4: Oust to St. Lary-Soulan
Stats: 196km, 5,900m.
Key climbs: Core, Portet d’Aspet, Menté, Portillon, Superbagnères, Peyresourde, Azet.
Things toughen up a bit on this stage. All the climbs here are classically Pyrenean, harder than they look on paper but more beautiful than you could imagine. Each climb has its own distinct character and challenge.
Day 5: St. Lary-Soulan to Oloron
Stats: 223km, 5,600m
Key climbs: Ancizan, Tourmalet, Luz-Ardiden, Spandelles (east), Soulor, Aubisque.
Arguably the king stage of the Challenge, and the Ancizan now seems to have become a Tour favourite. We ride the tougher side, naturally. The Tourmalet, of course, towers over all others, although he Spandelles/Soulor/Aubisque combo will leave you speechless, certainly breathless. A long but genteel section, through the Bois de Bager, provides a well-earned stretch of fun.
Day 6: Oloron to Larrau
Stats: 200km, 5,200m
Key climbs: Burdinolatze, Chalets d’Iraty, Erroymendi, Port Larrau, Pierre St Martin
We dip into Spain for a Basque stage with quite a few steep bits along the way. After an almost flat start, the route climbs through the Basque hills, all the way to the Spanish border at Port Larrau. Tough, steep riding, though on a good day, the views from the top of St. Martin are fantastic.
Day 7: Larrau to Argeles-Gazost
Stats: 201km, 5,200m
Key climbs: Ste Gracie, Soudet, Bouesou, Houratate, Marie Blanque, Spandelles, Hautacam.
Rolling foothills to begin with, before we tackle one of the toughest climbs of the event, the Ste Gracie/Soudet. A very big climb up but certainly worth it for the views. We’ll head across some spikier hills, before riding the 13%-plus Marie Blanque on its vicious side. The superb, tight Spandelles climb, which deservedly gets a second visit, brings us to Argeles, where the final big one awaits for us, the Col de Tramassel (Hautacam), star of Le Tour in 2014. Not a bad day on a bike.
Day 8: Argeles-Gazost to Bagneres-de-Luchon
Stats: 192km, 5,600m
Key climbs: Couret, Palomières,Beyrede, Aspin, Peyresourde, Hospice de France.
After a bumpy crossing of foothills, we tackle the Col du Couret – a little-known gem that is revered by those in the know. A similar claim could be made for the Beyrede, but the Aspin and Peyresourde are real classic, bucket-list cols.
Day 9: Luchon to Ax-les-Thermes
Stats: 217km, 5,400m
Key climbs: Port de Bales, Portet d’Aspet, Crouzette, Port
The formidable Port de Balès opens the day with a touch of class, before a gentler section takes us to the steeper, but shorter, side of the Portet d’Aspet. After the Col de Port, a long descent takes us to Tarascon and towards our hotel via the high Route des Corniches.
Day 10: Ax-les-Thermes to Rivesaltes (Perpignan)
Stats: 198km, 3,900m
Key climbs: Chioula, Pradel, Pailhères, Saint Louis, Bataille
A slightly terrifying trio opens our final stage, but what a way to come away from the high Pyrenees. Once over the Pailhères and down one of the best descents of the trip, the afternoon will seem easy, as riders complete an epic out-and-back across the Pyrenees.
We recommend that you visit Phil Deeker’s Cent Cols Challenge website which explains in greater detail what is involved in these trips.
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