Rapha Travel

The Ride Of A Thousand Cols

Film Too Soon Too Late

Last year, Phil Deeker, founder of Rapha Travel’s Cent Cols Challenge, set out to ride 1,000 mountains in 100 days – the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest 50 times.

The Cent Cols Challenge (CCC) is the brainchild of endurance rider Phil Deeker. His determination, commitment to riding and will to explore has created one of the ultimate tests of what is possible on a road bike.

2017 marked a significant anniversary for the Cent Cols story with the passing of ten years of the Challenge. To celebrate both the milestone and his 60th birthday, Phil challenged himself to complete the “Ride of a Thousand Cols” – ten CCCs ridden back-to-back.

Phil started in Corsica in May and after a long summer of riding he scaled the 1,000th climb in Cantabrico on Wednesday, 4th October. In riding a thousand cols, he averaged 200km and 5,000m of climbing every day, totalling almost 20,000km and 500,000m of elevation. The numbers barely do justice to the feat.

This accomplishment is made all the more impressive considering Phil meticulously masterminded, planned and led each and every stage of the ten CCCs, sharing his passion and knowledge with over 200 riders in the process. It was a remarkable way to celebrate his 60th birthday.


“It’s a way of touching something that’s greater than us, in our own lives. When you experience that on your own, that’s one thing. But when you experience with a group, it’s a fantastic sense of connection.”


“At the end, when I see the riders with such big smiles on their faces, hugging each other, knowing that at times they were able to smile even when the suffering was so tough... that’s what the Cent Cols is about.”

Take on the Cent Cols Challenge

Inspired? Set your sights on your own Cent Cols Challenge. Take on mythical climbs and discover roads less travelled in the Alps and Pyrenees.


S. Alps Cent Cols Challenge

1st - 13th June 2018

100 historic climbs and hidden gems in the Southern Alps.

Find out more »


N. Alps Cent Cols Challenge Training Camp

24th - 30th June 2018

The stunning climbs and quiet roads of the Northern Alps.

Find out more »


E. Pyrénées Cent Cols Challenge

26th August - 7th September 2018

A testing route that traverses the peaks separating France and Spain.

Find out more »


Western Pyrénées

9th - 21st September 2018

An exacting trip which features one of the toughest Cent Cols stages ever.

Find out more »

The stats of a thousand cols


Mountain passes, or cols, climbed.


Days of riding, between May and October.


Rest days, between Stage 1 and Stage 100, although they weren’t spent resting.
“There were three days in between ending an event and starting the next: one for the transfer; one for food shopping and checking all vehicles and equipment; and one day for the new group to arrive, settle in and be briefed.”


Total elevation gain (an average of 4,450m per day).


Total distance (average of 194km per day).


Highest col: Col de l'Iseran in the northern Alps.


Number of climbs longer than 20km.


Coffees drunk by Phil.
“One per day for the first 500 cols; two per day for the second 500!”


Borders crossed.


Hours of sleep a night.
“Two more than usual, which meant 30% more of the best recovery medicine (sleep!)”


Number of energy bars and gels consumed.
“Two bars and two gels per stage - I am strict about over-eating this ‘energy’ stuff.”


Calories burnt.
“I averaged 5,000 per stage, and more when the weather was bad.”

In conversation with The Cycling Podcast

After some well-deserved time off the bike, Phil joined us for a Q&A session hosted by Richard Moore and Lionel Birnie of The Cycling Podcast. He reflected on the highs and lows of his incredible journey and spoke about the two charities that inspired him along the way.