Rapha Travel

The Ride Of A Thousand Cols

Photography Robbrecht Desmet

Extraordinary mountain man and Cent Cols Challenge founder Phil Deeker has now completed his incredible journey across Europe’s most challenging roads, riding 1,000 mountain passes, or ‘cols’, in just 100 days.

Phil started in Corsica in May 2017 and after a long, long summer of riding he scaled the 1,000th climb in Cantabrico on Wednesday, 4th October 2017. Phil averaged 200km and 5,000m of climbing every day, totalling almost 20,000km and 500,000m of elevation. The numbers don’t do justice to the willpower required.

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


Phil has been inspired and motivated throughout this year by fundraising for two fantastic causes very close to his heart, Access Sport and Cancer Research. If you are inspired by Phil, please donate to show your support, more details below.

Rapha plans to tell the story of Phil’s Ride of a Thousand Cols in greater detail soon – for now please join us in congratulating this true inspiration and legend of climbing.

Chapeau, Phil.

Follow Phil on Instagram »


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.”


Show your support by donating to Phil’s chosen charities

Phil has been fundraising for two charities throughout his efforts, using this as a great source of inspiration and motivation to keep on riding up. Here’s what he says about each:

Stages 1-9: London BMX Project / Access Sport

This is a fantastic project, giving so-called ‘no-future’ kids a new perspective on life. Through dedicated commitment to sport, young people improve their self-esteem and gain a more positive outlook on their future.

Stage 10: Chris Combe CCC Cantabrico for Cancer Research.

Chris Combe is on the CCC ‘wall of fame’, having completed every kilometre of three CCC Challenges (Alps, Corsica and Cantabrico). He was signed up to ride two more this year, until he was diagnosed with a particularly harsh cancer (Lymphoma). This stage is dedicated to him.

Donations follow a manual process, for details please contact: travel@rapha.cc.


Join Phil on the road in 2018

The 2018 Cent Cols Challenge dates and destinations will be announced very soon.