300 COLS IN 30 DAYS
At the beginning of this month, Phil Deeker, a pyrotechnician from Salisbury, Wiltshire set off to conquer 300 cols in 30 days.
Phil's plan is to attack these cols over three routes across the Alps, Pyranees and Cevennes, all routes established by the ‘Club Des Cent Cols.’ His motivation behind the 4,100kms and total 71,000 metre climb? MAG (Mines Advisory Group), a group who provide conflict-affected areas with a chance of a better future.
CW takes a look at Phil’s diary to see how he tackled the first stage of his ride...
Hours in the saddle: 9.5
After a fond farewell from cyclists and local dignitaries I set off to discover all that Annecy had to offer...
I arrived at the first proper col to find cyclists waiting at the top for more photos and was greeted with my first “putain, ils sont fous ces anglais?”
I made it to the top of Col Grand Cucheron, soaked though and freezing with lightening and thunder surrounding me. Welcome to the reality of cycling in the mountains!
Toughest bit: The last 4kms of the day up the Glandon.
Best bit: Realising how much I wanted this.
Hours in the saddle: 10.5
The hardest day of the whole tour; the day with the giants. I haven’t had enough sleep and there’s driving rain outside, perfect!
I met the patron of the hotel we were staying in who said he wanted to climb the Glandon with me but he had to go into town so he couldn’t. I almost believed him too.
My hands are blue with cold and both body and bike are shaking. I arrive at the start of the climb to Telegraphe / Galibier welcomed by the sign; ‘Col de Galibier 34km UP!’ I’d forgotten it was THAT far.
La Casse Deserte was just magical in the sunlight and who wouldn’t enjoy the thrill of descending for 15km at 60-70kph?
Toughest bit: Croix de Fer in driving rain and freezing wind
Best bit: Being accompanied up the Galibier by a procession of Rolls Royces, dozens of them. A brilliant distraction.
I could feel Provence approaching. Small roads, no cars and no Tour hero’s names painted on the climbs. I talk constantly to the different parts of my body, willing them on, and finish in style with a 35km descent. The song ‘Take me to the next Col’ to the tune of Al Green’s ‘Take me to the River’ running through my head all the way.