About Cent Cols Challenge
A STORY OF HIGH ROADS, BOLD RIDERS AND MOUNTAIN MAGIC.
How and when did the Cent Cols Challenge concept first emerge?
How have the events changed since 2009?
With Phil ‘retiring’ in 2022, what happens now?
Will the events change much?
The first is The Mountains themselves.
In winter I have two very good reasons to train for the Cent Cols season:
-one is to suffer less and enjoy more when riding long hard days in the mountains;
-the other is so that I feel WORTHY of the mountains. I want to DESERVE access to them. I love the idea that as I train in winter on my home roads, the mountains I will be sharing with others in the summer months are hidden, often inaccessible, under their white winter cloak. They will allow us to meet them for just a few months of the year. They keep me humble and command respect. Their beauty, their grandeur and their sense of eternity attracts me. But I know that I need to accept their violence and anger at times too. Like cathedrals, they give us an opportunity to look up to something greater than ourselves, but also to look within.
The second is The Roads. We’re cyclists, not mountaineers. We sign a deal with the roads to follow their lines, sometimes eagerly following their attractive curves to the top; sometimes, in an act of blind trust, knowing little about where they are taking us. Some have stories written on them, others are crumbling indications of a time when they were still served a purpose to the local community. Some we glide over, others shake our bones. They each have a unique way of leading us up, and then down: they lead The Dance – we follow.
The third is The Bike. The Mountain is our goal; The Road is our guide; The Bike is our tool. The first two only reveal their special magic through the channel of our bike. A long day in the saddle in the mountains can often create a sensorial-overload, such is the intensity of our dialogue with the bike.
I have tried to put into words how the magic of these three ingredients works within us, but inevitably I think, there has to be a part of unexplainable mystery. Strangely, despite our sense of wonder about the Mountains and an almost child-like fascination with the Roads, I have come to think that the mystery actually resides in the Bike. Only fellow cyclists don’t have to explain “The Why”. We all just get on our bikes and ride. Another case of the greatest mysteries being found in the smallest of things? I’m happy with that!"