The 100 cols tour

The 100 cols tour is a 4000 km long cycling route through France and often called 'the toughest cycling tour in the world' (col is the French word for mountain pass). The route starts in the north, near Saverne. Then it runs, via as many hills and mountains as possible, to the Pyrenees. In the Pyrenees the route climbs many famous mountains before continuing, via the Mont Ventoux, through the French Alps. The end is again in Saverne. 

100 cols tocht

The route is about 4070 km long and includes 66 000 altimeters. Although the route is called the 100 cols tour it actually contains 105 cols and 96 côtes, the latter being climbs that are not mountain passes.

Our original plan was to cycle the entire 100 cols tour this summer. However, as cycling 4000 km in 3 weeks would be a bit much, we decided to already cycle a section in May. If we would cycle 200 km per day for 8 days we would only have to cycle 125 km per day in the summer. That would still be difficult with all the mountains, but doable. Last year we had cycled to the south of France and back with an average of 170 km per day, so 30 km more was not totally unrealistic. With even less gear than last year climbing would also be easier. Our pan and stove stayed home. In terms of clothing we also took the bare minimum.