The Challenge Bucket List

I am going to start this post of with a disclaimer based on all those pictures that are going around about “What I Really Look Like.” I am not an athlete by any means; I just like cycling.  I try and set myself one challenge a year to give me something to aim for and keep me out as much as possible in those long winter months.

I’m going to start this off as a post but it will probably end up as a separate page at some point or another once I finally get my act together.  Some of this list is achievable and some is serious pie-in-the-sky-may-never-happen but we can all dream.  I have a few ticked off already, but on the whole there is still loads to go:

The Bucket List


l’Etape du Tour.  This is one I have been looking at for a few years now and had really wanted to do as part of the 100th celebrations but certain things mean this has just not come together.  You get to ride one of the key mountain stages as the pros in the world’s most well known bike race.  In the last few years there have been two Acts; the Alps or the Pyrenees (or both for the mad few), though this year there is currently only one event; here is the route.



Fred Whitton Challenge.  Named after the extremely popular member of the Lakes Road Club this event is a gruelling 112 mile sportive challenge ride for charity around the Lake District.  It starts & finishes at Coniston, and the route includes the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes.


Rat Race Road Trip

Rat Race: Road Trip.  A cut down version of LEJOG this one bridges two capitals: London and Edinburgh.  Depending on the size of your thighs you can do this in two or four days; that’s either 100 or 200 miles a day through some great parts of the UK.  Here’s the route.



Rat Race: The Crossing.  A mountain bike race that would take me off road for once.  This is a great challenge taking you through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors; a complete coast to coast from West to East.  Check out the route here.  A day for each of the main stages above gives three good days of riding averaging 66 miles each day.



Bealach Mor.  More suitably known as Applecross over which it crosses making it the highest road climb in the UK.  In 6 miles you will ascend 626m, and this is the main feature of the ride (of course not discounting some amazing scenery).



LEJOG (or JOGLE).  Land’s End to John O’Groats has to be one of the most ridden long distance rides within the UK with people continuous doing this trip.  Mileage is very much dependent on the route you decide to take; the hard route is noted as being 1,552 miles.  The current record for this is just under two days, though most people tend to target 6-9 days.  I will eventually map up a route and when I do will post it here.



Rapha Cent Cols Challenge.  This is the biggest challenge listed here and as it’s name suggests requires you to do 100 Cols in ten days, equating to a distance of 200 km and climbing 4,500 m a day.  The routes are inspired by the beautifully designed “Randonnées Permanentes” of the Club des Cent Cols. As well as including most of the Classic Climbs, the jewels of these routes are the many lesser known climbs.  Sounds mad?  Yes, but also one that likely never forget.



Cyclocross Challenge.  This one is a little out there, but having grown up running with the Hash House Harriers this is just a cycling version.  So I am looking for a suitably silly cyclocross challenge.



These are all happening this year and I will endeavour to write up something about these once they are done.  They are listed in the order in which they will happen throughout the year.  If I can bear to do it  and I still have battery left I will try and take some snaps en route.



Etape Caledonia.  An 81 miles cycle around the heart of the Scottish countryside with 5,000 other riders on closed roads is something to look forward to. The route takes off from Pitlochry goes North around Loch Tummel, loops around Loch Rannoch, goes over Shiehallion and after a small loop heads back to Pitlochry. Entries for this race are now closed, but if you want to get a basic entry for next year then the best thing you can do is preregister which you can do here. This will give you the opportunity to enter a couple of days before it is open to the public and this sells out within hours.



Baker Hughes 10k.  This is the annual stagger around the harbour and long the beach front.  I have done this several times now and is less of a physical challenge and more of a fundraiser.  There a roughly 12 of us doing this as an office team and so if you want to donate to a local Aberdeen charity then click here; it would be very much appreciated.



Ullapool Mor.  Set in what most would say is the best parts of Scotland this ride starts in Ullapool and heads North, covering 88 miles, this ride is all about where the course takes you.  I have also compiled a Google Map of the route which you can see clicking here.  See you there.


The Noteworthy

I really do not want to list everything that I have done over the years as they are all personal achievements. There are some however that I have included below because without them the list above would look incomplete and so I have included them to avoid being trolled for missing out the “tough” ones. Newest are at the top.



Tough Mudder. Last years madness in the first Scottish Tough Mudder at Drumlanrig. The best description for this is racing with three friends (and hundreds of others) through ice and electric wires. The pace of this challenge is fairly easy going which makes the whole thing a lot easier and much more enjoyable. Met some other friends on the way round and had a great day. If your thinking about it just sign up already.



The Corrieyairack Challenge. Slightly less known but still very challenging race, there are several flavours for doing this race; a duathlon being main one. Along with two others we decided to do the team duathlon event. Just a point to note the corrieyairack pass is the highest driveable (question this) pass in Scotland. Starting from Fort Augustus at the south end of Loch Ness we each had to run over the Corrieyairack pass to Garva Bridge where you picked up your bike and then peddled along the valley to Kincraig. All of this amounts to an 18 mile run and 27 mile bike ride, click here for a Google Map version. We had incredible weather for this with cramp being the biggest obstacle for everyone. This was a really good challenge.



70.3 (Half) Ironman UK. I know how tough this was and the thought of a full is mind blowing (which is why it is not in the list above until someone convinces me otherwise). Anyway did this a few years ago and have the t-shirt. Was a sweltering but fantastic day with an overall time somewhere around 6:40. I had wanted to break the 6 hour mark but had been working aboard at that point and so training had dropped to once a week for the last six months. Even so, suitably happy with this one.

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