Entries still open for Bordeaux-Paris ultra cycling challenge… all 610Km of it +Video
Legendary 610Km race route returns this time as an "ultra cycling challenge"
If you're into long-distance riding such as audaxes and want to push yourself further, here's an event that will also allow you to follow in the tracks of cycling greats such as Tom Simpson and Jacques Anquetil - Bordeaux-Paris, until the late 1980s one of the ultimate endurance tests in the sport, has been revived as an "ultra cycling challenge" and you can give it a go. You might want to start training now though…
Covering 610 kilometres, the ride, which starts at 6am on 31 May 2014, isn't one for the fainthearted. It will take participants from the Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux to France's new national velodrome at St Quentin en Yvelines on the outskirts of Paris, with around 4,000 metres of climbing along the way.
And unlike pro riders for much of the race's history, including Anquetil and Simpson when they recorded their victories in the 1960s, you won't have the benefit of being motopaced by a derny for the final 300 kilometres or so.
There are three different types of entry. The Ultra Rando costs €180 and has to be completed in a time between 28 and 60 hours, while the Ultra Raid, which costs €230 and commits you to finish in a time of less than 32 hours.
Then there's the Ultra 2, costing €280 and is a two-person relay with the first leg covering 312km to Martizay, where the second rider takes over for the remaining 298km.
Along the route, there will be seven "relay points", roughly every 90 kilometres or so, with food and drink, medical assistance and, at the last five locations, osteopaths and physiotherapists.
The minimum age to take part is 18 years, and riders are required to supply sufficient food and drink to get through the opening 100 kilometres, front and rear lights, a reflective vest for night-time visibility and cycle helmet.
By late January some 750 riders had signed up; according to organisers, 85 per cent of those were from France, with 2 per cent from the UK, the average age is 50, and men outnumber women by a factor of 24 to 1.
Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle, winner and twice runner-up of the race, which was founded in 1891 - the first winner was a Briton, George Pilkington Mills - has been signed up as the event's patron.
The former pro, who also won Paris-Roubaix twice as well as Paris-Nice, among 56 victories, said: "While we tend to shorten race distances by limiting them to 200 km per day on average, Bordeaux-Paris is unique with its 600km in one day."
Likening the event to the Monuments of the sport such as Milan-San Remo - at 298km, the longest one-day race on the WorldTour calendar - he added: "200 km of training in the legs will not be enough to suck it up."
You can find full information about the event on its website and there is also a short promotional video you can watch below.