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17 cols and 16,000m of climbing beckon

Mike Cotty, former Cannondale marketing bloke and quietly insane ultradistance road cyclist has finally admitted what he’s been training for all summer: a 666km non-stop traverse of the Alps featuring 17 cols and over 16,000m of climbing.

Here’s a bit of a teaser video:

Mike will start on August 5 in Evian Les Bains and over the following 36 hours will cross many of the most famous cols of the Tour de France: Col de la Colombière, Madeleine, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Télégraphe, Galibier, Izoard, Vars, Bonette and Madone. The journey is equivalent to four consecutive mountain stages of the Tour de France and the ascent is almost equivalent to climbing Mount Everest twice.

Scared yet? You should be. Here’s Mike’s nominal schedule:

And here’s the elevation profile:

You'll be able to follow Mike's progress here and on his website's event page as there will be a live tracking device on his support vehicle. 

We look forward to vicariously suffering with him, starting Monday.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

41 comments

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mrchrispy [491 posts] 4 years ago
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thats one long strava segments I wont be going after!

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [368 posts] 4 years ago
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Fantastic itinerary,id have a go myself if i had the money,could do without the earnest intent voiceover and ludicrous melodrama of the video,its like an advertisment for some over priced Volkswagon
I bet the cost of the video would cover pretty much all the kit you would need and the airfare/hotels
Smug and pretentious springs to mind but what do you expect from a marketing executive

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billyman [148 posts] 4 years ago
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I liked his helmet

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Mike Cotty [65 posts] 4 years ago
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Hi ScotchPoth,

I could never compete with a Volkswagen advert, especially after their Darth Vadar commercial which may be getting on a bit now but is still going to take some beating.

If you're serious about giving it a go sometime then I'd be happy to help you out with any advice and with a bit of careful planning it can certainly be done within a very sensible budget, although I have to say don't make the same mistake as I did and plump for an Ibis Budget Hotel (sometimes it's worth paying a few euros more for a room that you can swing more than a gerbil in and a bed that offers you more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep)...cyclist needs and all that.

Sorry that the teaser isn't to your liking. It came from my heart and not my head so I obviously wasn't thinking straight. Please accept my apologies.

Ride safe,

Mike

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andychat [6 posts] 4 years ago
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Nicely put Mike. We are all different but all cyclists  1

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andyspaceman [253 posts] 4 years ago
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Fabulous - an absolutely nuts challenge. A very similar parcours to the Route des Grandes Alpes.

I rode that last September (very reasonably priced and a fantastic trip with cycle-high.com) - the difference being that I took 6 'leisurely' days!!

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jijiandnoah [50 posts] 4 years ago
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I have to say the money would be the least of my worries - as much as I'd love to I couldn't envisage myself even getting through a quarter of this. The statistics alone are pretty mind-boggling...

Wishing you all the best with this amazing ride Mike, and I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on. A Chapeau in advance!

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Colin Peyresourde [1819 posts] 4 years ago
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Mike Cotty wrote:

If you're serious about giving it a go sometime then I'd be happy to help you out with any advice and with a bit of careful planning it can certainly be done within a very sensible budget, although I have to say don't make the same mistake as I did and plump for an Ibis Budget Hotel (sometimes it's worth paying a few euros more for a room that you can swing more than a gerbil in and a bed that offers you more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep)...cyclist needs and all

Just returned from the Raid Pyrenees and can totally agree. 30C + heat everyday and not so cool nights (with the potential for a local mosquito invasion through open windows) meant a few sleep deprived nights. To be honest the velominati need to come up with some rule about degrees of hardness increasing for every metre climbed, for every centigrade above 20. I won't hold my breath, as someone will quote rule #5

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notfastenough [3727 posts] 4 years ago
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That's bonkers! I'd love to do it over 6 or 7 days at a decent pace though.

Good luck Mike.

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CyclingDan [39 posts] 4 years ago
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 13 Good Luck Mike. I would love to do something like this within the next few years. I believe you are based in Southampton, because that's where I am based and I'd love to get some inspiration from you.  1

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CarbonBreaker [86 posts] 4 years ago
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Woah, good luck! Makes the Haute Route in 3weeks a little paler! Mind you that is 800+ KM and 21,000m of climbing., we get 7days though!

Do hope you have an awesome lighting rig for descending Galiber in the dark.

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Leviathan [2772 posts] 4 years ago
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Who is this Les Alpes, and is he going with you?

Any symbolism in the distance?  19

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Sentral [10 posts] 4 years ago
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ScotchPoth wrote:

Fantastic itinerary,id have a go myself if i had the money,could do without the earnest intent voiceover and ludicrous melodrama of the video,its like an advertisment for some over priced Volkswagon
I bet the cost of the video would cover pretty much all the kit you would need and the airfare/hotels
Smug and pretentious springs to mind but what do you expect from a marketing executive

Douche.

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [368 posts] 4 years ago
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Only jesting with my comment,dont take it seriously
good luck with it all,hope you have a great experience

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G-bitch [327 posts] 4 years ago
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For a similar style (i.e. bonkers amount of climbing etc.) ride, you can head to Provence to ride the Mille du Sud....

https://sites.google.com/site/le1000dusud/

4th-7th September, 1000km, 16,000m climbing.

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alotronic [526 posts] 4 years ago
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Great itinerary for a weeks holiday. Even were the world full of Audax hard-men this would still be mental - good luck Mike!

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swelbo [33 posts] 4 years ago
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Not to dissimilar to my daily commute.

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usedtobefaster [200 posts] 4 years ago
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Mike,

I can't work out if you're absolutely nuts or a complete hero !!

Any chance you can come to our club during the winter and present on you're experiences? (We're west Southampton based)

Cheers
Paul

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bfslxo [144 posts] 4 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde][quote=Mike Cotty wrote:

To be honest the velominati need to come up with some rule about degrees of hardness increasing for every metre climbed, for every centigrade above 20. I won't hold my breath, as someone will quote rule #5

Love it - completely agree - every two degrees about your area's average monthly summer temp should earn you more points - trying to jog in salou last week in 30+ heat when i'm used to a standard 18/20 degree july in northern ireland was just not funny!

Mike - your about to cover all the climbs I hoped to scale over the next ten years of quick breaks if I am really really lucky - best wishes to you what an amazing achievement to put in the memory bank for future years.
Look forward to watching your progress

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David Arthur @d... [792 posts] 4 years ago
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Bonkers

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sponican [95 posts] 4 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:

Who is this Les Alpes, and is he going with you?

Any symbolism in the distance?  19

People often mix him up with his brother Des.

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Mike Cotty [65 posts] 4 years ago
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Or his cousin "Wes"  1

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Bez [612 posts] 4 years ago
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Awesome.

I freakin' love it when you almost catch yourself doing a "chapeau" at just the plan, let alone the execution.

Bon courage!

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Mike Cotty [65 posts] 4 years ago
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Thanks for all the well wishes chaps, really appreciated and definitely something I'll draw strength from in the dead of the night when underneath my skin I'm screaming.

@CyclingDan - Did you know you live in the centre of the universe?  3

@CarbonBreaker - For night vision I'll be using the Exposure Reflex front light. Anything that has oncoming car drivers flashing you to turn it down should do the trick I hope!

@UsedToBeFaster - Sounds good to me. You may have to put a time limit on it though. I've been known to talk about cycling for.....well, days at a time!

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farrell [1946 posts] 4 years ago
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Straddling a very, very fine line between genius and madness.

Looking forward to seeing this, best of luck Mike.

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adamtaylor [61 posts] 4 years ago
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Good grief, good luck.

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VecchioJo [409 posts] 4 years ago
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equal parts stupid, impressive and inspiring

“in bocca al lupo” Mike

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Roberj4 [224 posts] 4 years ago
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ScotchPoth wrote:

Only jesting with my comment,dont take it seriously
good luck with it all,hope you have a great experience

Hi Mike. For those who may not know you for the amount of work, promotion, publicity, guidance you've put into cycling over the years via the internet, forums etc especially riding abroad in the 'Sportive' area, have you moved career from Cannondale to Mavic or are you now freelance? What bike will you be using?
All the best for this next challenge.

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timothy [38 posts] 4 years ago
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Good luck Mike, what a fantastic adventure. Remember to keep it real and be safe. I liked your film, hope the one you do about the ride is as good.

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derek n clive [259 posts] 4 years ago
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Good luck to you Mike! It's an epic for sure! Did the Colombier and the Aravis just the other week (staying in La Giettaz). Watch out for the top 3 hairpins on the descent of latter – they’re really chewed up at the moment.

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