The Col Collective

We’re now well into season 1 of The TORQ Fuelled Col Collective Series. Here Mike Cotty brings us the 4 latest episodes covering The Col d’Aubisuq, The Passo Galvia, Col Du Glandon and Mont Ventoux.

Col d’Aubisque – The first ever climb that we filmed as part of The Col Collective, on June 16th 2014, so for that reason alone an ascent that will always be close to my heart. I’ve been fortunate enough to ride the Col d’Aubisque from Laruns a number of times in the past and every time I get the same feeling of nervous excitement inside, knowing that at this point I’m heading deep into the high mountains. For me the Aubisque really marks the gateway to the Pyrenees and is the entrance towards a playground of cols that have not only played centre stage for the professionals in races like the Tour de France, but also for thousands of amateur and cycling enthusiasts (like me) that simply want to experience the climb for themselves. Hautacam, Tourmalet & Peyresourde all have their stories, but the Aubisque is the one that gets things started. The goal is to make it to the summit, so take your time and whatever happens don’t forget to look around and enjoy the view!

Length: 16.6km 
Summit: 1,709m
Elevation gain: 1,190m
Average gradient: 7.2%
Max gradient: 13%

 

 

Passo Gavia – I’m not quite sure as to what it is that excites me so much about the Passo Gavia? Perhaps it’s the iconic snowy images of Andy Hampsten from the 1988 Giro d’Italia that really set my imagination free as a kid? Since then, I’ve ridden it in the cold, the rain, the wind but also in glorious Italian Alps’ sunshine – the type that gently warms your soul from within as you put the whole world on pause and simply enjoy the gift of being on your bike and breathing pure mountain air. Whatever conditions I’ve faced, I always get a special feeling when I’m on the Gavia. Whilst its neighbouring Passo dello Stelvio may enjoy more of the limelight, for me, the Gavia has everything that I enjoy most about Alpine cycling – tranquility, tiny narrow roads, steep pitches, busted up tarmac and some of the most sensational scenery I’ve ever been blessed to see. Such a hard climb, but so rewarding. The Passo Gavia is absolutely one of the greatest climbs you’ll ever ride!

Length: 17.3km
Summit: 2,621m
Elevation gain: 1,363m
Average gradient: 7.9%
Max gradient: 16%

 

Col du Glandon – Once upon a time there was a guy who though it would be fun to ride 677km non-stop from Évian-les-Bains to Nice across the heart of the Alps. 11 hours from the start and with 250km in the legs, all seemed to be going ok, until he hit the latter slopes of the Glandon and suddenly beauty turned into the beast within. As the gradient begins to kick up, the wind funnels down from the top of the mountain and hangs above double figures for what seems like forever. However, don’t be put off by my lunacy! The Glandon may have made me hurt so very much in the past, but it’s also one of the most enchanting mountains I’ve ever experienced and for that reason, I find myself continually coming back for more. There are moments when you’re barely moving and then suddenly, as you approach the summit, you can feel pure life being inhaled back into your lungs. It’s as if the mountain Gods have taken a ribbon of tarmac and thrown it out of the sky from 2,000 metres to form a 20km playground of pure escapism. Now that’s the sign of a truly special climb.

Start: Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines
Length: 19.7km
Summit: 1,924m
Elevation gain: 1,441m
Average gradient: 7.3%
Max gradient: 11%

Mont Ventoux – Bédoin – Sometimes, Mother Nature deals you a joker card and other times a hand full of aces. After three days in the Pyrénées, The Col Collective was back on the road for a late night drive to Bédoin in anticipation of taming the mighty Mont Ventoux. Knowing that we only had one day to bring this mythical mountain to life, I’d been frequently checking the forecast & secretly praying to the weather Gods to be kind to us. On the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday torrential rain, near hurricane winds and thunder and lighting hammered the slopes of Ventoux. We arrived late on the Wednesday night, I couldn’t sleep, nervous at what we may face the next day. I guess all my praying paid off, as we were gifted with the best day I’ve ever seen on the mountain. Barely a breath of wind, the fresh smell of pine in the forest and high temperatures certainly helped get the legs spinning again – but such is the history of Ventoux. In my mind, this is a climb that should never be taken lightly and needs full respect no matter what! A hard section through the forest from Saint-Estève to Chalet Reynard, barely dropping below 9% gradient, followed by a final six kilometres (exposed to the elements) and all the whilst, the summit overlooks one and all from high above. One word. Unbelievable. Four words. You must ride it! 🙂
 
Start: Bédoin
Length: 21.8km
Summit: 1,912m
Elevation gain: 1,629m
Average gradient: 7.4%
Max gradient: 12%
 
 

We hope you are enjoying the series as much as we are! The good news is that there is still plenty more to come. Look out for the new Col Collective website, which is due to be launched in the coming days.

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