Trans Cycling Challenges, Point to Point Challenges, Journeys of a lifetime – there are many different names for them but there is one thing that is consistent: a Trans Cycling Challenge is an unforgettable, epic adventure! In this post we will explore which we think are the best.
What is a Trans Cycling Challenge?
A challenging point to point ride by bicycle from one place to another. Riding from point to point has a long history in cycling, indeed, it is the basis of most stage races. Usually this is designed to showcase two different towns with the start and finish locations having requested and paid to be in the spotlight.
Can a Cycling Challenge make a Good Holiday?
But how do Trans Cycling Challenges translate to cycling vacations? There is a real sense of adventure in riding from A to B, using your bike to propel you from one place to another with an end goal in sight that is very different to simply riding loops out of one location. With the greater sense of adventure comes greater challenge and risk, and with that a huge sense of satisfaction from completing the journey.
Riding a point-to-point route means you get to see more, each day brings a new challenge, a new location, new scenery to enjoy from the saddle and new cuisine to enjoy post-ride, it is the ultimate way to get the most out of a cycling vacation.
Our Top Three Trans Cycling Challenges
So, now that you know what a trans cycling challenge is and that they can make for great holidays let’s now look at our top 3 trans cycling challenges – the Trans Pyrenees, the Trans Dolomites and the new kid in town, the Trans Andalucia!
This is the original Trans Challenge. The first ever Eat Sleep Cycle Tour was a version of our current Trans Pyrenees tour (from Girona to Biarritz) and it remains one of our absolute favourite routes to ride.
Starting from our base in Girona the journey takes you north to the Catalan Pyrenees and the beautiful La Pobla de Lillet before crossing the border into France the following day. From there, the route covers a total of thirteen cols including some of the most prominent climbs of the Tour de France; the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin and more before reaching the final destination – the beautiful coastal city of San Sebastian.
The characteristics of the Pyrenees mean that the landscape is rugged and varied, making for spectacular views and stunning climbs and descents which then give way to the rolling roads of the Basque Country.
Trans Pyrenees Tour Highlights
- La Pobla de Lillet – a beautiful hidden gem in the Catalan pre-Pyrenees, this picturesque ‘pueblo’ is home to the Artigas Gardens designed by Antoni Gaudi and our accommodation of choice is El Castell de la Pobla de Lillet, a castle from the year 1297!
- Col du Tourmalet – the iconic Col of the Tour de France is a must-ride for every cyclist looking to challenge themselves. This year featuring as a stage finish promising plenty of excitement!
- The ‘Cirque du Litor’ – this is incredible section of road links the Col du Soulour to the Col d’Aubisque. Roughly translated as the avalanche circle, this is one of the last roads to open in Spring.
Looking for more of a Cycling Challenge?
The Raid Pyrenees is a 100 hour epic ride from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean via set check-points.
The Trans Dolomites Challenge traverses the Carnic Alps to the Italian Dolomites and across to the Italian Alps. Bookmarked by the mighty Monte Zoncolan and the legendary Passo Mortirolo and Passo Gavia with a whole host of renowned climbs of the Giro d’Italia and beautiful scenery in between it promises to test and excite in equal measure.
The beauty of this route lies in the drastically varying landscape. From the stunningly picturesque limestone rock faces of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites to the characterful Italian Alps that contrast with their polished French counterpart.
Trans Dolomites Tour Highlights
- Monte Zoncolan – the iconic climb of the Giro d’Italia, this beast is considered by many to be the toughest climb in cycling!
- Passo Stelvio – built in the years 1820 – 1825 this 48 km stretch of road connects the Valtellina in the south-west with Val Venosta in the north-east. Over 70 hairpins take the road to a leg-cramping 2,757 m altitude.
- Passo Gavia – stunning, every changing, scenery and a pitch black tunnel characterise this 17.3 km killer climb. Perhaps best known for the heroic efforts of American Andy Hampsten who battled with apocalyptic, snowy conditions to seal the Giro d’Italia pink jersey in 1988.
- Passo Mortirolo – synonymous with the late, great El Pirata – Marco Pantani – of whom you will find a tribute on the climb itself as you battle with the 10-20% gradients!
Meet our local Guide in the Italian Mountains
If you book a Trans Dolomites Tour then there is a good chance you’ll meet Mario, our local guide to the Italian mountains!
Where are you from?
Italy – a little town called Conegliano, 40 km from Venice
Where do you live?
In my hometown
What drew you to cycling and why?
I’ve always be passionate about the bicycle. I started working for the French brand Mavic & I had to start practicing riding to be able to give feedback on the apparel and products I was selling. Since then it became my biggest passion.
What’s your favourite thing about guiding?
That I made a job out of my passion and the fact that I can share my time with people who share my same passion – it comes pretty easy to me.
Describe your favourite climb?
Lots of climbs & cold weather! There’s a pass called Passo San Boldo 10 km from where I live – its quite atypical, breathtaking with tunnels. I love mountains!
Tell me about the best meal you’ve had in Italy
My Grandma’s – torn between risotto & sausage & potato – she was also from the mountains so its a typical dish.
What do you do when you’re not cycling?
In the winter when its too cold to cycle – I’ve been a cross-country skier since I was a kid so when I have a chance I head to the mountains.
The Trans Challenge new kid in town but already a firm favourite amongst both guests and staff, the Trans Andalucia challenge is a cycling dream. We recently waxed lyrical on this blog on the beauty of cycling in Andalucia, the smooth roads, the gentle climbs, the weather and the culture together make it a paradise for a cycling holiday.
Starting from Almeria and heading west to Seville via the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada, the ancient Moorish city of Antequera, Ronda & Arcos de la Frontera it is a tour filled with as much cultural interests as riding, not to mention the food!
Trans Andalucia Tour Highlights
- Caminito del Rey – The 2015 Vuelta was the first road race to visit the ‘Pathway of the King’. Short and sweet is the best way to describe this 4 km climb. With ramps of up to 15% legs are likely to sting as the road winds its way up to a restaurant and a dead end.
- Ronda – The mountaintop city famous for its Moorish history and the iconic Puente Nuevo bridge over a deep gorge which separates the new and the old town.
- Granada – There is yet more history to discover in Granada famous for the stunning Alhambra, which started life as a fortress, before being transformed into a palace in the mid 13th century.
Trans Cycling Challenges – Start Your Journey Now
Each of the Trans Cycling Challenges about will give a cycling experience like no other and all of our tours can be tailored to your needs. If you’d like to start the journey of a lifetime give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online for more info!
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