I’m not in a hurry

My fascination with Deux Mille cols in one word: – Freedom!

Being in the mountains, especially the small and empty roads, makes me feel very small and humble, but it also gives me a ‘king of the world’ feeling. My overall target is to be as much in the mountains as possible, which is quite hard for people like me, who live in the northern part of The Netherlands. My target until 2019 was to ride the course of Race Across The Alps (RATA); I managed to do that, which still gives me energy and a great feeling.

I would love to make an attempt to do a route I once saw that includes seven 2000m+ cols: Izoard – Agnel – Sampeyre – Fauniera – Lombarde – Bonnette – Vars. I don’t know if I will ever try, but making plans and having dreams are significant. Other (more realistic) targets: I still have not done some of the most beautiful cols yet. I hope to do them in the following years, amongst others Finestre and Nivolet.

It’s hard to pick a favorite col. In the Alps, I like Agnello (Italian side), Iseran (south side), Timmelsjoch (Italian side), Grimsel (both sides) and Manghen (south side.) In the Pyrenees, I love Portet, Pailheres (east side,) and in the Dolomites, you will find the best small roundtrip in the world: Gardena – Sella – Pordoi – Campolongo (Sella Ronda.)

Riding cols is great. I love to do it as much as possible. It can be done as a sport (once in a while, I try to speed up,) but I like it most when I’m not in a hurry. The best days are when things come together, enjoying nature and having great legs simultaneously.

– Wim Strijker

Back to my true self

Living in the Netherlands, the mountains always have had a majestic attraction. As soon as I felt the gradient and saw the views when I did my first climb, I knew this was going to be something I would be doing the rest of my life and I needed a new and bigger challenge. This is how I started looking for the climbs above 2.000 meters.

There’s something special about them, the altitude, the oxygen and the complete solitude and different landscapes you get sometimes. This is truly unique about Deux Mille cols. For me, climbing the greatest cols, brings me back to my true self. Just me and the mountain, nothing but nature and human performance. Putting my body to work, and getting into the flow with all the scenery as a big reward for the effort. Leaving busy society behind and truly come to peace. It fully charges my mental battery.

When I look at all the beautiful places it has taken me, I am truly thankful and know I will be climbing the Deux Mille cols for the rest of my life. There is nothing more beautiful than riding in the fantastic scenery of the Dolomites or Swiss Alps. I have set a 100 unique Deux Mille cols life goal, to make sure I keep exploring new area’s.

– Dirk Tenten

Col-hunting is freedom

We knew each other from Instagram, but by coincidence we met at the top of Col d’Izoard. What are the chances? Our Deux Mille ambassador, Paolo Stroppiana, had taken on a massive ride from Turin. Our group had only started 90 mins earlier from Briancon.

Paolo is an independent ski instructor in Courchevel 1850 during the winter months, while he rides the highest cols during the summer.

To describe col-hunting in one word, the answer is easy: “Freedom!”

“I can take all the time in the world climbing cols. It doesn’t matter how fast I ride or how hard it is, because at the some point there will be the descent. I want to do as many cols as I can. I want to fill my eyes with the beauty of the mountains and the nature.

Every col is a different landscape, a different effort, a different experience, but it’s worth any single meter of it. My favorite col is Galibier.”

– Paolo Stroppiana

The journey is the reward

No one knows the Swiss Alps quite like Bruno Reis. The Deux Mille ambassador lives near Luzern with easy access to some of the greatest cols in Europe.

– My mother grew up a few kilometers from a Deux Mille climb. Maybe this is why I always loved to ride in the mountains. I am thrilled to live just around the corner from some big alpine climbs.

Bruno’s comprehensive list of climbs tally to more than 85 cols. To describe his love for the cols in one word he promptly points to: Passion!

– I prefer deadends or at least climbs with less traffic. My favorite cols are Colle del Finestre, Col du Sanetsch, Colle del Nivolet and Lago del Narèt.

To Bruno it is not about watts and KOMs.

– I love new roads and sometimes challenge myself on a climb. In the end it doesn’t matter if you ride fast or suffer: the journey is the reward.

– Bruno Reis

Living parallel to society

To live this life, I trade comfort for freedom. I did was supposed to be a good master’s degree in France. I was expected to have a very straight-forward life.

When you live remotely, you live parallel to society. I don’t watch news anymore. You see so much sad information. My world is totally different. If I had to make a newspaper every day, it would be a beautiful life.

When I decided to ride all the paved cols in the Pyrenees and Alps in one season, it was for the love of the mountains. The biggest limits we set are set by ourselves. Just explode that limit. I had to take on the challenge.

A basic day for me is about 100-120 kilometers on the bike.  I like the idea of being at peace. I have a lot of time to think on the bike. Before it gets dark, I need to find a place to camp and take care of my hygiene, basically showering in a village fountain or jumping in a lake.

I don’t think I could be really happy in a normal relationship. When I’m with people I’d like to be alone, but when I’m alone I feel it’d great to have someone to talk to.

– Maximillian Schnell

Giving up brick and mortar

After a year or two trying to grab a week here and there, we decided to do a longer, 6 week trip in summer 2020 to travel around Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France. We plotted a rough route and checked out all the cols we could do in that area. But, such as life, we returned to the U.K. only wanting more! A week, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, it was never enough and we wanted to be in the mountains all the time. So, getting more serious about how we could make this life a reality, we gave up bricks and mortar in 2021 and went full time on the road. We adapted to remote working and It’s the best thing we ever did, allowing us to spend the majority of the summer across Europe enjoying cycling to the fullest.

– Von Rees & Jason Holder