So, after cycling 5,300km – yes, 5,300km! – around the UK, they’ve only gone and done it. Dom Millar, James Findlater and Graham Salisbury made it up the 100 climbs of their mammoth challenge earlier this week. And Velocity is a bit in awe.
The trio bowled into Guildford on Tuesday having climbed the equivalent of nine Everests or 260 Shards in 29 days, raising some £50,000 for charity, and accompanied on the last pull up Swains Lane by Simon Warren, the man whose book started it all.
"Done it," said Millar as he rode the last stretch. "Bloody done it."
Millar said that he had been impressed by his two partners in climb (copyright, Velocity Magazine), who sprinted up many of the hills, making it onto the all-time leaders’ board in many instances. And, speaking a day after returning, he revealed that his body woke him up as normal at 6.10 on the dot – relaxing will take some getting used to.
Anyway, after it was all over, we asked Mr Millar some more questions about the whole caboodle. But hey, chapeau…
V: Which of the 100 was the hardest climb?
DM: We’ve been asked that a lot and our answer changed as we went around Great Britain.
There are a lot of factors: how tired we were when we did the climb, the length, the gradient, the weather and of course if you attack it or grind it out (which was my preferred option!). And then there’s the rating each climb gets in Simon Warren’s book. On paper, Hardknott Pass (10/10), Rosedale Chimney (10/10) or Bealach-na-Ba (11/10) should be the tough ones, right? They were indeed all very challenging (and stunningly beautiful), but personally I still remember Crowcombe Combe in Somerset as a killer. It’s only an 8/10 in the book, but it was relentless, ending in a 21% ramp without any respite at all.
And of course there was the 40% ramp of Fford Penllech in Harlech. Ridiculously steep, but thankfully only 300m long. It was an interesting experience doing it at the end of our eighth consecutive day of 100-plus miles. We all got up it though.
V: What was the easiest climb?
DM: Probably Box Hill. None of the others were a steady 5%. There’s the odd exception but overall the climbs we all know in the South East don’t compare with those of the other regions.
V: What’s your overall feeling now?
DM: That we’ve just come back from an amazing adventure! Of course we’re elated that the three of us, and the 100 riders who joined us, made it around in one piece without incident. And we didn’t fall out with each other, either! Physically I think we rode into to it to a certain extent, but I’ve not been on a bike for two days now and my legs still hurt as much as they did on day two. Strangely, I’m not as tired as I expected and there have been no long lie-ins, unfortunately.
V: What’s next?
DM: Apart from cycling to MAPIC in November with Club Peloton, I’ve no plans at all. Personally, I’m not looking to do anything quite as extreme again, but we do like a challenge apparently…
And we’re looking forward to someone else having a go at bettering our little piece of obscure cycling history. I hope we’ve started something.