In the world of cycling, extreme is a word that can be often used when describing any number of races. Extreme climbs lead to extreme downhill racing, which requires extreme strength and, of course, extreme focus. Some of the most famous races in the world can last up to three weeks’ time, which requires extreme stamina as well. While cyclists need to be in top shape to complete any race, it’s these extreme courses that keep professional cyclists training non-stop. Here, we’ll explore 5 of the world’s hardest cycling courses.



According to, the mountainous climbs encountered in the Transpyr can inflict some of the worst pain cyclists can experience. This 8 day race begins on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and continues to San Sebastian. The race is made up of 8 stages and includes 66,000 feet of climbing along it’s 509 mile course. If biking across the Pyrenees is something you’d like to cross off your bucket list, make sure your body and mind are up for the challenge.


Race Across America

This course will take you 3,000 miles across 12 states in The United States. Designed west to east, the Race Across America – or RAAM for cycling insiders – is in it’s 35th year of testing cycling enthusiasts and professionals. Riders can expect to climb around 175,000 feet as you cross some of America’s longest rivers and most iconic scenic locations, such as the Mojave Desert and the Great Plains. The race begins in Oceanside, California and ends in Annapolis, Maryland, pushing cyclists to test their limits.


Tour de France

No list would be complete without the Tour de France, and for good reason- this well-known and high-coverage race is the world’s largest annual sporting event. This race spans across over 2,100 miles and cyclists have 3 weeks to complete this daunting multi-staged competition. The most difficult factor of the Tour de France is the speed of racing that needs to be maintained by all who participate. On average, each cyclist will ride at around 25 mph steadily over those 3 weeks.


La Ruta de los Conquistadores

This grueling race is best known for two things: being the first mountain bike race of its kind and being one of the world’s toughest courses. Taking place in Costa Rica, this individual race welcomes all who dare to take on the treacherous path through many different climates and surroundings, including volcanic mountains, sandy beaches, and the jungle. The La Ruta also invites ametuer racers to test their skills, giving each cyclist only 12 hours to finish each stage of the competition.


Cent Cols Challenge

Best described from the source, the Cent Cols Challenge involves “…climbing 100 Cols in ten days, cycling approximately 200 kms per day with 4,500 – 5,000 metres of ascension on each stage.” With the intense climbing of 100 mountains, this is another race that can cause a major amount of pain for cyclists who participate. Open to only a small amount of cyclists who feel they are up to the challenge, this race will strongly test the will of a cyclist’s body and mind.


The courses listed above are only some of the world’s most grueling. Each year, thousands of participants take on challenging courses that take intense training and skills to master. Keep checking my blog for more information on cycling and challenging courses around the globe.