With the Ultra Bike Pursuit series, we’ve crafted ultra road cycling challenges that deliver an unbeatable combination of an incredible range of mountain landscapes, extreme challenges, and an itinerary and rules that facilitate interaction between participants.
The Adventure: Discovering spectacular and diverse landscapes
The Challenge: Pushing through boundaries far beyond our comfort zones
The Friendship: Meeting great people who share the same passion for cycling, travel, adventure and crazy challenges
Our combined Tourmalet and Hautacam Pursuits feature most of the Pyrenees mountain climbs. They include all the major mountain climbs featured in the history of the Tour de France. You’ll ride into history through iconic mountain stages and climbs and experience diverse and awe-inspiring scenery that will leave you breathless. You choose if you want your challenge to be a pure road adventure or mixed with fun Gravel sections.
Simply put: there is no tougher ultra road-cycling bikepacking itinerary on earth. If you haven’t reached your limit yet, you will on either the Tourmalet or the Hautacam Pursuits. If you're an absolute machine, try a combination of both challenges in sequence. Luckily, there are also short-loop options.
If you love cycling mountains on a road bike, these are bucket-list rides. If you love mixed Roads and Gravel, you'll love the optional gravel sections.
In our experience, ultra bikepacking events attract a fantastic crowd of passionate, friendly people. Incredible friendships are forged on Ultras. The only drawback is that usually people meet at the start but don’t see each other during the events. We’ve done two things to facilitate social interaction during our Ultra Bike Pursuit challenges:
1) We authorize drafting. You may think this is unfair to those who will not get an opportunity to draft. The short answer is that drafting opportunities will be almost nonexistent as there are virtually no flat roads. It’s nearly impossible to draft while climbing on such demanding courses with fully loaded bikes. We believe that drafting will make no difference in time. On the other hand, it will allow people who randomly meet during the event to ride a little together without worrying about being called cheaters by other participants or dot-watchers. That said, group and team drafting are banned (read the drafting fine lines in our rules below).
2) The other thing we’ve done to facilitate more socializing is that we’ve designed our itinerary so that some roads crisscross each other. This will give people who may be a day or more apart the opportunity to meet in some places and maybe share a meal or a camp when they would never have met on a more linear itinerary.
We've also designed a short-loop that will allow couples and friends with varying abilities to possibly meet more than once during the event. In addition, we’ve added a modular approach that includes optional sections for people who would like to attempt the full loop to opt for a time bonus if needed and skip the optional sections while still finishing within the allowed 6 days. You’ll love the intricacies of these itineraries.
Tourmalet Pursuit (Sept 6) and Hautacam Pursuit (Sept 11)
Hardcore and Adventure Loops: 249 Euros
Discovery Loops: 149 Euros
Ultimate Pyrenees Pursuit (Sept 6)
Hardcore and Adventure Loops: 349 Euros
2020 Inauguration Launch - Discounted Prices
For our 2020 inauguration launch, the first 15 participants who register for any of our three challenges (Tourmalet, Hautacam or Ultimate Pyrenees) will receive a 50 Euro discount from the above listed prices with the coupon code "UBP50".
Your entry fee
A unique bikepacking itinerary
Up to 12 days of Live tracking with MaprogressTourmalet Pursuit (Sept 6) and Hautacam Pursuit (Sept 11) Hardcore and Adventure Loops: 249 Euros Discovery Loops: 149 Euros Ultimate Pyrenees Pursuit (Sept 6) Hardcore and Adventure Loops: 349 Euros A Finisher Medal for all finishers
A Finisher certificate
Prices do not include the rental of your GPS Tracker. If you do not own a GPS Spot tracker, you may rent one for 50 Euros.
With over 30 years of experience leading expeditions and guiding across a myriad of outdoor activities across multiple countries and terrain, organizer Jean-Philippe Soulé is also a certified USA Cycling Coach and licensed professional French cycling guide. He offers 17 years of experience in designing and guiding unique cycling tours to Europe’s best mountain destinations, and he has organized multiple cycling fundraising events.
The Ultra Bike Pursuit series is organized by Jean-Philippe’s French-registered “Grand Tours Cycling” guiding company. This is the same cycling guide corporation that organizes and operates the VéloTopo cycling tours in Europe. VéloTopo, a U.S.-based tour operator, is a main sponsor of the Ultra Bike Pursuit series.
When designing the Ultra Mountain Pursuit series, Jean-Philippe wanted to ensure that cyclists riding any 100 km section from anywhere on the courses would say “That’s the most spectacular mountain ride I’ve ever ridden.” Imagine cycling 500 to 2700 km of these sublime itineraries in a single event!
Jean-Philippe has pursued challenges his entire life, not just any random physical challenges, but unique challenges that overwhelm the senses. He searches for the world’s best scenery, fabulous cultural discoveries, and life-changing human encounters. He often says, “Life is too short for any dull moments.”
It’s with this philosophy that Jean-Philippe designed every inch of the Ultra Bike Pursuit series. These are itineraries that will make you smile, cry, and deeply move you.
These are solo, self-supported, self-sufficient, self-timed one-stage events. The clock doesn't stop until you cross the finish line.
From the start, you carry with you any pieces of equipment, clothing or supplies you think you may need. Any services must always be commercially available to all participants and not pre-arranged. No private resupply, no private lodging. Support vehicles aren’t allowed. Family members and friends may meet you and cheer you on along the course but should not provide you with any type of assistance.
You may camp or stay in hotels or other forms of commercial lodging. You may eat at restaurants, cafes, or purchase food in any commercial venues.
You may not ship any supplies, gear, clothing or anything else to pre-arranged hotels, bike shops, post-offices or other people.
All Ultra Bike Pursuits events follow a specific itinerary. You use a GPS satelite tracker for people to follow your progress Live. There are a few required photo checkpoints.
Skipping any unauthorized sections (except due to extreme conditions such as flooding, construction, or road closure) will automatically remove you from the event. There are however options of distances ranging from 500km to 2700km with optional gravel sections.
Yes, you may still continue to ride an event and be a finisher if you’ve skipped one or more of the authorized climbs. You’ll receive “bonus” time for each section you skip.
We’ve calculated the added time for each skipped section to be significantly more than the amount of time we believe the average participant would take to ride that section. This is to be fair and account for the additional energy other participants will expend riding these sections.
Why are we allowing people to skip some of the climbs?
Your safety and enjoyment are our most important considerations, and we believe the Hardcore itineraries are so difficult that many people may realize during the event that they will either not be able to physically ride all climbs, or not be able to do so within the cut-out times.
We want all participants to enjoy every moment of their adventure and remain safe. This modular concept allows people who may realize that they aren’t quite able to ride the entire challenge to still complete, enjoy the event, and finish within the allowed timeframe. They’ll appear on a separate finisher board from those having completed the full loop.
People may also opt to ride a shorter-loop route from the start. The shortest "Discovery" loops are approximately 500 km, the mid-distance "Adventure" loops are 1000 km and the longest Hardcore loops are between 1300 and 1400 km. Only the Ultimate Pyrenees Pursuit double these distances.
Cyclists skipping any other sections than those authorized will be considered to have scratched.
All cyclists are welcome without any required qualifications to enter one of the 500 km Discovery loops. We recommend you to be an experienced cyclist. Experience in one or more one-day cyclosportives is not required, but highly recommended.
To enter a 1000 km Adventure loop, you need to have some cyclosportive, bikepacking or ultra-endurance experience. We recommend that you ride a minimum of 7,000 km per year (at least 4,000 km prior to the start of this event). There is no required qualification, but when registering please tell us about your experience.
To enter a Hardcore loop, you need to qualify by having successfully participated in a major ultra bikepacking race or a very select one-day ultra cyclosportive.
If you haven’t successfully finished one of these qualifying events, please write us to explain your experience and why you believe you would safely be able to participate in and complete one of the Ultra Bike Pursuit challenges. Because of the tremendous challenge level of these Hardcore loops, we will only accept participants we are convinced may have a chance to complete the event safely. We recommend that inexperienced ultra bikepacking cyclists hone their skills and gain experience with a Discovery or Adventure loop or through one of the Hardcore qualifying events listed here...
Hardcore Loop Automatic Qualifiers (non-exclusive)
Finishers of any of the excellent and tough Bikingman races.
Trans Am Bike Race
All finishers as well as all those who have reached the Nice checkpoint.
Paris-Brest-Paris or 1000 km Brevet
Finishers of a Paris-Brest-Paris or any similar 1000km brevet.
One-Day Cyclosportive Finishers
• Tour du Mont-Blanc
• La Purito
Succesfully finishing an Ultra Bike Pursuit Discovery or Adventure loop will qualify you to enter a Hardcore loop for the following three years.
We’ve simplified the logistics so that you may concentrate all your time and effort on enjoying the event without worrying about the logistics of traveling to a start location and finishing in another.
Each or these Ultra Bike Pursuits will start and end in the same place: the convenient town of Lourdes.
Lourdes is set at the entrance of the Argeles-Valley, heart of the Hautes-Pyrenees. It’s a world-famous pilgrimage town, which means that it offers numerous hotels and restaurants to choose from and it is very easy to access.
Lourdes has its own airport as well as a train station. There are direct trains to Toulouse, Pau, and Biarritz. These three towns have larger international airports.
The start and end of each event will be at one of our partner’s hotels. They will keep your bike case plus one piece of luggage in a storage room during the duration of your event. If you ride both the Tourmalet and Hautacam events, you’ll be able to resupply between the two.
There is a good bike shop adjacent to the start/finish line.
You may use any type of transportation to reach a town or location to receive health or mechanical services and to return to the exact place you left the course. You must restart cycling from where you’ve stopped and from that point you are back in the challenge and should no longer receive any outside assistance.
After the first 24 hours, it is mandatory to take a 3-hour rest stop every 24 hours. This 3-hour period can be split into two periods of 1 hour 30’.
Any participant who does not rest a minimum of two 1 hour 30’ periods or one 3-hour time period during each 24-hour period after the first day (no limit on Day 1), will not qualify to finish the challenge.
We understand that most ultra-races do not impose any mandatory rest time and that some people strive to push their no-sleep boundaries, however, it is dangerous enough to fall asleep while riding on a flat countryside road. Falling asleep on a mountain pass descent would significantly increase the risk of a serious crash.
Your safety is our prime concern. We felt it was in the best interest of all participants to decrease the risk of falling asleep by imposing a minimum rest period. This will not remove any of the incredible challenge these events offer.
All experienced Ultra bikepackers know that fighting sleep may be their greatest challenge and that eventually (no matter how tough people are or how much pain they can withstand), no one can remain awake when the body shuts down.
A guaranteed 3 hours of daily rest will help participants stay safe without worrying about losing precious time.
Drafting participants that you randomly meet during the Ultra Bike Pursuits is allowed on moutain climbs. Group and Team Drafting are not allowed. This authorized random drafting is not meant to be a planned team drafting for one or more person or to allow a club or group of people to help each other on the entire ride. It is intended to allow participants who meet randomly to share a bit of their adventure by riding some climbs together. Participants who registered as solo cyclists, but who belong to the same club or wear the same uniform are not allowed to draft as it would be considered as planned team drafting.
Participants registered as pairs: are permitted to draft each other during the entire event while wearing the same sponsored uniform.