The world’s hardest hill climb: Can Ollie Bridgewood complete the Taiwan KOM Challenge?
Ollie follows in the footsteps of many former WorldTour pros by attempting to conquer the mighty Wuling Pass and complete the world’s toughest hill climb
Online Production Editor
From having a reputation for being dropped on rides, Ollie Bridgewood has transformed into the strongest climber amongst the GCN presenters. He’s backed that up by completing some of the toughest climbing challenges in the world, most recently the Tour de Stations Ultimate 1000. At 1,012km with nearly 27,000m of climbing, it’s one of the toughest ultra fondos in the world, but it wasn’t enough to deter Ollie who reached new levels of suffering as he finished the event in 71 hours and 54 minutes.
Ollie’s thirst for a challenge wasn’t quenched by that, so he quickly set his sights on a new one: the Taiwan KOM Challenge. It’s the longest, hardest and highest hill climb challenge in the world.
Tackling the mighty Wuling Pass, the event pushes riders to the limits with an 83 km-stretch of uphill tarmac that climbs all the way from sea level up to 3275m. That’s higher than the tallest mountain in Germany, and eclipses the maximum elevation encountered at the 2023 Tour de France by nearly 1000m. At those lofty altitudes, most riders lose 30% of their power output, at a point when the over 50 kilometres of climbing has already left energy supplies depleted.
With those kinds of figures, it’s no surprise that the event attracts pros as well as amateurs. Four-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali won the men’s event in 2017, while current women’s pro Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio triumphed in the women’s race in 2019.
Ollie doesn’t have a background in pro cycling to fall back on, but he could take solace from the fact that fellow GCN presenter Si Richardson completed the challenge back in 2017.
For the event, he could also rely on some seriously cool tech, including the TRIGON AR01 - a bike he teamed up with at the Tour des Stations. The bike was paired with Rotor’s 2INpower SL power meter, along with a super lightweight Elitewheels wheelset, to create a pure climbing machine.
With the help of this top tech, could Ollie complete the Taiwan KOM Challenge? Watch the full video at the top of the page to find out.
Check out more challenges and adventures on the lifestyle section of the GCN website, linked here.
Online Production Editor
Tom is our Online Production Editor who creates tech content for the GCN website