The Huy wall, Michel Thomé climbed it 66 times in 36 hours: the story of an incredible challenge

2024-04-14 16:02:54

As an aperitif, you can enjoy a long-distance trip between Marchin and Nantes. That’s almost 800 kilometers in 8 days. The test is conclusive and serves as a launching pad for other ideas, at the forefront of which he places a “Everesting challenge” with the Mur de Huy in the background.

231 km and 8,930 meters of elevation gain

“The idea of ​​this challenge is to reach the height of the highest mountain in the world (Everest, 8,849 meters) by accumulating the climbs of the same hill and not stopping more than the time for a brief rest or refuelingcontinues Michel Thomé (58 years old today). Living nearby, the Mur de Huy was ideal. It’s a legendary coast. I was also looking for a strong symbolic side, because I had decided to talk as much as possible regarding my attempt since I had backed it with fundraising for charity. The finale of La Flèche, which we know from seeing it every year on TV, was ideal from this point of view.”

A lot of training, three months of diligent bodybuilding to strengthen muscles that were going to suffer: Michel Thomé set off for the first of his climbs at 5 a.m., one day at the end of August 2018. “The biggest challenge of my life”, he still smiles today, when he thinks back to his 36 hours in the saddle and ultimately 66 climbs (and 66 descents) of the Mur Hutois. Calmly, at his own pace, pushing a very small gear on a touring bike weighing almost 15 kilos (we are far from the 7 kilos of machines used by professionals…), our man stopped the counter at 231 terminals and 8,930 meters of D+. And obviously, 66 climbs, a new record, the old known number being, it seems, 25.

“I might as well tell you that I know this coast relatively well nowhe smiles. Its chapels, the stele of Claudy Criquielion in the bend that bears his name, its summit which seems so high…”

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“The road keeps getting up there…”

As an amateur, what does he think? “Until halfway, it’s still okayhe replies. It’s following that that it gets tough. The road keeps rising. You have the famous Criquielion bend, named following the former double winner, where the slope is around 22%. Another turning point, then the last passage, which is really very difficult. I was very happy not to have to grow too big, as they say, in this place. It was low gear…”

Since then, Michel Thomé has climbed this hill regarding fifteen more times. Above all, he took on other personal challenges (Le Ventoux on its 3 sides, i.e. 138 km and 4374 D + without stopping), Northern Europe (Noordkaap, in Norway) to the south (Tarifa, in Spain ), or 6,500 km with 30 kilos of luggage in 89 days…

And then, he saw his Mur de Huy record fall, with a Dutch speaker, a certain Joeri Deleener, who managed to climb the Mur 83 times, on August 27, 2023.

That is five years, to the day, following the exploit of our resident of Marchin.

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