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Big Ring 3- Alps 2

Big Ring 3- Alps 2 Searching t’web for peoples opinions of the toughest climbs in the alps, there are loads of different no 1s. The easiest way is to probably look at what climbs are “off category” in the Tour De France, and then look at which climbs don’t get used because they are too steep. In terms of distance of the climb and elevation, some of the classics are regarded as being the hardest, such as the Col Du Galibier, and last weekends jaunt up the Col De La Madeleine. I’ll do the Galibier in a few days and make comment. There are also the highest climbs such as the Col Du L’Iseran which is the highest of the passes, the Col Du L’Arpettaz with its twice as many hairpins as Alp D’Huez and then the not to be mistaken Col De La Grand Colombiere with its 4 different ascents, and a few places having a 22% gradient. This one does not get used in the tour. One climb came up a few times though that was worth a look today is one that on some scoreing systems for difficulty beats the Galibier. Mont Du Chat, at the South West side of Lac D ???? It is 40 miles away from my hotel, but the route there included climbing over LE Semnoz, again….which is nice. On a stupidly hot day for a Welshman to be out (33-34 degrees) the route to Aix-Les-Bains was relatively easy, because you are always dropping altitude and start the climb at around 200m. No gimmies here. The climb…having to ascend a private road to get to the official climb start put pay to any big ring action as it was 22% for about 500m. Not too difficult but I needed to conserve the strength (of which there was not a lot today). The climb to Mont Du Chat was an absolute beast. The great thing about the Garming Edge is that it tells you the gradient all the way. From the off, I never saw single figures. Ranging between 11 and 15% all the way up long swithcbacks in relentless heat. There is forest coverage but the sun was right above. 1 hour and 5 mins of hurt, to do 8 miles. However, the view was worth it and straight ahead of me was my 3rd climb of the day, LE Grand Revard. Le Revard resort is the same altitude but you have 15 miles rather than 8. 70 miles into the ride, the water runs low and I’m checking every villige for a well. Starting the actual Revard pass on no fluid, tired, dehydrated and overheating was no fun. Its not a hard climb, average around 7-8% but I was looking for a well on every corner. Eventually after about 40 mins of climbing, I found one…..filled the bottles, emptied them, filled them again…..then sat in the well. Not only was it cold but it was ice cold…superb!!! Onwards to the top and over. A nice descent but smacked a pot hole hard and snake bite puncture on the front wheel. The C02 chuck was a piece of crap and only managed about 40psi before leaking everywhere so the rest of the descent became a bit tentative. The final climb back up to Col de Leshaux was relatively easy but the Semnoz was calling. Unfortunately with a dodgy front tyre, I had to pass and just keep the ride to 110 miles. Another stupidly tough day in the saddle but a really testing day out and certainly Mont Du Chat is up there as one of the toughest.

14 August 2009

Comments

  • Hywel

    Lac Du Bourget was indeed the lake. Really great climb, and back over the Revard. Fantastic ride and great climbs

  • Regis

    Hello, "One climb came up a few times though that was worth a look today is one that on some scoreing systems for difficulty beats the Galibier. Mont Du Chat, at the South West side of Lac D ???? " It is the lake of bourget, The bigger natural lake of France ! Lucky guy ! See you soon there.