Col de Joux Plane

Col de Joux Plane Summit
Date: 26th June 2023
Ride No. 62
Grade: 9/10
Location: Samoens

Segment ID:16641115
My Time: 1:20:53





Good and bad ideas

During the last four days, I had ridden 8 mountain climbs.

A good idea might be to ride just the one today.

A bad idea, however, might choose the Col de Joux Plane.

The Col is a famous test for the Tour de France with its 9-12% gradient stretching over 11.5Kms.

They rated the Col du Joux Plane at 9/10 and it sure is.

Straight out of Samoens and you are straight into it.


Flashing to the bends.

As I fought my way up, the first Km I was confronted by the dreaded roadworks

At first I thought, this was a road closed problem to ‘negotiate’. I continued and bounced over several thick steel plates on the road and saw the traffic lights flashing amber.

Sprint time!

I raced along the single road lane, gasping for air in the 36C heat.

There was little time to recover before three menacing hairpins.

There was no relief on these hairpins.

They swept round and up without the slightest gradient drop.

As I rounded one bend and thinking that was tough, another met me and then another.

It will not get any easier, I said to myself.

There was not even any respite from the sun, either.

Any opportunity to duck into some shade was rare, and the slight breeze that occasionally blew was the same temperature.

No heroics today. It was time to drop a gear to control heart rate and pace.

Up the climb, a group of three French cyclists pedalling a high cadence passed me.

They were riding well and competently, but even their manner suggested it was a tough day for them too.

Divide by 10 multiply by 6

Further up the climb, I passed two cyclists who had found a shaded spot to rest.

A fumbled out a quick, “Ok?” and they nodded back, so up I continued.

For once I was thinking a puncture or a small mechanical issue might be welcome, but the Brompton wasn’t playing that game.

With the Garmin showing an imperial distance of 5miles in 58mins pace, it was time for some quick maths.

3Km still to go!

Thinking whether to consider it 8Km down or less than 2 miles to put a positive angle on the distance left helped to take my mind off the struggle.

1Km to go and it’s all positive now.

At the top, I am greeted by the three French cyclists for my effort.

I try to respond as best as I could, and I think they got the message that I found it tough.

I could now take in the landscape, which I only briefly paid attention to on the ascent.

 It was magnificent, justified the effort (so I told myself) and photos were mandatory.

The descent was alarming and needed full concentration.

A false manoeuvre on the bends had two options.

The lucky one would be skidding along the road, the other was Thelma and Louise.

Great and sharp

As I approached halfway down the descent, I hit the brakes hard.

A farmhouse/café with a garden had caught my eye on the ascent and I thought it might be a good photo.

“Why not go in?” I thought.

At first, I discounted the idea but thought that missing this charming stop is something I might have regretted.

It was as delightful an experience as it promised.

A great cup of coffee and a sharp of lemon tart.

It was time to relax, take it all in and appreciate that the effort in climbing Joux Plane was well worth it.