Col de la Colombiere

Descending jacket on and ready top go - Col de la Colombiere
Date: 27th June 2023
Ride No. 63
Grade: 7/10
Location: Cluses

Segment ID:16636854
My Time: 1:29:02






Today is camp moving day and the usual game of playing Toyota Tetris with the packing.

It always amazes me how much the small Yaris can hold.

With everything packed, I headed off to Thones, for my new campsite at Tangines via the Col de la Colombiere.


Where do I start

The Col, starting at Cluses with its 7/10  rating and an average of  6.5% over 17.3Kms was an ideal ride for the day.

Roadworks, road closures, and diversions all reared their heads to frustrate my search for the start point, but after a noisy and dusty scenic tour, through the dusty and busy streets of Cluses I had found it.

The start was unfortunately on a busy road, but after a few Kms of gentle gradient, the road quietened, and the gradient lifted to 8%. Now I was climbing.

The 8% gradient did not feel too demanding as I climbed up the smooth road with an occasional cool breeze brushing past me. Perfect.

At 9Kms the forest clears, and the views open as you arrive in the village of Le Reposoir with its wooden chalets and masses of red flower.

The delightful village Le Reposoir is on a plateau, and it almost seems wrong to move into a larger gear for some speed.

Of course, this idyllic Km cannot last, and it’s not long before the gradient changes to wake you up the transcendental mindset.

There is no snooze button on this alarm clock, just the rude awakening.  10% quickly followed the 8% kick and just to make sure you were back in focus, an occasional 13% made an appearance.

What are the chances?

With rock faces on either side, the summit was coming into view.

In true Tour de France style, I emptied my water bottle and sprinted for the line.
(Well, in my mind I did. It was probably more of a half-arsed grunt and a laboured heave in reality).

Now the photos.

Next to the auberge stood the Col de la Colombiere summit where a young lady rider was currently recording her climbing achievement.

“Quick”, I thought, there is my potential photographer.

I attempted some French to which she looked slightly (but politely) puzzled, which was no surprise.

She somehow realised what I was hopelessly attempted to say and laughed.

Within a few seconds, we both realised that neither of us could speak French and that the attempts were futile. I think we were both relieved.

“Where are you from?”, she enquired.

“Near Portsmouth,” I replied

I tend to avoid saying Gosport because it often requires further explanation, but most British people know Portsmouth.

She replied that she lived near Portsmouth too!!

I then added, “Well, actually Gosport.”

Strike a light.

The young lady only lives about 2 miles away from me!

What were the chances of that?

Sharon was with a group of riders at the auberge who all kindly and embarrassingly applauded me and my Brompton. (I loved it, really).

We spent a few minutes chatting at the coincidence before I was lured away by a cold Coke and them by their food arriving.

Bastard deja vu

It was no time to refocus and remember that I still have a campsite to travel.

The light headwind I had previously enjoyed had now become my descending tailwind.

Simply allowing the Brompton to roll took me to 30+mph, and I soon returned to Cluses.

Going through a town following closed roads and diversions is one thing, but attempting to find your way back is a completely fresh challenge.

The maze of side streets and similar buildings in an unfamiliar town were confusing, but a parked car provided with an unforgettable reference.