Col de la Madeleine

Col de la Madeleine, the all important summit post
Date: 11th July 2023
Ride No. 75
Grade: 9/10
Location: La Chambre
Segment ID:16641780
My Time: 1:56:45


I didn’t need to but I did

I had already climbed the Col de la Madeleine on my Brompton with my good friend Rob back in 2019.

However, as I wanted to complete all the climbs as a solo Brompton effort in a 12-month period, I had to do it.

I was also interested to see if I could ride a PB now that I had more climbing experience and, unfortunately, more years under my belt.



A PB  before I start

Looking at the segment and profile on Veloviewer, I set myself a target of being under 2 hours.

Ready to ride at 9:30 was already a PB.

If I am allowed the opportunity, I will dilly dally about and achieve nothing.

With the temperature already in the mid-20s, the 4-5% warm up before the gradient resumed the normal 7-9% was welcome.

It was an ideal start; I felt good with a comfortable rhythm.

Bloody Brompton

At 4Km a hairpin lifted the road up and I could see two riders above me.

They were British and one shouts something like, “I don’t believe it, a Brompton!”

I merrily replied, “Oh no, a bloody Brompton”.

Within 0.5Km I came up to them and said, “Bet you’re not going to tell your mates about this” and laughed.

One rider replied, “I’m taking a photo of this”.

I bade the farewell and carried on, still content with my pace.

There is always a fly in the ointment and with now monotonous regularity, it was once again roadworks.

Just what I needed with an 11% gradient sprint, but I was there.

Safely back into the 7% groove and I am working out how my time is going.

I was well inside my target PB of under 2 hours but still some effort to keep it on track.


A fine example

Just as I am back in the groove, I am overtaken by a French cyclist.

We exchange a few pleasantries, and off he goes.

AGHH! the dreaded lights once more.

The French rider is not too far ahead of me, and I can see that the red light is going to catch him.

Without so much as the slight hesitation, he passes through the light and moves in between the cones for the safe side.

This must be the de rigueur, so I follow this fine example.

The pleasure of stopping would have been watching a 3-minute countdown timer.

The roadwork section was long. Even if I had passed at the start of green light, I would not have made it to the end point in time.


By passing the by-pass

I am now pushing hard but trying not to go stupid. My thoughts are saying every second counts and I need to keep it going. 1:59:59 would be good. (In fact, it would be quite cool)

The ‘ski town’ of Longchamp is 4Km from the summit and it has barriers across the route I need to take.

They mark a new system for a by-pass but, on a bike, I can easily ride through.

The distance to go read out was coming down, which was a good sign.

I was on the right route.

Ahead, I can see the 1Km marker and another set of roadwork lights.

Flashing amber, and the road is empty. GO!

I originally thought the 2-hour barrier was readily achievable, but it was quite a deep dig.


Plenty of time

At the summit, I checked the time, “YES”, Col de la Madeleine segment time 1:56:45, loads of time, could have even waited for the lights 🙂

Time to take stock and a coffee. Of course, on a such a good day there were a lot of riders climbing. I often find it fascinating to watch them.

Most looked twice at the Brompton, but as so often is the case, no one dared to speak or catch my eye. (Wise move, we are contagious:-) )

It used to bug me a bit at one time, but now I just laugh at these ‘professionals’ 🙂