Col du Calvaire
The Toyota Tardis
A morning of fascination for my fellow campsite dwellers as they relaxed with a coffee in disbelief at how much I was packing into the Yaris.
Packing to go away is one thing. It’s tidy, but often not quite logical for real life. Well, at least not for me.
My first stop of the day was Decathlon to pick one or two things I forgot. However, this turned into 8.
Next stop was the Lidl store nearby for some bananas. Another one item shop that manifested itself into a bag full of shopping.
Unfortunately, the only way to digest my originally packed bananas was with a spoon. Thirty-five degrees of heat certainly had softened them up.
My Col du Donon climb had been a one-night stand at the campsite, and now it was time to venture deeper into the Vosges region.
As I drove along the Autoroute, the information boards on the Autoroute flashed that one of my next climbs on the list, the Col de la Schlucht was FERME. Bummer.
I enquired at the campsite, but the staff had no information and suggested trying the Tourist Information office in town. Great, I will go there for the answers.
No, I won’t!
After eventually finding the office, it was FERME. In the door was a helpful message in French. Thanks to Google Translate, it informed me that the staff were enjoying some training and that the office was closed for the day. I wondered if the training was to learn how to spell OUVERT 🙂
Plans scuppered. Time to revise.
The temperature had dropped to a friendly 28 by this time, so I decided to climb the Col du Calvaire (No.45 on the list).
This is a 19Km climb to 1153m rated at 4/10. Not a hard climb potentially, but something to vent a frustrated spleen over.
Although the climb to the summit of Col du Calvaire was easy, you must first climb Col du Bonhomme and Col du Louschbach to reach it.
Individually, these climbs are not demanding, but put all three together, and it certainly adds some spice to the mix.
After an easy start up, the Col du Louschbach it ramps up to a steady 7% for a few Kms which tell.
Eventually, the gradient drops to a 4% for a respite which feels like you are on the flat.
Although the gradients bob up and down, it is not too dramatic and allows a steady rhythm to be established.
The road was unfortunately quite a busy place, but the road surface was excellent.
The sight of the Brompton passing over the Col du Louschbach summit caught some resting cyclists by surprise, and they cheered loudly as I rode past. “No resting for me, I’m wicked, ” I thought.
Near the summit of the Col du Calvaire, the 9% sections and the ski lifts came into view together with more surprised cyclists. With a gleeful ringing of my bell, I braced myself to look competent and raced for the top.
My reward: – King of the Mountains (65-69) for the segment by over 2 minutes – Woohoo!.
I now need to check if the Col de la Schluct is open for biking or closed because of construction and, if so, for how long.