Col du Glandon
Done it, but can’t remember it
Last night it rained for over 6 hours. Thunder, lightning, and hailstones all made themselves known.
The apps and sites all agreed that the storm would end at midnight and tomorrow would be sunny, but a possibility of a late morning storm.
Being caught up a mountain in a storm didn’t exactly appeal, so I changed my plans to a shorter nearby climb.
At 8am, the nearby peaks were still in cloud, so that confirmed my plans.
The Col du Glandon was my pick.
This was another climb that I didn’t need to do, but wanted to.
I had also ridden this four years ago with my friend Rob. I can remember the day well, but for the life of me, I could not remember much about the Col du Glandon.
A grind and slog
They rated the climb as an 8/10; 20Km in length for 1900 metres, so a formidable ride.
At first it was a gentle 4% then picked up to 6%. This was all fine.
It was early afternoon, and it was getting very warm.
The forest lined road provided some pleasant shade, and you could still sense the moisture in the air from the storms.
It was a very steady ascent and, to be honest, quite boring.
It did not surprise me I couldn’t remember much about my previous ride.
I soon hit the now regular climbing sprint interval for roadwork lights, which livened up the climb briefly.
It was becoming a grind and a slog. Blinkers on and an ‘on a mission’ stare.
At about 9Km there was a brief gradient drop, and it was a relief to give the legs something else to do.
Burn some rubber
The short-lived respite soon gave way to 9% – 10%.
This was now hurting, but at 15Km there was a big surprise.
A long plateau.
A quick look at the profile on the Garmin which showed me it was worthwhile lifting the chain onto the large chain ring.
With all fingers accounted for, I decide it was time to burn some rubber (well, in my mind anyway).
All too soon my romance with the flat was over and the last four Kms was the invoice for the fun.
A 9% climb steadily rose to 11% and then beyond. This is hurting.
Believing that like being in space no one can hear you scream, I shouted “Dig in”.
As I did, a descending rider quickly appeared and, to my utter surprise, shouts, “On-a-brompton.com”.
I did not know who it was, but it was a great lift and thanks.
With my mind occupied on trying to guess who it was, I fought up the last 4Km.
The summit couldn’t arrive soon enough.
The Col du Glandon was empty when I arrived and what would have been a welcomed coffee shack was, of course, “FERME”.
I completely missed the views on the last 4Km, but I stopped on the descent for a Brompton shot.
As I composed the photo, a rider was approaching and so I waited for him to be in shot for some extra perspective.
He stopped and curiously enquired about the Brompton, etc.
I explained my TdF 100 challenge which he knew of and then asked me lots of questions about the Brompton.
I asked him about his day etc, and he told me of the 100 Cols challenge which he had founded 16 years ago.
Since finding out about it, I can say that it really is a challenge, but not one for me.
The descent was very chilling and amazing and probably one of the best so far.
I had not really noted the bends on the ascent, but it was like racing down the back of a snake.
The road twisted and turned, allowing me to leave previously close cars in my wake.
This was really Alton Towers’ stuff.
When I arrived back in the town and the base of the climb, a woman in the car behind me lent out and shouted “Chapeau!”.
The Col du Glandon was a bitter sweet experience and I shall not forget it again.