Col du Noyer

The road to the Col du Noyer

Date: 21st July 2023
Ride No. 93
Grade: 7/10
Location: Le Noyer

Segment ID:16645471
My Time: 0:36:38


Go West, young man

The weather forecast at my present campsite at Briancon was for possible thunder and lightning. (very very fightening)

My climb options for the day were, the nearby Col d’Izoard or the Col du Noyer and Col de Manse near Gap.

As I emerged from my tent, it rained. It was cold and cloudy.

Another look at the weather forecast and no local changes but 50 miles west towards Gap looked good.

“Hey”, I thought, “I’m not in England now, I don’t have to put up with this”.

It was time to fire up the Yaris and head for the sun.


13 is the new 16

I checked the Col du Noyer profile and the description. On paper it was a doddle 6Km and 7/10, but even with my limited experience, I knew the actual story might be an entirely different affair.

Starting from Le Noyer, the climb quickly ramped up to 7% before another sudden 11% wake up for the car driving legs.

Just as I settled into the 8-10% a short 4% gradient surprised me with a welcome respite, but it was short-lived.

The opening up of the landscape towards the distant mountains softens the now 11%, but only slightly.

The road is silent with just an occasional rustle at the side of the road as a lizard scuttles for cover from the ominous Brompton.

I knew that there was a tough section near the top, but it was still a surprise.

The profile map suggested Col du Noyer had a 13% max at the 2Km to go mark.

At 2Km remaining, the sign showed a forthcoming average of 11.2% so I prepared for the challenge.

At the first hairpin, the Garmin was showing 11%.

As the empty road narrowed, I navigated to flatten the bend out by going as wide as possible.

My smugness at believing I had beaten 13% by going wide was soon wiped off my face.

As my legs groaned, I watched the Garmin closely.

12%, 13%, 14%, 15% and finally 16%.

It forced me down to a 22-inch gear, and I was determined not to go lower unless desperate.

I made it and dropping to 11% had never felt so good. The last 1Km at 6% felt like I was going downhill. (almost)

The section from 2 to 1Km was one of the hardest 1Km I had ridden this year.

It had been brutal, but now, it was reward time at the auberge.


Belt and braces

Descending was a slightly cautious affair from my usual gung-ho style.

The road was bioth narrow and tight with certain corners I would describe as helicopter rescue jobs if you overshot.

Safely back at the car, I stopped my ride recordings, sat in the car and hot the Strava page.

Normally two entries appear for a ride. On  from the Garmon 1030 and the other from my Fenix watch which I later delete, however there was only one.

In fumbling with the bike computer, I had selected the indoor training profile. My effort had been recorded but there were no segment details.

Could I change the “Indoor training” label in Strava and get it back?

NO, they don’t allow you to.

My watch, however, had the segments recorded. (Phew!)

The Col du Noyer was a great ride, but I am certainly glad I didn’t have to get back in the saddle and do it again.