Col du Platzerwasel

Col du Platzerwasel, The Beast of the Vosges
Date: 19th June 2023
Ride No. 49
Grade: 8/10
Location: Luttenbach-près-Munster, France

Segment ID: 16794376
My Time: 55:58





They got one right at last.

Last night was ‘thunderstorm night’.

Forecasts of thunderstorms were more frequent than the storms themselves, but unfortunately, this one turned up.

The tent, which was a replacement for a storm damaged tent in the Pyrenees last year, shook and flexed. The brief, but violent, storm boomed, lightning flashed, and the rain hammered down, but the tent rose to the challenge (thank goodness).

Although the early morning sky still bore a light cloud, it was very warm and humid.

The storm had not cleared the air.

With a hot bowl of porridge burning my legs, I sat and mulled over the three weather apps on my iPad.

Tomorrow and Wednesday’s forecast was for more storms.

It was time to consider my options.

My original plan was to ride the two remaining Vosges climbs over the next two days, but now my thoughts were to ride both while it was dry then move on.


The Beast

First up the Col du Platzerwasel which is rated 8/10 and affectionately known as the Beast of the Vosges, and it was.

Without realising, I drove over this col on Saturday and passed many distressed riders. With their jerseys open and swaying from side to side, I thought how glad I was not to be riding this one.

Obviously, I didn’t realise at the time that this climb was on the list.

The climb was a gentle start but soon perked up to 10% on its way to quad waking 15% but
not for too long though, as it relented to a more pleasant 14% (thanks).

The final 6Km to the summit around 10-12% except for a short 50 metre respite of 2%.

This was a typical Vosges climb, no landscape views, just thick woodland on either side of the road. The high humidity and cramped air made the Platzerwasel climb difficult for me.

The climb had been a proper battle and so the sight of just an empty car park at the summit was an anti-climax.



In the car park stood two Canadians cyclists who had come over to ride the Vosges, which made me think even more of an earlier observation.

So far in France, I have not seen a single Brit or even a UK car and at the campsite; I am also the only person with a tent.

There are some plusses and minuses in those observations, but I’ll let you decide which is which.