Cote de la Croix Neuve

Cote de la Croix Neuve, Mende TdF100 No.43
Date: 25th August 2022
Ride No. 43
Grade: 7/10
Location: Mende

Segment ID: 16636590
My Time: 20:19





Consider carefully

Decision time, its 1:30 and just one climb left to ride and complete the Massif Central section.

Yes, do it.

I had more in the tank after the Col d’ Entroment.

The Cote de la Croix Neuve is 35 miles away and the shortest climb in the book at just over 3K but rated at 7/10.

So, let’s carefully consider this. The climb is 3Km and 7/10, this doesn’t add up, I’m missing something? (Besides a brain cell or two).

One clue would be the alternative name of “Montee Laurent Jalabert” in honour of his 1995 attack and solo win.

I drove into the town of Mende, where the streets were surreal in their emptiness. (Even by French standards)

The temperature was 30+ and rising quickly as usual and someone sensibly huddled the locals up in a fridge. But I’m a member of the Mad Dogs and Englishman Club.

The town centre is a maze of narrow hilly streets, but I found a parking spot in full glare of the blazing sun. (Beggars and choosers)

Getting the Brompton out of the car was a sweat; it was that hot.

This is going to be a fun climb ?.

Come back, Col d’ Entroment, I forgive you, sorry.

Down the carpark hill for a bunny-hop onto the pavement to ‘navigate’ the one-way system.

At the start point I looked at the climb and thought, Ok, nothing to note.



I’m done

Although this could be a British climb in terms of distance, it’s no big gear for macho sub 50 rpm trash. (Well, not for me)

It’s granny gear time to prepare for the ‘longest’ 3 Km you will ever ride.

The first kilometre is reasonable, and you think it cannot be that bad.

The second kilometre, however, is pain and suffering as you try to haul yourself up while trying to save enough breath to pray for the summit.

Usually climbs have Km markers to inform you how far you’ve climbed or have left, not the Cote de la Croix Neuve.

The Croix Neuve teases you with 0.5Km markers just to fool you into thinking you have just done a Km. (pleasant touch).

This is an FTP ramp which starts at the point where it gets ‘interesting’. In this real-life scenario, however, you can’t stop and say, “That’s it I’m done”.

FFS, how much longer is this climb?


Give me a sign

Eventually the top and I can see nothing except kids racing on a motor scramble track cut into a field. There are no signs or respiratory devices.

This can’t be right, but Strava says this is the end. It must be right because Strava says it is ?.

I crawled around the top in a state and there it was, on another part of the road, the Jalabert sign.

Not it was not a mirage, it was the real thing. It’s photo time.

I felt chuffed at cracking this one as I rolled into town, forgetful of the 14% climb to the carpark.

I crawled back up, my legs screamed, and for once, I had some sympathy.