Larry’s Excuses NOT to climb Joux Plane:
1. It’s too sunny, I can’t see in the glare.
2. I don’t ride counter clockwise.
3. Joux Plane, Schmoo Plane
4. My easiest gear is 39 X 25
Actually Reason 4 is a fair point and he was truly brave on some of the horribly steep stretches – this is a tough climb.
Day Two of Larry’s visit saw us attack the legendary Col de Joux Plane (this was the final climb in the 2006 Tour on Landis’ miracle comeback day. Armstrong was also cracked here in 2001 by Virenque).
It is not the longest climb but it is very steep and irregular. Near the beginning and about half way are stretches with grade well in the teens. It’s rated Hors Categorie in the Tour due its steepness not its length – many longer or bigger ascent climbs are only categorie one.
Martin joined us on a beautiful sunny day, and we were treated to a support car as my mom and Doreen played photographers.
We had driven separately from the support car and the first two times they passed us we were standing taking photos and not riding, and then a girl passed us. We were not impressing our audience.
Martin declared that anyone losing to the female rider buys lunch – so off we raced. Below, Larry bravely attempts to pass her.
I have been up here three times, always in bad weather, so today was a pleasure. As we reached the top, Larry started screaming for photos to “prove” to his buddies at home that he had succeeded. Below, Mont Blanc in background (the sign lies, Joux Plane is a few metres below 1700 metres).
My Mom and her Trek Madone:
A quick descent down the easier east side past Col du Ranfolly (below) and into Morzine and we decided to have some lunch before continuing.
I just wanted a quick pizza but Larry shared years of cycling experience by illustrating the value of a quick power nap.
After lunch was the Col de l’Encrenaz, a little known but stunning climb on a tiny road – but wow was it steep – this was my first time on the route and I was cursing my non-napping lunch – I am inexperienced. We passed up a right turn late in the ride to the Col de la Ramaz as we were approaching 2,000 metres ascent (although Martin found himself a little climb once we found the car to pass the threshhold).
A truly fantastic day. We didn’t set any speed records but spent the drive home congratulating ourselves on such a great ride.