Col de la Forclaz

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– Lake Annecy below

53.0 km.
Biked my first col (mountain pass) this year – the short but steep Col de la Forclaz (Haute Savoie, France). It is only about 9 km of climb but averages about a 9% grade with one full kilometer a leg crushing 11.5% grade.

Below, I watched the 2004 Tour up this climb.

The last time I climbed this Col was July 2004 the day of the Tour de France. The climb was swampeed with people, caravans, cars, etc. It was the second last climb on the day that Armstrong came from nowhere to beat Kloden by a second. A very hot day with several climbs, the tailing riders looked dead as they passed by ages after the leaders. Oh the humanity.

Today’s ride started near beautiful Annecy along a wonderful bike path (that used to be a railroad) around the mountain-surrounded lake. Just south of the lake my route turned left into a tiny town. Then – no mistaking the start of the climb – a sharp left straight up! At the very start, you can still see Launch Lance written on the road. It’s fun to read all the Tour de France road graffiti while climbing.

At the very top, I took the above picture and then had a lite lunch at a scenic little restaurant beside a tiny rope-tow ski hill being used by 5 or 6 very young (and loud) children.

With the steep climb and bright sun, I climbed in short sleeves. On the descent – despite two warm layers – I almost froze to death.

Total distance: 259.5km Total Ascent: 3,841 metres Total Calories: 10,117 will-davies.com

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Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.

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