On a beautiful day, Barry, Eric and I headed into the Alps to climb the north side of the hors categorie Col de la Madeleine.
The Climb: 26.5 kms (16.5 miles); Ascent: 1,610 metres (5,280 feet)
The North side is probably the easier side of this giant climb as it is 6 kilometres longer with roughly the same ascent as the other side. Click here for details on the relentless South side of Madeleine.
The route took 20 years to build and is one of only two roads (Col d’Iseran far to the east) that crosses the Vanoise Alps.
It is named after a little 18th century chapel at the top dedicated to St Madeleine. Every July the people from each side of the mountain meet at the top for a celebration – historically, to re-acquaint after 8 months of snow blocking the pass.
Since its first appearance in 1969, this col has featured 22 times in the Tour de France, last appearing in 2005.
After a hot climb, we stopped for a great snack at the chalet at the top. Barry ordered an entire blueberry tart! Great.
Eric – who descends about twice as fast as me – kindly agreed to take some photos on the way down.
He is a very nice guy and a very strong cyclist. As a photographer? See the next three photos taken by Eric. You be the judge.