Nothing better than a good “col” to climb while in Europe!
A “col”, of course, is the European equivalent to a “gap” in Vermont or simply where the road crests going over a mountain pass. And today’s “col”, called the Col de Jaman is a classic Swiss mountain climb, twisty, steep, shaded by thick forests and the long traverses across pastures full of cattle and the sound of their bells.
After arriving in Montreux yesterday (while attending a meeting on Knowledge Management in the United Nations in the village of Glion, perched on the hillside) I rented a big heavy bicycle at the train station. I guess that it is a regular bicycle, but after getting accustomed to riding 8 kg bikes, this 12 kb bike feels like a tank.
This is the Victoria Hotel, where my ride started this morning.
The climb is so steep that a funicular railway runs from Montreux to Glion and up the mountainside.
The route went up on mostly 1 1/2 lane roads averaging between 10%-14% grades with pitches that topped out at 25%. But even though the bike was heavy, it had a triple ring in the front and I could keep the pedals spinning at about 70-80 rpm and move slow but steady progress up, up and up.
This is the Col de Jaman, lurking way up there. The road was switchbacks that snaked up the hillside.
Looking back down on Lac Leman with Geneva way, way off in the distance.
Up at the Col, looking back down the hill.
The road ends at Col de Jaman, but a lot of people come up here to park and walk up into the Alps beyond.
The ride was about two and a half hours, or about two hours going up and a half hour coming down. 778 meters of climbing with no break.. just up, up, up.
As promised, after the big crash in January while descending too fast in Thailand, on today’s ride I focused on going up the hill much faster and down the hill very, very slowly. Not the same adrenaline rush, but I arrived back at the hotel without falling down, which is the simple goal these days.