The Col de la Madeleine is the latest climb to be taken on by Mike Cotty of The Col Collective. Here’s his take on it.
From the north the Col de la Madeleine is a daunting prospect. Over 26 kilometres in length and climbing up to 2,000 metres elevation certainly doesn’t take an Einstein brain to work out it’s a serious test for both body and mind.
Back in 2013 this was climb number 5 out of 16 during “Les Alpes” (a non-stop personal challenge to traverse the French Alps from Évian-les-Bains to Nice). Although I had to tackle the Col de la Colombière, Col des Aravis and Col de Saisies beforehand all of my attention was on the Madeleine. Mentally, this was the point that I’d focused on, where I’d tricked myself into believing that this is where the ride really began.
Despite its relentless length I absolutely love the Madeleine. Its true beauty is that it makes you feel as though you’re really going on a journey, from forest green, past cascading waterfalls, over stone bridges and beyond.
I always have the sense that the Madeleine guards the entrance to the high Alps, as if it’s the gatekeeper to the greats. Make it over its summit and the whole world opens up to reveal a playground of peaks including the Glandon, Croix de Fer and Galibier. What a legend, as a cyclist you really can’t ask for more.
Start: Feissons sur Isère
Elevation gain: 1,585m
Average gradient: 6.2%
Max gradient: 11.5%