The Col de la Faucille is a steady climb that starts in the small town of Gex and lifts you up to the top of the Jura mountains. It’s 8 miles long and never particularly steep, making it a ‘rhythm’ climb. You can stay seated, find the right cog and power your way up to the top. I was using the 22 or 23 for most of it. It has featured in the Tour 41 times and was the location for Lance’s unseemly chase after Simeoni in 2004.
The Jura Mountains are less impressive than the Alps in terms of sheer size and scale, but they are beautiful nonetheless. There is an initial escarpment that runs along the horizon and overlooks Geneva and the lake. Once over the crest there is a hidden Alpine valley, followed by a second parallel crest, making the range seem like two huge rolling waves, rippling across the landscape.
I dropped down from the top towards La Cure, before rolling along the bottom of the valley and into Mijoux. At this point i took a smaller road and climbed back up to the Faucille. The descent into Gex is a corker; the relatively benign curves and friendly gradient make it one you can attack.
I had a great day, doing 50 miles with 9,000 feet of climbing, taking the two day tally to nearly 18,000 feet, when added to yesterday’s hors categorie Joux Plane. My legs felt stronger as the ride progressed and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The views across the Lake and Geneva, towards the Saleve and the Alps, were lovely. Even the smaller climbs here are considerably longer than anything in the UK. The Col is higher than Ben Nevis.