I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places over the past few years. But one place that’s very special to me is Les Diablerets in Switzerland, it’s a small resort but packs a good punch, in both summer and winter.
Over the August bank holiday, we caught the late flight to Geneva, with our bikes, burritos and a plan – to cycle the Gruyère Sportive, 100km with the tough Mittleberg climb, 11km with an average of 6% and the Col de Pilon, 7km with an average of 5%.
The day didn’t start well, a mechanical on the first climb! After a regroup at the top of the Col De Mosses we motored on in the baking heat. I have to admit here, I wasn’t on a good day, the mechanical had caught me off guard and I had lost my climbing mojo somewhere in the valley! What followed was a long stretch through the valley on a false flat, which I wasn’t really expecting, it made it feel really hard work. I was certainly glad of our feed stop in the very pretty village of Gruyère, apart from the tourists it’s like stepping back in time. After the obligatory Gruyère omelette and a re-fill of our rapidly depleting bidons, we were on our way to the Mittleberg…
The climb started fairy innocuously, following a bubbling brook with the welcome shade of the forest. Things quickly changed as we continued to climb, soon the trees gave way to alpine meadows and the clanking sound of the prize winning cows grazing in the baking heat. Without the shade of the trees it was baking hot and sweat was dripping down, a forced myself to concentrate on my breathing and followed my companions to the top, where the were propped up in the shade.
It was a quick descent down towards Gstaad, knowing there was still another big climb to go, the valley was sticky and muggy and sapped our strength. After a brief respite of an ice cold Coca-Cola (the only time it’s allowed in my book!) up we went to the Col de Pilon. I found a second wind on the way up and found a good rhythm, but I was certainly relieved to reach the top, it’s all downhill from here!
The route wasn’t what I thought, with more flat and false flat sections, but the scenery was stunning and was a rewarding day out.
If you ever get chance to visit this part of the world, you won’t be disappointed.
You can find out more about Les Diablerets here
Strava route here