Col des Planches 1411m…Col du Tronc 1658m….Col du Lein 1658m
Start Martigny, Switzerland
Round route 25 miles.
Leaving Martigny we headed steeply up the Route des Planches, a real 10% or more with views vertical above the old Roman city. Vineyards down to the city from the Col de la Forclaz on the opposite valley and glimpses of the busy Grand Bonnard heading into Italy.
Leaving the shelter of the shaded forest and through the pretty village of Chemin with manicured gardens and old chalets. Views towards high mountains and families having lunch gave cheery ‘bonjour’
Alpine pastures with an old wooden sign ‘ petit paradis’ and this was a real paradise for the cyclist with barely any traffic and wild flowers of plenty. Cowslips still in flower, forgot me nots, Orchids and bright Blue Gentian.
Arriving at Col des Planches a sign showed the way up the small road to the next Col. The teashop was closed but luckily we had plenty of water and a few bars of extra fuel.
The going got tougher, the tarmac disappeared, the road bike managed but I wonder if it had been any rougher or muddy, it may have been a problem. But with the tiny gravel track meandering up the Alpine pastures, there was barely any traffic, just a couple of loggers cutting down and trees and a few parked cars full of walkers. This area was beautiful to cycle , I watched out for the metal water runs, in fact they helped me keep my speed has I carefully made my way.
Col du Tonc suddenly appeared at a crossroad with a welcome bench, a quick refuel and ready for the last col. The gravelled track seemed to flatten and with just a couple of kilometers to go we soon made our way to the final Col of the day. Views towards Mont Blanc can be seen from the summit across pastures of flowers. At 1658m it was now a wonderful downhill all the way back down the Sembrancher.
Just below the Col the road appears and the tarmac returns. From scented Pine trees to fields full of Late Spring wild flowers the decent is a total joy. The last section of the ride follows the Grand Bonnard road, which was quite busy with heavy traffic, but it was downhill all the way!
We stayed on the campsite in Martigny, ideal for the start and finish of the ride and five minutes walk into town for all amenities.