Col Collective – Discovering the delights of the beautiful Alpes Vaudoises

When Alain Rumpf offered us the chance to pay Switzerland another visit he didn’t need to ask twice! Mountain memories from the sensational Co du Sanetsch were enough to lure us back quick smart, ready to explore the classic passes of the Alpes Vaudoises. Once again local guru Alain was our guide for a ride featuring an abundance of Swiss delights, regional cheese, cows, storybook chalets adorned with intricately painted decorations, Hansel and Gretel mountain scapes and of course climbs, 3 in fact, all packed tightly into an incredibly scenic 100 kilometre loop.

Few rides have a more fitting start than from the home of cycling, the UCI Headquarters in Aigle. Its wall of fame looks over the indoor velodrome paying homage to racers past and present across the multitude of disciplines that makes our sport so unique. Heading away from the UCI centre towards Bex, through the Chablais vineyards and onto the first (and highest) pass of the day the 1,778m high Col de la Croix we’re already surrounded by snowy peaks, a sure sign it’s going to be a good day!

The Col de la Croix is long, over 23km from valley to summit, and with just 8km to recover on the descent to Les Diablerets it’s important to not get too carried away. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the scenery, the Col du Pillon (1,546m) may be short at just 4.3km but the sheer scale of the mountains is intimidating, surrounded by waterfalls and layers of ancient rock. The sight of the Glacier 3000 cable car crossing overhead only adds to the mystique, combining elegance and Swiss precision with yet more intrigue at what can be found even higher up. Another short descent takes us into the German speaking part of Switzerland and through the exclusive resort of Gstaad. Frequented by the world’s rich and famous, this pristine town is about as charming as Swiss charm can get.

A quick coffee break in Château-d’Oex allows some time to recover as we discover the Breitling Orbiter, the first hot air ballon to fly around the world, that started its journey from this very point in 1999. Since Alain is a cheese lover (naturally, he’s Swiss!) another quick pit stop in L’Etivaz topped up the tank just enough for the final climb, the 1,445m high Col des Mosses. With the climbing done all that remains is a long descent, dropping down over 1,000m in elevation, through vineyards and with the Château d’Aigle poised on the horizon it’s the perfect way to finish the day. Of course no ride would be complete without a small taste of the local wine – after all this was filmed on Mr Cotty’s birthday so we had cause to celebrate!

Thanks once again to our host Alain Rumpf of Grand Tours Project and to the Alpes Vaudoises for welcoming us so graciously, we’re already looking forward to exploring many more Swiss peaks in the future….

Now for a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to take your fitness to the next level with our pain loving partners and indoor training legends over at The Sufferfest Towers. Having recently launched their all new, and totally revolutionary, Four Dimensional Power™ platform their goal is to help you identify what type of rider you are, then unlock and hone that hidden power allowing you to better focus your training to become stronger, faster and more efficient rider.

Thanks for joining us, until the next time ride safe and enjoy!