From Nyon to Vesancy

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In 2015, I was exploring on a mountain bike when I found a road above La Rippe that was closed to traffic, so I decided to explore it. I managed to cycle a certain distance before I met a rockfall blocking the road, so I had to turn back. I then tried again in 2018 and I got quite close to the top but decided to give up and turn around. Within the last three weeks or so I have attempted the ride again, and this time I have made it up not once, but twice.

The first time I attempted it this year, it was exploration. I used Komoot to set the destination point, and then I started cycling up. This ride is a challenge because it starts steep, and it stays steep almost the whole way up. I read a comment that once you get to 1200 meters it gets easier. That’s almost at the top of the climb.

It is easier to do this type of climb if you look at distance remaining, rather than altitude. It is the type of ride that you do one kilometre at a time. Every kilometre is earned. One nice aspect of this ride is that you have more wildlife. You hear rustling in the leaves, and you hear things scuttling around. I saw at least one Chamois, one snake and quite a few hikers. Hikers do not count as wildlife. You see some people walking upwards, and others walking downwards.

I like to find routes that either have very few cars, or no cars. Cars often drive too close and too far. The further we are from cars, the safer we are. It gives us the time to focus our attention on the effort and the challenge, rather than on safety. I wear normal shoes, rather than cycling shoes, for this climb. In a previous attempt I found that I wanted to stop but couldn’t, so I was stuck with continuing to climb until the gradient was gentler. That was not fun.

View of the Alps through the trees
View of the Alps through the trees

On this ride you have a good few of the Lac Léman as well as of the Alps and the Mont Blanc on the right day. When you get to what I consider the top there is nothing to do. I could go further and explore on the french side, but during a pandemic I prefer not to cross borders, especially on foot, with a bike on my back. I could go up on foot, and explore from the other side, and eventually link the two. In theory I can go up from La Rippe, over the top, across to the West of La Dole, rejoin La Cure, cycle to St Cergue and come down the fun road. We’ll see next summer.