Ballon d'Alsace from the Northby Alan James - UKC and UKH Sep/2011
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Ballon d'Alsace is one of the old climbs of the Tour de France which hasn't featured much in recent years. At just over 600m it isn't a big hill but its situation, isolated from the Grand Ballon and the other peaks along the Route des Cretes, makes it stand out like a mini Mont Ventoux.
The climb is fairly straight forward but also unrelenting. It winds through the trees which give some welcome shade if you are here in the summer. The steepest section is the zig-zags in the middle. Towards the top the climb relents somewhat but it can be in the full sun.
Distance: 5.42 miles (8.73 km)
Total ascent: 612m
Steepest Gradient: 12% (1 in 8)
Time: 0:45 – 1:15 hours (Road biking)
Start Saint-Maurice-sur-Moselle in the Vosges in eastern France, 47.8552, 6.8199; Finish The summit cafe, 47.8205, 6.8355
Good road surface and a nice wide road without too much traffic. Generally fairly safe for bikes.
There are some ski runs here in the winter so best keep away then. Beyond that it can be done at any time. I did it on a baking hot day with 36 degree heat - not ideal but it was the only day we had.
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