Sportive veteran Mike Cotty knows the Alps better than some of us know our local roads so when he says the Col de la Croix de Fer is one of his absolute all-time favourites you take note.
At the heart of the Rhône-Alpes, the climb is surrounded by iconic ascents such as the Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez but is a must-ride ascent in its own right.
“There’s a certain sense of freedom that the Croix de Fer instils deep inside,” Cotty says. “Is it the personal fulfilment of the challenge ahead or the feeling of escaping the everyday to explore nature aboard two wheels once more?
“Waterfalls tumbling towards the valley far below with little more than the sound of your own breath for company as the road unfolds to reveal a remoteness that’s sure to soothe your soul.
“If you ever need to be reminded exactly why you ride a bike then the Pass of the Iron Cross, as it’s known in English, will not only help you find the answer to this but I’m sure it’ll unlock a few extra secrets for you along the way.”
Watch Mike guide you up the ascent in the latest Col Collective video above.
Start: Barrage du Verney
Elevation gain: 1,295m
Average gradient: 4.7%
Max gradient: 11%