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Tunnel de Col de Bataille s(u)

This is a ride around the inner edge a high horsehoe shaped plateau. The pass itself occurs under a triangle of sedimentary rock cliffs near the apex of the horseshoe. Looking at this on a regular road map, you get the impression of crossing several named passes along the way. All of these turn out just to be shoulder points. But there is another point along the way that qualifies as summit, this one not one of the named passes.

1.(00.0km,0250m)START-END SOUTH-WEST:St Jean en Royan
2.(16.6km,1020m)Tunnel de Pionnier
3.(24.1km,1320m)summit point on Plateau de Montue
4.(28.5km,1130m)low point between summits at Refuge Gardiol
5.(31.2km,1313m)Col de la Bataile
6.(31.6km,1340m)TOP: Tunnel de Col de Bataile
7.(39.9km,0930m)junction at Leoncel
8.(58.8km,0250m)START-END SOUTH-EAST: St Jean en Royans


From South-West:
If you weigh less than 3.54 tons and are not a truck, you can follow the road from St Jean up to Bouvante. Even if you are a car, life is made more difficult by additional obstacles in the road, that are (I assume) discourage you from driving faster than walking speed - or at all. But bicycles are not hampered by these plastic stick contraptions.

The road traverses up a verdant valley. The first named pass is Col de Croix, and on this route it is just a shoulder point. Past the old church and the usual parade of pruned trees, a map next to the road shows the road ahead, but it stilll keeps the topography shrouded in mystery. Long traverses and a switchback or two later, it becomes clear the road is heading for Col du Pionnier. The impressive view of a triangle of sedimentary rocks in the distance and far above looks like it has a pass road cutting across it. Could that be Col du Pionnier. No - but it is what this ride is heading for. For now a short tunnel pierces through the limestone lip on the top of the low section of the plateau - and on the other side, the Col du Pionnier sign ... and otherwise just forest and the road keeps on climbing.

Now the road meets up with another coming up from the valley which makes it possible to substute Col de la Machine (or D2 across from the same col), also just as a shoulder summit coming up

What follows is a long pleasant workout in the moist forest atmosphere. The only change in scenery ... the appearance of snow cover next to the road in this last week of April. The road breaks out of the forest twice and approaches the edge of what is now a huge dropoff from this horseshoe like plateau. This is a summit in its own right. The drop in road elevation from here is more than 500ft before the road starts climbing again,

Several signs along the road had anounced that Col de Bataille was still closed. However the road turns out be be free of snow, and it seems like nobody had, as of yet, gotten around to clearing away a few rocks off the road surface and removing the barriers.

A final traverse along the rock face leads to the pass. As seems to be the rule in the Vercors region, the actual summit is a just a bit higher than the actual pass. In this case the summit is at the entrance of a short tunnel through a small cliff at the top.

From South-East. (described downwards) This downhill is gradual, without tight turns, through the forest and steady as they come. No need to worry about where to buy new brakepads, or loosing control in a tight turn. Even the road seems double the width as usual, starting at Echaillon. Leoncal is an old church with accompanying infrastructure, so people can visit. From here a long gradual straight away leads all the way back into St Jean, following the edge of a valley for a short distance, but mostly at the bottom of a wooded valley.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:


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Col de Bataille , D199 Plateau de Montue s(u) : Pont en Royans > Eulalie > St Jean en Royan > Bouvante Bas > Col de la Croix(shp) > Col du Pionnier(shp) > D199 Serre de Montue s(u) > Col de Bataille > Leoncel > D70 north > Oriol en Royans > St Jean en Royans with grocery shopping detour > Eulalie > back to Pont en Royans: 51.7m 5484ft 10.0mph 5:09hrs (garmin etrex30r 5:19.4.27)