Les Trois Ballons - The "preparation" one

2014, 2015 & 2017 – Les Trois Ballons is probably the second best known Gran Fondo in Belgium after La Marmotte. There have been several adaptions to the course, but in general it is + 200 kilometers and + 4500 altitude meters. As this race is in June, a lot of people see this as a last training or last test before the big goals in July or August.


The tracks in 2014 and 2015 were the same The start is in Luxeuil-les-Bains and the start is on a big road. When you follow the crowd, the speed in the first 18 kilometer is incredible. My averages are around 39 km/h. This ride features following climbs:

  • Col des Chevrères (horrible parts)
  • Ballon d’Alsace
  • Col de Hundsruck
  • Grand Ballon
  • Col d’Oderen
  • Champ Jaillet Climb (short, but feels like never ending and steep parts)

Although my condition was better in 2015 it was not reflected in my result as I started way too fast and suffered later in the ride. Such Gran Fondo’s is often about finding the right pace, but it’s hard to not follow other riders.


In 2017 the track changed and then it was with finish sur La Planche des Belles Filles. This was one of the reasons why we joined again in 2017. This mythical climb attracted us, and another reason was that we could easily combine this ride with our trip to L’Ardèchoise.

From Luxeuil-les-Bains we took an alternative route compare to 2014-15, but average was still above 38 km/h. After this part a couple of climbs follow:

  • Ballon de Servance
  • Col d’Oderen
  • Markstein
  • Col de Hundsruck
  • Ballon d’Alsace
  • La Planche des Belles Filles
Ready to ride 🙂
Last steep part of La Planche des Belles Filles

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