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So that's Day 1 of this year's ride done and dusted. Weather was absolutely gorgeous and we did go at quite a pace….. 17.4mph average (about 27kmh in new money I think) which isn't too shaby for 2,500ft of climbing! We got several admiring glances and comments on our Pedal The Pyrenes kit on the road up to St Jean Pied de Port and also as we sat having a well earned beer.

We had a picnic lunch in the back garden of the Hotel Mendy in St Jean le Vieux in the shade of the trees as we ponderedf the challenge of the Marie-Blanque on Monday……..

I'll let you know how that went on my next post. Bye for now…..


6 Responses to Pedal The Pyrenees 2013

  • So the Col de Marie-Blanque was every bit as hard as I remember, especially the bit where it lies to you with 3km to go. The markers tell you the average gradient is 9.5% but it doesn't go into single figures once for the remaining 3km! It peaks at 16%, which is nice.

    Still everyone made it to the top successfully, in fact Pete came back down twice to help the strugglers up!

    80 miles and 6+ hours in the saddle were tough along with 6,500ft of climbing. The weather again was glorious and just perfect for the warm-up of the Col d'Osquich (500m). Lunch in Arrete was very welcome before our date with Marie. The long, lumpy run-out to the very nice Hotel Vieux-Logis was fast (too fast in fact) so I cruised behind the others until someone stopped for the loo.

    Due to some roadworks we were sent the wrong way by some French kids who had a great laugh at our expense (I'd probably have done the same at that age!)

    Just the mighty Tourmalet and Col d'Aspin today. Talk later…….

  • Long and hard…. er… hold on, that doesn't sound right. Relentless, yes relentless that's the word today for the Col du Tourmalet.

    After the horrific floods earlier this year, the road surface near the bottom of the climb was more suited to a cyclo-cross bike than a road bike. Nonetheless we battled through it and as normal settled into the 11 mile slog up the famous Col. We were well strung out as you can imagine! The weather continued without a cloud in the sky (which didn't help on the exposed 2nd half) and the views were magnificent especially at the 2115m summit.

    After lunch at La Mongie we descended fast, ready for the Col d'Aspin. It's much easier than the Tourmalet but with tired legs not too easy! Some of us really motored down the descent into Arreau and a well earned drink at the excellent Hotel d'Angleterre.

    Tired but happy.

  • Best day of the week so far (well for me anyway!). 3 cols and 7,500ft of climbing. Weather again was fantastic. Everyone rode hard and strong today although the short but steep Col Portet d'Aspet tested everyone, including Julian!

    We touched 48mph on the descent from the Col de Peyrousorde as we flew into Bagneres de Louchon. We were slower (but not much) on the twisty descent of the Col de Menthe.

    The day ended with a superb meal at the Hotel Eychenne in St Girons where Slyvie has once again really looked after us.

    Rest Day on Thursday (I wish)….. just the Col d'Agnes and the top part of the Port de Lers and a short 50 mile ride to Tarascon-sur-Ariege.

    Talk later.

  • Shortish day yesterday but hard nonetheless. Beautiful climb up the Col d'Agnes first, then the fun started……

    In an effort to beat Tim up the last short climb of the day (3.8km) the Captain sneaked off the top of the Agnes whilst Tim was distracted by Peter! Sadly my bright orange jersey meant I was spotted after about 30 secs and it wasn't long before I was reeled in on the climb. One other, who shall remain nameless, had a bit of 'sticky bottle' to help him up the climb in an effort to catch me (he didn't though).

    We really motored down the 20 mile descent to the magnificent Manoir Agnes in Tarascon-sur-Ariege. The owners here have made us feel very special and our meal last night was simply superb.

    Last day of climbing today before the Med beckons……

    More tomorow. 

  • 82 miles including one Cat 2 and the Cat 1 Col de Jau to finish off all the climbing for the week. It was really hot and humid but the 4 miles of the Col de Croix de Morts (Col of the Cross of Deaths!) flew by in an instant, mainly due to its 5% average gradient. 

    The Col de Jau which came after lunch was a different matter entirely! 17% in places and an average of 6.7% gradient over 8 miles is a tough way to finish but the 16 mile descent makes it all worthwhile.

    The Pradotel (in Prades strangely enough) welcomed us with a glass of Sangria and a nice meal in the restaurant next door.

    Just 45 miles to go….. all downhill!

    Talk later from Collioure.

  • So here I am in Collioure after a short 43 miles downhill from Prades. Pete towed us along at just under 20mph average so we were here just before lunchtime!

    It's been a humid day but the sun is now breaking through. There were a couple of battles going on up the 2 very small inclines today. Although I thrashed Paddy up the first one (and the only official 'Col' of the day I might add) he did indeed 'crush me like a beetle' on the final incline near to Collioure.

    Beers, chips and burgers were the order of the day for lunch and we're all off out now for ice cream…

    Brilliant trip with brilliant people. We'd never have made it without the Suport Crew….. BIG SHOUT to Sibs, Siobhan, Michelle, Pete and Martin (the Water God!).

    Roll on next year!


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