*credit Toby Castle!
The day started with an alarm at 7.30.. Tent down and on the road. Breakfast stop at the top of Peyresourde…
And a rather lovely place for breakfast it was!
On to Arreau, find the nearly empty Camping Municipal, tent up, bike gear on and it’s wheels up for the biggest one yet.
The climb of Col d’Aspin starts almost immediately you leave Arreau… and what a climb it is… Unlike many that start on forests, Aspin gives you amazing views right from the off, helped by stunning weather.
The descent is equally amazing…. Helped by my singing at the top of my voice…. Into The Valley by the Skids being the main one…a throwback to my Alps trip 7 years ago!
Almost at the bottom I spot the turnoff I’ll be taking later on… after the main course of the day …. Tourmalet. Now this is a proper climb – it’s been in the Tour since 1910 and originally ridden with the fixed gear bikes of the day. As I click down gear after gear, I’m glad I have the “artifice of a derailleur” as Henri Desgrange disparagingly described them on banning then from the Tour – gears weren’t allowed until 1937, despite having been in use for almost 30 years!
A quick stop for a sandwich at the start of the climb… I’m not being caught out hungry again…. especially on a day like this…. and it’s grind away to the top. I actually managed to catch and overtake a couple of people today…. Even though it’s not a race…. Of course!
Time for a U-turn and the start of a stunning descent… I’m getting to enjoy these!…
On the way up the route goes through La Mongie – a ski resort about 3km from the top. A really ugly ski resort at that, BUT even out of season these places have restaurants that serve all day so in spite of the sandwiches earlier, it was time for lunch. A veg platter and chips hit the spot and it was time to get back to that gorgeous descent….
Until… Bloody hell what’s that??? I’ve been stung! Some little bugger has got me on the inner thigh…. Really not what you want when you’re heading downhill at 60kmh! A quick stop to check he’s gone and relief that it wasn’t worse and I’m off again.
A bit of a main road drag on the start of the Aspin climb from the other direction and it was time for that turnoff to Horquette d’Ancizen.What a difference!
A lovely tiny road with just a few walkers around and I was soon into the meadows…. For a while it felt more like the Pennines than the Pyrenees, but that might have been helped by the cloud coming in!
The lunch clearly helped as I felt pretty strong, in spite of the 2 big climbs on my legs…. No faster, just feeling better!
Another descent, this one taken a bit slower as the road had been resurfaced not long ago and still felt a bit loose.
Some lovely views into the valley.
The weather felt as though it was closing in so it was the quickest way back to Arreau, making it just before the rain started.
Then time for dinner….. Nutrition is the way forward!
All in all a proper day on the bike!
Check out “Pyrenees day 4” on Relive! https://www.relive.cc/view/1169637337