Posted by: paulgilders | June 30, 2012

The Pyrenees

Col d’Ispéguy

We decided to cross the border into France over the relatively modest Col d’Ispéguy at 672m. It was a beautiful day as we made our way up about 10 significant switchbacks and then descended a beautiful green valley into the town of San Etienne de Baigorry.

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Laruns

We then made our way around the north of the Pyrenees and finally south up the valley to Laruns.

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We stayed in a quiet and friendly farm campsite, where Poppy found a new friend.

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Col D’Aubisque

After a day of rest, I did a lightweight ride up the Col D’Aubisque to determine whether we could take the luggage over. It was much harder than I expected and I didn’t think it would be possible to go over with all our gear. However, in a moment of insanity, we decided to give it a go the next day. After about 4 hours of trudging away in bottom gear, we finally made it to the top. Poppy and I received applause from other cyclists who had done it lightweight.

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The descent from the Aubisque was amazing – riding on a tiny ledge on the side of huge mountain slopes.

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Col Soulor

When you descend from the Col D’Aubisque, unfortunately you need to climb up again over the Col du Soulor.

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Col du Tourmalet

The following day we made our way along the valley to Luz St Sauveur, which is the base for a number of famous climbs. The most significant of these is the Col du Tourmalet. I climbed up the Tourmalet lightweight mostly through low cloud, but during the last part of the climb the road punched through the cloud to stunning views of peaks all around.

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The descent from the Tourmalet was the most incredible and exhilarating ride I’ve ever done.

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Luz Ardiden

The following day, I climbed up to the ski station of Luz Ardiden – once again up through low cloud. The switchbacks of this road are incredible and with little traffic (except bikes) the descent it great fun.

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Gavarnie

On the last day in Luz I rode up to Gavarnie. The views from this valley are truly incredible.

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I would like to stay in the Pyrenees for another month, but we need to move north.


Responses

  1. Fantastic, managing the Col de Toumalet, brilliant and well done, that’s truly a cycling landmark, especially on the bike you’ve got


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