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Day 2: Le Geant, Le Pas Trop Geant, L’Arse

June 17, 2016

One day, less distance than the previous one but still three mountains to tackle. Bagneres de Luchon to Argeles Gazost, via the Col du Peyresourde, Horquette d’Aniczan and, naturally, the Col du Tourmalet – Le Geant of the Pyrenees, the hallowed hill.

The Peyresourde is no tiddler though. 16km from Bagneres, pretty constant all the way, and we were thankful for the sunshine and clear skies.

Peyresourde2

A quick coffee stop at the top, descent and then on to the Horquette d’Aniczan. In short, this thing is only 10.6km but starts like  beast – 11% average but surely knocking on 20% through the village then not dropping below 10% for 3.5km.

Thank God, I thought, it’ll even off soon. Not much. Apart from one 5% section it was 7.5 to 9.5% all the way to the top. Much panting and pespiration. Then, a pretty yet pretty shitty descent: gravelled corners (does France have a gravel surplus currently?) and then an uphill section again after about 3km just to really wind me up. It eventually met the Aspin descent after lunch. But if the Tourmalet is Le Geant of the Pyrenees, the Horquette is L’Arse.

And so to the Tourmalet. 18km from Ste Marie de Campan, but to my mind the tougher side, as it was easy for 5km and then kicked in like. After that, no lower than 8% all the way to the top, with lots of 9.5% and 10%. And rain, and cloud, and hail, and vomitting, and sheep, and horned cattle, and not much joy.

Until the summit. Le Geant tamed, barely.

Geant.jpg

Descending, for those of us slow or kind enough to wait for the weather to clear, looked like this:

Tourmalet

Then a wet run in through the Gorge du Luz to the hotel. To find Vaidas going for a spin up the Geant and back before dinner, in the rain, the nutter.

Tomorrow: optional day/rest day/ride up hills in torrential rain day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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