136km, 6:37:43, 3,322m ascent, 16 cols, 91 cols total
We woke to pouring rain which matched Ian’s comment that they’d never done todays climb in clear weather. My local weather man, Marc had his own forecast and he’s never let me down. The rain would stop at 8:30am – our scheduled start time.
120km, 5:32:38, 2,602m ascent, 10 cols, 75 cols total
Most important things first. It’s the end of the week and the first time since 2011 I’ve contributed to my life to day weekly total hours Eddington number !! This week has been 47 hours – all biking.
175km, 7:45:13, 3,266m ascent, 11 cols, 65 cols total
We left Luscon at 8am in the lovely chilly air. The route went round the foothills of the Pyrenees to Heche and then Bagneres De Bigorre – a road I’ve ridden loads of times and know how lovely it is. I was feeling strong and since I knew the road thought I’d sit on the front and happily set a pace to keep the group together. If anyone wanted to go harder they could go through and everyone could decide whether to speed up but if they were happy I fully intended to sit on the front through to Heches (~ 30k).
73km, 2:58:43, 508m ascent, zero cols
I enjoyed a wonderful 9 hours sleep before a leisurely breakfast and then a bit of pottering on my bike before heading out with Marc and Steve to collect Mel and ride to Luchon for lunch.
127km, 6:06:48, 3,176m ascent, 7 cols, 54 total
We woke to the forecast rain and as the light came up whilst waiting for breakfast we could see how low the cloud was. The early starters headed out in heavy rain but when we left at 8am it was just light drizzle.
155km, 6:45:48, 2,829m ascent, 12 cols, 47 total so far
The day started straight up the first climb of the day – Col du Chioula. We rode with the “Ozzie Coyotes” plus Scott, Rebecca and Peter. It was a great little group, riding friendly to keep everyone together. The Ozzies are superb to ride with, so considerate and sensible. They descend at a pace to keep the group together rather than going nuts and when they do a turn on the front they keep the effort the same thus keeping the group as one. They also all have bells on their bikes (the law in Oz) so after you do your turn as you drift back they all give a “ding ding” as a thank you. It’s really good for morale. I am going to get myself a bell for use back home.
216km, 9:14:20, 3,768m ascent, 21 cols, 35 total so far.
Breakfast was at 7:15am this morning as this was likely to be the longest day of the whole tour. Charlesy was already up and away leaving in the semi darkness so he could ride at his own pace. Another group left at 7:25 and then the rest of us at 8am. The plan being this would keep the group reasonably compressed on the road throughout the day.
199.5km, 8:56:18, 3,751m ascent, 11 cols, 14 done in total
The day started heading out on the main road through Andorra. We rode as a group which helped make a rather boring road a bit more interesting. Andorra city again was very uninspiring but this time we turned off right to take in another col before the big one of the day. This took us through another part of Andorra which seemed a little nicer.
186k, 3,247m ascent, 8:03:48 ride time, 3 cols
We’ve just got in ahead of a big storm which is needed as it was a hot with the final ascent done in 37c !! I’ve certainly demonstrated that my riding coming in to this camp is the least I’ve done in over a decade. I have suffered today but had great fun. I’m hoping my usual adaptation will happen and I’ll just get fitter from here. There are some strong riders and I’m certainly in the lower half. Only 2 riders finished behind me today.
57km, 218m ascent, 1:51:13 ride time, 0 cols
We arrived at Ian and Julies great place in the Pyrenees, unpacked bikes, had lunch and then had a briefing on the 11 days ahead of us. Following that a group of us decided to cycle up the valley to Luchon to check out bikes and have a coffee, tea, beer.