First apologies for not updating earlier. Two reasons. No wee fee as the French say and too tired to write anything either!
Day two dawned bright and pleasant and we set off with two objectives in view. The first was the Col de L’Aubisque. At about 2000m this was no small hill but first we had to ride quite a few km’s to get to the base of it. It really is a lovely valley and climbing up the lower slopes was very interesting and pretty. Distance from bottom to top is roughly 20 km and so, if I could climb at about 10km/hr that would be about 2 hours of climbing. However….the road kicks up at about 14km and I was quickly down to about 7.5km/hr. it took me a long time to get to the top. I also found I was the last to reach it. The Lantern Rouge – in cycling parlance. After a brief rest and top up of water bottles it was off down the most wonderful, fast descent. Speeds can get out of hand very quickly so you need to keep your eye on the road ahead. You don’t want to hit a hairpin bend and 60km/hr. that number will also tell you that descending is very quick -a matter of minutes, not hours.
Now the tricky bit. The next big climb was the Tourmalet. An even bigger and steeper climb than the Aubisque. At over 2200m it was also very long. But, the bad news was that the normal road to take was closed by ice and snow so we had to detour via Lourdes. Just to add to the fun the temperature was by now very hot. I don’t have a thermometer but the bike computer said 37* which very warm indeed. So we formed a small group to transit from the bottom of the Aubisque round to the Tourmalet. The long route added about another 35km’s to and already long journey.
The climb to the top of the Tourmalet is very long and, frankly, for someone weighing 14stones very hard work. It just keeps going on and on. The pedals seem to be jammed and the tyres stuck to the road with glue. I drank about 6litres of water climbing that hill. The top was covered in snow and very cold. Icy waterfalls from the melting snow ran off everywhere. To descend we put on a wind proof gilet and arm earners and set off on a 20km downhill. I had been joined by Ully, a German and Peter and man older than myself. We arrived at 8.30pm 12 hours after we left that morning. Legs bursting but a good meal to look forward to.
I will try to post some pictures of that day in a moment if I can get the technology to work.
Btw. Sorry no photos of the Tourmalet. The phone ran out of power and left me high and dry!