Congratulation to Matthew Downie of TAAP Cervelo, who today won the Bec Road Race over 74 hard fought miles in Ashdown Forest.Download Photos...Read article
Last week 12 riders headed to the Pyrenees to ride some of the great TDF climbs. We based ourselves just south of Lourdes, which is in the middle of this years Tour De France stages 16 and 17 (and this years Etape Route). Sadly the weather was fairly poor, and it rained almost every day. The ride up the Col D'Aubisque being was one of the worst, in torrential rain. Still the accomodation was great, and Natalie very kindly cooked some fantastic meals! A great time was had by all....
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Day 1 – Saturday 12th June
Half the group drove leaving on the Friday night, while the other half flew into Toulouse and picked up hire cars. Flying was definitely quicker, although squeezing the bike boxes into a couple of hire cars proved to be a bit of a nightmare. It was around a two hour drive to the Gites at Agos Vidalos where we assembled our bikes and went for our first ride, up the nearby climb of the Hautacam. This took around 1h 3m up and about 21 mins down. Weather was wet all the way up and cold coming down, which made for a tricky descent.
Day 2 – Sunday 13th June
We planned to do a big ride, covering most of the Etape route this year! From our Gite, we rode out and joined the route near the start in Pau. We had lunch in a restaurant L'Oregon, Orloron in beautiful sunshine. Col de Marie Blanc was very hard and we all really suffered. We rode the Col D'Aubisque in torrential rain. Keith C, James, Shaun and Simon stopped for coffee at the top and waited for Keith and Jake (who promptly rode on after stopping for the customary photo!) 7.5 hours riding. Route through Lourdes, Gan, col de Marie Blanc, Bielle, col D'Aubisque, col Soulur, Argeles-Gazost. 109 miles, 7h 35m.
Russ, Tamar and Rowena rode the Hautacam, which was warm and dry on the way up and damp at the top. First big climb experience for Rowena - good job!
Day 3 – Monday 14th June
We went out for a group ride with Keith, James, Dom, Shaun, Kevin, Tamar and Russ. We rode the col de Spandelles. 2h 4m, 24 miles. Then some of us continued on to take on the Col Du Soulur, which had another great coffee shop at the top, and a fantastically fast (although wet) descent.
Day 4 – Tuesday 15th June
Le Tourmalet (2115m). Rode as a group of ten to the bottom, then at our own pace. Rode through snow for the last 3 - 4 km! Natalie, Nadine and Rowena drove out to meet us at the top. After lunch it was freezing (3 deg according to a dutch lady I spoke to) After the decent to Luz St Sauveur, Keith C, Keith B, James, Jake, Dominic and Kevin rode up to ski station de Luz Ardiden (1715m) 55m up and 20 down. Total ride 5h 10m, 68 miles.
Rowena rode a loop including the climb through Ouzos, Salles, Gez and back through Argeles-Gazost
Day 5 – Wednesday 16th June
The sun came out! James, Simon, Jake, Dominic, Shaun and Kevin rode the Hautacam, and what a great view.
The king of the Mountains Title, could only ever have had one winner....