Cycling to Station Luz Ardiden - 1715m

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cycling to Station Luz Ardiden - 1715m


It was around 2003 when I was first discovering road cycling that I remember watching Lance Armstrong leading a (primarily drug-fuelled) peloton up to a summit finish at Station Luz Ardiden. So it was with some excitement last Sunday that we set off up the very same road to that same station from just outside our campsite in Sazos.

Sadly the lovely camping we had been enjoying so much had just closed for winter forcing our relocation a little further into the mountains, however,  neither of us wanted to move on without tackling this famous climb. With a total altitude gain of just under 1000m over 13km, the average gradient of just under 8% is a daunting prospect even though we would be skipping the first 2km of climbing since Sazos sits partway up the slope.

Setting off in bright, blazing sunshine that felt like high summer even though the leaves on the trees revealed the late autumn season, we still had 11km to go and would be ascending from 850m to 1715m an average of 7.8%.  Warming up steadily but soon finding a powerful climbing rythm the kilometre markers began to steadily tick by as we made our way up the long, steep switchbacks. Initially shaded slightly by the trees on the lower slopes, the final 3 km took us over more exposed mountainside that really opened up the beauty of the Pyrenees in the bright sunshine. With brown, golden and red leaves on the trees decorating the lower slopes and bare rock summits above as far as we could see it was a stunning sight as we tackled the final, tighter switchbacks that took us to the top of the climb in a little over a hour. Having spent so much our time so far in the Alps, this was a fantastic way to start discovering the Pyrenees.

Even though it was late October, we arrived at the Luz Ardiden ski station dripping with sweat and more than warm enough to sit and enjoy the view for a good 20 minutes or so before making our way back down swiftly to our waiting motorhome. This was the first descent of our entire tour that we didn't need to put any extra layers on for the downhill, that's how warm it was. Although this had been a relatively short climb the steep and relentless gradient had been a tough challenge and we felt good to have reached the summit so quickly and also very lucky to have been treated to such amazing weather. Fingers crossed that it will continue as we head further into the Pyrenees towards the national park.

Cycle Information: 
Motorhome Base: Sazos
Start/ End Point: Luz St Saveur
Distance: 14.7 km
Ascent: 1010m
Average Gradient: 6.9%

Other Related Posts:
Road Cycling in the Hautes-Pyrénées - The Most Famous & Difficult Climbs of the Tour de France

7 Spectacular Cycling Climbs From Vallée d'Aure, Hautes-Pyrénées - Arreau & Saint-Lary-Soulan

Tackling 4 Amazing Cycling Climbs in the Ariege-Pyrénées, France - and 4 for the Future!

See All Our Cycling Climbs in the Pyrenees









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