Col du Portillon (1293m) - Our Very Brief Trip to Spain

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Sunday 2 November 2014

Col du Portillon (1293m) - Our Very Brief Trip to Spain

After several weeks skirting the French-Spanish border as we slowly traversed the mountain roads of the French Pyrenees, Sunday was the day we finally made it into Spain albeit for just a moment. Having woken up in Arreau to what the weather forecast said would be the final day of fine weather, we had been at a bit of a loss on how to make the most of it since we'd tackled all of the nearby mountain passes. We wanted one more day on the bike but weren't sure where to get it.

Assuming we'd have to move we needed a place close enough but with a place to stay so we could settle in and get on our bikes in plenty of time given the short days so we settled on Bagneres de Luchon. After a short drive over the Col de Peyresourde we were ready to go and our choice of climb was the Col du Portillon. At just 1293m this mountain pass connecting France and Spain would be our lowest col yet, however, it was the only climb from stage 17 of this years Tour de France that we hadn't yet tackled and we wanted to complete the set.

In hindsight, since the low altitude and terrain hid many of the far reaching views it would have been more spectacular to take the steeper ascent to the ski resort at Superbagneres. However, the increasingly autumnal hue in the forests and freshness of the air held its own beauty in the crisp sunshine and we enjoyed the relatively short climb which hovered around 7-8% for much of the 9km ascent. The twisting road passed waterfalls and grazing cows enjoying the last of the sunshine before going inside for winter. It was strange to think in a matter of weeks this area would be covered in deep snow.

On reaching the border we each took a short trip to Spain (individually of course so as not to break our motorhome insurance terms) and then sat in the sun looking out in the golden forest extending in both directions. With expectations of rain the following day it had been a lovely way to wrap up our cycling odyssey of some of the most famous Pyrenean passes and get a sense of what was on offer if we are lucky enough to return in the future.

Cycle Information: 
Motorhome Base: Bagneres de Luchon
Start/ End Point: Bagneres de Luchon
Distance: 9km from
Ascent: 583m
Average Gradient: 6.8%

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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