Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col d’Aspin from Arreau (1489m)

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Sunday 29 April 2018

Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col d’Aspin from Arreau (1489m)

We’ve cycled up the Col d’Aspin (1489m) a couple of times before. Once in October 2014 and again in July 2018, but on neither occasion has the weather been quite so pristine as it was this morning. Crossing the border into the French Pyrenees yesterday evening had already felt like a homecoming, snaking down the snow-flanked switchbacks and waving at the mountains as though saying hello to old friends. Yet it was today, on the bike, that we really felt like we’d returned.

For the weather to be quite so kind is mid-April, with practically no wind and temperatures tickling 20 degrees Celsius by midday, was a real treat and we felt surprisingly sprightly as our legs carried us up the 12.8km ascent from Arreau (5% average, 847m to 1489m, maximum 9.5%). Evidently our pootles around Cabo de Gata and southern Spain have left us in better shape than we thought. Then again, how fast we were going really was a very secondary concern.

What we were thinking of, however, was the panorama of snow-capped mountains on the southern horizon, the crisp and clean Alpine air and the vibrant green and litter free fields surrounding the road. The ascent to the Col d’Aspin from Arreau may not be one of the hardest ascents in the Pyrenees, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful, at least in my opinion. At this time of year, with spring in the air, it felt almost like riding through the Lake District, only much warmer, drier and higher. Even the little brooks that ran alongside parts of the road seemed to be singing and welcoming us back to the mountains.

A few pictures say far more than my waffle ever can.

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