Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col de Peyresourde from Arreau (1569m)

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Sunday 29 April 2018

Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col de Peyresourde from Arreau (1569m)

The first, and only other time, we cycled up the Col de Peyresourde was in the autumn of 2014, and for some reason I remembered it as being hard but a little scenically bland. In hindsight, after revisiting the climb today, I’ve no idea why I would think that? It’s beautiful.

We set off a little earlier from Arreau to tackle the gradually ascending 10km to the start of the climb proper. We set ourselves a relatively gentle pace and the distance seemed to melt away beneath us. The road was mercifully quiet, it being April, but the scenery was in wonderful bloom. Hardly a minute seemed to pass without one of us commenting on a particular view. It was a lot like the Lake District on a rare sunny spring day. Flowers were breaking out, the grass was vivid green and the streams weaving through the fields were sparkling in the sunshine. It was perfect.

The climb itself is definitely harder than the Aspin which we’d done the day before. It’s only 9.5km long but with a 7% average gradient which hides a flat kilometres or so near the start, so much of it is 8% plus. Not that it mattered so much since how fast we went was not on our minds at all. What we were looking at was the wall of rocky summits smothered in snow-fields which dominated the southern horizon. With the white snow and grey rock creating a wonderful contrast with the green of the valley floor, it was perfect postcard material. Except, of course, we were getting to cycle through it.

It took us an hour and half to cover the 20km from our motorhome to the top, where we paused for a few photos and a banana, and then we whistled back home in 25 minutes! Turns out the opening 10km along the valley were steeper than we realised.

A few pictures of the ride….

1 comment

  1. Hi there, Just picked up your blog from the "Man, Van and No Plan" blog and after a quick read have subscribed to it. Got to give you guys a large C,...…...not for your blog but for your Commitment towards Leela (hope that that is correct) and her puppies. Absolutely awesome!
    We took on two semi-abandoned cats from our neighbours and they travel with us in our Adria and really love the experience. We feel the "need" for extra space sometimes admittedly but always seem to get by but how you do it with five little "additions" can only speak of organisation with a very large O. As long as our two are happy so will it continue. We have no worries about them running away as we have spent three winters on the Iberian peninsula plus trips around France and into the Lowlands and Germany to date with no mishaps, just common sense and a casual eye. Many moons ago, ie the mid-80's, I also had a crack at the Col de T. After all if an eight stone cyclist can do why couldn't a 17thone rugby player on a 21 gear mountain bike achieve the same? You know what is coming!!!!!!, collapsed one third of the way up the Col from Luz St Saveure and, after being fed water by the owner of the house whose front fence I was sprawled over, I simply skimmed back down to our campsite. Since that day nothing like that has been attempted and the greatest of admiration given to those who do get up such obstacles. Sorry to rabbit on. Wish you well in your future travels. Happy Motorhoming, Glenys and Fred Chase. Gers, SW France.


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