Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col Louron Azet Loop from Arreau (1569m)

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Sunday 29 April 2018

Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Col Louron Azet Loop from Arreau (1569m)

Retracing our pedal strokes from Arreau, along the D25 towards Genos, so soon after cycing the exact same route on our way to the Col de Peyresourde yesterday might sound tedious. After all, 10 km of uphill drag isn’t usually the most exciting thing in the world…unless of course you’re riding in the Pyrenees beneath a baking sun. As we pootled along we couldn’t help but remark to each other every few kilometres, “I don’t think I could ever get bored of this”. It’s so beautiful, riding towards the snowy giants at the end of the valley with a green field on one side and tree-lined slope on the other.

We reached Genos after about 15km of riding and the climb kicked up steeply. We’ve done this climb a couple of times before and always remember it as a short but steep ascent, which is exactly how we found it today. The opening kilometre in particular, despite a sign saying 8% average, definitely felt like a lot more. Overall it is 7.5km long, rising to 1580m with an 8.3% average gradient (maximum 13.6%).

We rose slowly up the switchbacks, marvelling at the scenery and taking in lungfulls of the clean mountain air. It was brilliant. It was almost sad when we reached the top, or it would have been if the view didn’t get even better. The geography of the Col Louron Azet is such that the col is a saddle between two huge valleys. On either side of the col is a fantastic vista of snowy mountains. With the warm of the early afternoon sun on our faces, we could have sat there all day.

We descended down the other side of the climb, towards Saint-Lary-Soulan, but found some quiet back roads which allowed us to cruise downhill almost all the way to Arreau with hardly any cars. The perfect end to a wonderful ride.

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