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Pyrenean adventure

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by spindrift, 13 Sep 2007.

  1. spindrift

    spindrift New Member

    Had to stop a few times on the way to lie in the grass in the sunshine and wait for me to stop hearing my own heart beating:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12900040@N05/1342155051/

    I think I prefer this one cos I have a more normal colour after steak and chips in the summit restaurant and the bike and panniers conceal the huge sweat stain down the front of my shorts:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12900040@N05/1343048642/

    The bike was a beauty thoughbut, ran like a dream.

    Col du Tourmalet, 6.6.1988 and 4.9.2007. See you in 19 years.
     
  2. spindrift

    spindrift New Member

    I didn't pack my bike at all. No box, no cardboard, no tape or bubble wrap, just turned the bars round and took off the pedals. At the airport on the way back they complained about the pedal spanner, even though they insist on taking the pedals off!

    Bike was fine, I sat in a seat over the wing and watched the baggage handlers loading and they were very careful and cautious.

    The Tourmalet climb took about three hours and was a killer, I sweated about ten pints. Near the top a Renault stopped as it came down the mountain and the driver and passenger started shouting "Allez, allez!" and clapping! I tried to grin back but it probably came across as a grimace.

    Finally got to the top and had a lovely meal, watching out of the restaurant window as other cyclists and bikers arrived at the summit.

    A quality ride.
     
  3. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Location:
    Limoges or York
    Congratulations - which way up did you go?

    I did the climb earlier this year going east to west. No idea how long I took tho. At the top I was told to wait as the Grand Boucle

    [​IMG]

    came up the other way. The descent was fantastic - cars kept letting me pass!
     
  4. spindrift

    spindrift New Member

    I went West to East. Not much in it from what I could tell.

    When you went thru Campan, did you notice loads of knitted stuffed dummies in shop doorways?r
     
  5. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Excellent work there! I remember you were discussing the route, at CM a few weeks ago. Was wondering how you fared.
     
  6. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Location:
    Limoges or York
    I had to look to see which town that was, but no, no stuffed dummies that I recall. I did stop there and bought a couple of apple turnover type things that I ate straight away having already been up the col d'Aspin and used up my breakfast reserves.
     
  7. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I believe I have seen similar practice in other villages in France, but I can't remember where or when. Many French villages hold an annual festival at around the time of whenever the local church has its Saint's day, at which time they will hold street parties and the like: maybe they were holding some sort of 'scarecrow' contest amongst the villagers.

    We were at 'our' village at the time of last year's event: they held a vide-grenier (jumble sale) out in the village street. Quite colourful though there wasn't much we wanted to buy.
     
  8. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Location:
    Streatham Hill
    well done, young Sir. And I think the western approach is tougher.
     
  9. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Fab photos, well done!!
     
  10. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Location:
    Limoges or York

    I just remembered a small hameau round here that has scarecrows lining the route every year - no idea why. Each scarecrow is a profession: the first is a gendarme holding a 50kph sign!

    A village near Byland Abbey in N. Yorks also has a custom of putting scarecrows outside their houses. Ancient superstitious custom? I'll ask my neighbour about the local French ones..
     
  11. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I now remember seeing something similar last year at the little village of Capel (near Horsham).
     
  12. spindrift

    spindrift New Member

    well done, young Sir. And I think the western approach is tougher.

    Yeah, I've heard that, but Wiki says both approaches are 7.4 rising to 10% near the summit. It just made sense to me to go that way cos I'd travelled down throgh Lourdes. When I arrived at Bagnerres du Bigorre and went to the train station on my Michelin map I found... there was no station, it was a coach stop so I had to cycle over a pretty switchback road to Lourdes. As I stood looking at the mountains at Lourdes station with the sun on my face a load of nuns appeared on the platform singing a beautiful song that had verses ending in MARIAAAA. No, not Ave Maria. More and more nuns gathered on the platform- must have been a choir of some kind. A lovely end to a sore bum day. Can't possibly do anythinmg like that again, too old and knackered now, although I read summat about a great ride from Bratislava to Krakow over the Tartras (sp?) mountains, and Wizz Air take bikes for free....
     
  13. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    Location:
    Llangollen
    You're not by any chance related to Rothbook? You look very like him in the photos you've posted.
     
  14. spindrift

    spindrift New Member

    Rothbook's my twin, an unrestrained arsewit and unmitigated unbounded bumgravy merchant, we haven't spoken since he forgot my birthday.

    This is what I was thinking of:


    The mother of all cycling trips

    As the professionals race through France, two podgy Irishmen embark on their own gruelling tour, across the Tatra mountains

    Liptovska_GettyImages4.jpg Sting of the mountains ... it was a hard slog but the views, like this one of the Liptovska reservoir, made it worthwhile. Photograph: Getty Images

    It happened somewhere in the foothills leading up towards the goldmining town of Banská Stiavnica: the realisation of the magnitude of what we'd taken on.
    Up to this point, there had been sections of steep climb - but nothing on this punishing scale. Suddenly, the road reared up in front of us, each bend revealing a new soaring twist up the mountainside. On the biking maps we'd studied - which came with a kind of altitude and gradient cardiograph – this stretch appeared like a full-blown cycling coronary, peaking right off the scale.
    My cycling partner in crime, Tony, greeted every new vertiginous bend with an indignant, Dublin-intoned cry: "Feck! Arse! Bollox!" For a while, it was like being pursued up a Slovakian mountain by a pedal-pushing Father Jack, fleeing on saddle from Craggy Island. But as the minutes wore on - into hours - and the incline refused to level out, I was at it, too. A chorus of expletives echoed brightly across the picturesque mountain-tops: "Feck! Arse! Bollox! Feck! Arse! BOLLOX!"



    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2007/jul/14/saturday.green
     
  15. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    Location:
    Llangollen
    Nice to see you around. ;)