Total ascent: 2200m
Hours in the saddle: 6hrs
You will have to forgive any nonsensicalness that may be written below..it's been a heck of a day and am shattered!
But I don't want to get ahead of myself..what's been happening since I posted last..lots! My poor brain and body went from having seven weeks of planning and cycling and fairly limited socialness..to pretty much class rooms, lots of learning and being with people all the hours of being awake. Quite a change to the old routine. But it's been fun and the guys are lovely. Highlight being the outdoor first aid training where one afternoon was spent 'killing' your first aider, screaming and generally hurling oneself on the ground playing dead. Brilliant stuff. Another highlight was nice normal food..oh have missed it..and cereal!! I must have eaten my weight in cereal the last few days. Hmmmmmmmmm yum. I also have now an increased wardrobe including a fleece..soo nice to be warm.
Then yesterday myself and the leaders for my Raid Pyrenean left Pech for Toulouse and then on to Hendaye for the start of the trip. Not really sure about Hendaye..,it was Sunday so it was all shut up, which was frustrating. Until I realised that in Spain things are open Sunday..so I walked 100m across a bridge and bobs your uncle..Spain and an open grocers shop! God I love Spain! I miss it, I haven't learnt the French ways so they seem funny and am failing in my switch in language (it's lucky that many French in the Pyrenees speak Spanish!).
When I got back we had a quick trip briefing, and met the others cycling. I am the only girl which is awesome..I get my own room..yay! I should probably quickly explain the Raid Pyrenean and why I am doing it...the Raid is a hundred hour challenge to cross the Pyrenees west to east coast as close to the Spanish border as possible. It has a set route across the famous cols and the distance and total ascent is fixed in order to complete it..though more on that in a bit. I am doing it, not so much for the challenge but for a way of crossing the mountains with support and without my panniers.
Today therefore started on the west coast and headed across the French Basque country. There were no huge cols but rather a few smaller ones and a gradual rise in elevation in between..hence the 'easy day'. It was not..as we left Hendaye the heavens opened and we cycled in torrential rain for pretty much most of the morning. Descending was not fun and two of the guys slipped off and got themselves some road rash as a consequence. It did stop eventually but no sun so we were riding in soaking wet clothing. God it was cold. It only warmed up on the biggest col of the day which not only was a half mountain but also the sun came out to make us sweat through our waterproofs. It stayed dry the rest of the day thankfully. Undulating though the valleys all the way home after that.
I have a cycling buddy already called Rod..we trash the other guys up the climbs. I get the feeling he could trash me too but likes the company..or the fact I have a garmin with the map of the route on it. It's most likely the latter.
We left Hendaye at 9am and got to wherever it is we are now at about 6pm. A whole day in the office plus some. We're all pretty tired and have just demolished a 4 course meal.
Tomorrow is a tough day..tackling the Aubisque, Soulour and Tourmalet. However, we were just told that there have been avalanches/road slips on the two biggies..Aubisque and Tourmalet. The former is now closed to road traffic and bikes as they have not been able to cear the roads. The latter is open just to cyclists. So we will have to have a new plan..the Raid officiating body has put forward an alternate route (so distance and ascent is matched) avoiding Aubisque. At the moment it sounds like we will be doing more miles and ascent because of it. A tough day just got that little bit tougher.