A Travellerspoint blog

Friday 27th June


distance: 92km
Total ascent: 2500m
Hours in the saddle: 5hrs

Today the sun came out and seems to be staying out without the threat of the heavens opening! Finally! Though it is so muggy and hot I wish it would rain. Weirdly there is random gusts of cold wind but that's not enough to offset the hot.

Woke up early and the plan was to head out for a long loop over Pailheres and back round via part of the nightmare shortcut route that I had had to drive last week (can't remember how much detail I wrote about that but think uber steep up with severe switchbacks, the down on a narrow road with no barrier and a sheer drop, then tunnels just bored out of the rock with v little space to spare). I have to say that going up Pailheres in the cooler morning was much more civilised. I say 'cooler'..it was still 'sweat through your lycra' worthy temperatures. The climb was also made easier by there being a group that set off a while before me, which provided a nice lot of people to chase and overtake. They had two support vans which did the usual leap frogging of their clients so I saw them a lot. By half way the guys in the vans were cheering me on too bless them.

And then came the down, cor that cold wind made its presence know! The road was covered in graffiti from the last time the tour came by, it was all going up that side though so new plan to head down to the town of Mijanes and then come back up Pailheres from that side. I also remembered that our guys on the Raid would be doing this climb too today so it would be nice to see them (and maybe steel some of their cake). So after some lovely hairpins down the mountain and a fanta and an apple turnover, back up it was.

God it was hot. Legs were feeling it. No one to chase either which made it harder. Where's those support vans when you need them?! My new friends in their vans and their clients passed the other way and waved..but aside from that there was no distraction from the slog. I think I have mentioned before your head can be your worst enemy on the bike, its best to keep head and legs separate...too late for me on this one tho. I was distracted near the end by someone waving at me from their car..and when I got to the top a lady was taking photos of me and cheering and clapping me on. Not sure whether that is a complement or whether I looked so damn awful that she thought I needed all the encouragement I could get! No Marmot van at the top, I was too early so no cake for me :( a little rest and jacket on, then straight on down. It was a fantastic descent, really fast and swoopy, a little gravelly but mostly good. Big wave to the Marmot vans as they passed, and then down to Ax and along back to Pech. It was not a long ride by any standard but it made up for it in ascent.

This afternoon was chilling time, I only have 5 channels here but two of them seem to love Friends, so default watching is Friends with no dubs or subtitles, or the music channel. I had a catch up with the boss and it seems that the next few weeks are going to be hectic and non stop basically until I hit the road touring again. My next supposed week off has been hijacked by the Big Ride session with Cyclist magazine back over in the Pico's, so I think I am down to 1 day off in the next month..ouch! But I am not complaining, its not everyday you help out on a magazine article. Fame!!! Hmm well maybe not, but it will be fun. I do seem to have said that I am not totally adverse to doing the Angliru again..what is wrong with me??!! But I am actually not so against it, time is a great healer, as is being able to use one of the lighter titanium hire bikes we have here plus also a few other conditions here and there ;). Now I have to go learn how to use SRAM gears.....

Posted by louisebenn 09:38 Archived in France

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