So today I did what has to be the most nerve wracking thing I have done so far on my whole trip....got my haircut! Not sure why it was so nerve inducing perhaps due to my hairdressing French not really being up to standard..and there is something about putting yourself completely in someone else's hands especially when it comes to messing with your hair. It had taken me three days to work up the nerve to even go into the shop, instead stalking it on the way to the Spar each day. But today, armed with my google translate sourced select hairdressing phrases I made it in. I was a bag of nerves and was a sweat bucket by the time I left. Having said that they did it really well, it is quite short now..so I don't have to go through that traumatic experience again!..and it actually doesn't look too bad . Well far better than the long straw-like mess it had become over the last three months.
Ride wise I headed up the road behind Pech and Les Cabannes to the Plateau de Beille. It is down on the website climbbybike.com as the 11th toughest in the Pyrenees above even the beast that is the Pailheres and one side of the Tourmalet, which I am not sure I agree with. It's about 15km long and again the gradient seemed to swing between the 8's and 10's. Storms were forecast again today so after starting late the plan was just to get as high up as possible before the clouds opened. As I came out of Les Cabannes and looked up it didn't seem that would be too far away as there were already huge dark clouds looming over the peaks of where I was headed. There were quite a lot of cyclists on the road ignoring the weather and I had fun chasing down and overtaking the locals. I think they are all out to practise for a massive sportive that is happening here at the weekend. Thankfully there was no rain the whole way up..a couple of false alarms that turned out to be drips from my newly short hair. The clouds still loomed though and as seems to be the way whenever I cycle up mountains at the moment, the view was left to my imagination rather than reality. On the plus side clouds make it cooler..
There were a lot or horses and goats near the top, and as always good I made a lot of noise before I approached them. The goats however were a bit slow and though they heard and saw me coming, only decided to panic when I was close. Obviously the other side of the road was safest place to be so they stampeded across. I had visions of the shame of being taken out by a mountain goat...but fortunately they had just enough wits about them to go around me.
Both horses and goats had cow bells attached..which reminded me of a question I had asked myself numerous times on this trip....do cows/horse/goats know and hear that they have bells on? does it annoy the crap out of them or do they try and ring them in tune? I have a feeling that that will be one of life's unanswered questions...