Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 8 Pyrennes Tour 2017

at the start on ride to Garvanie
Riding in the valley to Garvanie
The switchbacks on the climb up Col de tentes
The ragged cliffs of Col De tentes
At the top of  Col de Tentes at 2115 m after a 30 km ride

Another day of riding. the weather looked overcast in the morning and there might be rain.Fortunately we started out with the weather being good and today we were riding to the Uneco listed village of Garvanie and the climb was to the top of Col De Tentes at 2215m , the highest climb we will be doing on the trip. Despite the gentle climb for the first 20km to the village of Garvanie , the climb to Col de tentes turned out to be pretty tough with the last 10km averaging 6.5% and a few 10 and 9.5% climbs with wind.I was really slow taking 1.45 to climb the mountain and the legs were pretty much done.

The last 5km were pretty relentless not for the gradient but the winds and the constant grinding n the dead roads.

Happy to have made it to the top especially with a 20km gentle climb of 4.5% and then the 10km to the top .More French Alp in views with start cliff face rock and we were right on the border with Spain today .

After the pcture taking at the top it was a 10km descent to the town of Garvanie for lunch with the group and then a quick toru of the village and the gentle downhll ride back to the hotel..our biggest climb with 2115 m and 62km with 30 climbing today.

Day 6 & 7 Pyrennes Tour 2017

The Climb up Hautacam

Today we moved to a new town . Drove over the tourmalet on 28 july 2017 to get to Hotel Montagu at Luz Saint Saveur , a beautiful town at the base of the great Tourmalet a climb in TDF folklore at 2115m.

There was a short ride up to the Superbagneres in the morning but I had a rest day as the legs were pretty dead after the 3 rides .Instead it was a lesuirely morning breakfast then packing the bikes and cars and after lunch at Luchon we drove the 145km to the new base for the next 5 nights.

we had a stop on Tourmalt and took some pictures .The climb does look hard with a few really steep climbs.

After dinner at the hotel and an early nights sleep , it was back riding the next day , Saturdat 29 July.Today we were riding up the hautacam,another TDF climb .It is only 1615 m but like all the climbs I haven't been able to say any were easy.

We started out at 8.30 with an easy downhill ride to the base of the hautacam which was a 20km ride from our hotel and then we just started the 16 km climb up to the top ( see the climbing cyclist website for the statistics )

At the top after pictures we made our way down with some french riders . I kept the speed of the descent under check as there was a fair bit of traffic and one of the french riders ended up in a ditch as he crashed but was fortunate in not being injured.

I followed their line for the most part till the crash.I managed to get a max speed of 70.8kph..We had lunch in the town at the base before cycling the 20km back to our hotel.Managed 68km and 4.5 hpurs on the saddle. Legs were a little tired.

The rest of the day was just relaxing and laundry and having a nap. The legs needed the rest. Tomorrow another climb .

Friday, July 28, 2017

Day 5 Pyrennes Cycling Tour

Ride to Port de Bales

The legs were tired but the mountains call. We started in 2 groups with the slower riders staring at 9am heading to the start of a 19km climb up Port de Bales at 1790m . It was a lesuirely ride slightly downhill to the start which featured in this years TDF . At the start it was a 19km ride up and with an average gradient of 7%. .It took me 2.5 hours of climbing . it was hard going especially from the 9km mark as the gradient really startd to spike and a few switchbacks to recover ...just grinding to the top.

It was an absolute relief to get to the top.I had a few breaks on the climb just to give the legs a rest. There was the usual spectacular scenery of green lush trees and brooks at the base of the climb before the scenes of the valley below open up as you get higher with cows and goats on the mountain side and road wander around. lots of cowpats to avoid and 6km from the end there was a herd of cows to dodge.

From the top , with no cafe we had our own picnic with baguttes and cheese and ham.Then it was aquick descent down and back to Luchon for a deserved rest . we did take the cable car /gondolier up to the top for coffee and the spectacula view of the town of Luchon and the surrounding mountains.

Pyrennes Cycling tour 2017 Col De Peyresourde

Today was a short climb up to Col De Peyresourde .There was a mch longer ride over to the other side of 65 and 92 km but by the time I got to the top I knew my legs were just too tired to go further. i took the easy option anddecided I will just have a break .

It was not as tough as yesterday but still any climb was hard with tired legs and the lack of any training in the elad upmade it harder . The ride was pleasant and the scenery pretty like any of the climbs in the Pyrennes.

just glad it was a short 28km. At the top we had a break with crepes and then a fast decent straight into town Got up to 65kph but did not dare go any faster . Found the legs and body sluggish and tired today .

This is a good link to describe the Col de Peyresourde

Tomorrow (28Jul) a short ride but have decded to have a non- ride day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cyling Tour of Pyrennes Day 4

The Climbs to Col de Mente , Col de Buret and Col des Ares

St Beat Start of the ride to Col De Mente
Group Picture before the start
start of climb up Col du Ares
Memorial to Fabio Carsatelli who was killed at this section on the TDF in 1995
On the way up Col de Mente

Today was the start of what we were here for .....cycling the Pyrennes.

The weather Gods were kind to us and the weather has been good and warm and no rain.
from Luchon we drove to St Beat a small village 16kms away and started with a relatively easy climb from the village to Col de Ares a climb of about 350 metres and 7.5km from the start of the climb and about 8km from the village we rode from.

Whilstan easy climb I was still grinding away but not straining just not quick. We were with other cylict and a group from Melbourne , Croydon cycles. So 2 Australian groups were rifding the 3 Cols today.

We started off at about 9.30 and got to the top by 10am or just past .waitied for everyone to regroup and then headed for Col de Buret with a fast descent and then a brief climb to the Col which was a mere 797 m I believe and then another descent to the start of a short climb to the memorial to Fabio_Casartelli .

we then rode up to Col de Mente our final climb for the day .Took mde 1.20 hr to get to the top and I was feeling it in the end.Was relieved to have got to the top .had lunch and a much needed coke before we decended back to St Beat .A round distance of 55km.

Glad the first ride was over and spent the afternoon at the Luchon Thermal baths which was really just a large swim pool with jets and a sauna .Although Luchon have had mineral baths from 62 BC they don't seem to ahve themanymore just nornal water baths.

The end of a memorable day in the Pyrennes.

Barcelona and Pyrennes cycling Tour 2017

Walking back after run /swim Sunday Morning 23 Juky 2017
Barcelona Beach 2017
Cable Car ride above Barcelona to Mount Montjuic

A happy Spanish Goldie on my run on Monday Morning 24 July 2017

Our Bags are packed outside Hotel Gaudi Barcelona heading to Pyrennes (Luchon)

A welcome from a Goldie at Luchon

.After the UTA race was a long period of recovery and vegetating but slowly getting back into some activity.

Defiitely needed the down time to avoid fatigue and any overuse injuries.I did get some hotspots in the foot which were crippling for a feww weeks and I could not do any running . I started back cycling on Saturday's with CRT and some with trainer workouts but nothing heavy.I have no definite races and just enjoying riding for what it is.

That said I had planned a year earklier to join the cycling group heading to the Pyrennes in July organised by Kim and Robyn.Had fun in 2015 and it is a great challenge to be able to ride up these hills /mountains.

We all arrived at Barcelona, some earlier others like me on 22 July 2017 with 2 days in Barcelona before heading to Luchon our first base for 4 nights climbing the various Cols staring on 25 July 2017.

barcelona was great fun.I was last here in 2011 after Lazarote with Enrico . I enjoyed walking around the old Gothis quater and the Maritime museum.

On Sunday a group of us ran to the beach and swam and then walked backed. Lovely morning which was followed with a wander round Barcelona , up to the top of Mount Montjuic and then an afternoon run around Barcelona and the gothic Quater .I ran about 5 in the orning and then 8 in the evening with a bit of walking between .On Monday did a morning run of 6 km before packing up for the 4.5 hour ride to  Luchon . We then settled in with our first dinner at Luchon in a beautiful restaurant with duck for dinner and a four course meal . Tomorrow the first ride in a beautiful part of France.