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.