Just two weeks to go until I head off for another cycling adventure with my buddy David.
Some of you may have followed our End to End (John O Groats to Lands End) epic last year.
This year's trip is quite different in nature. For one it's totally for pleasure, a holiday in fact. There are no dead lines, no pressure and no fund-raising!
It is a Pyrenean Raid ie from the Atlantic coast of southern France to the Mediterranean coast over the Pyrenees and some of the iconic Tour De France cols. The original idea was conceived in 1912 but it was only in 1950 that the route was set and a time established for randonneurs (long distance cyclists - the audax bunch with beards, long socks and pipes who can talk gear ratios long into the night!).
The true raiders have 100 hours to make the trip with a route card stamped along the way. We however will be rather more leisurely and ride it over 6 days with 2 star hotels to stay in along the route; no tents this year, another difference from the 2010 trip!
So as a taster this is the itinerary for our trip. My goal will be to blog each evening with photos and a narrative of the day's riding.
Day one (Sunday 19 June) Hendaye - Lurbe Saint Christau - 145 km, 2,343 m ascent over; Col de St Ignace (169 m), Col de Pinodieta (176 m), Col D'Ipharlatze (328 m) and Col D' Osquich (459 m) taking in Espelette, Helettte, Tardets along the way.
Day two Lurbe Saint christau - Saint Marie de Campan - 136 km, 3,993 m ascent over; Col de Marie Blanque (1, 035 m), Col D'Aubisque (1,709 m), Col Du Solour (1,464 m) and the mighty and infamous Col Du Tourmalet (2,115 m) taking in Laruns and Argeles Gazost along the way.
Day three Saint Marie de Campan - Luscan - 92 km, 1,677 m ascent over; Col D'Aspin (1,489 m) and Col De Peyresourde (1,569 m)
Day four Luscan - Tarascon-sur-Ariege - 126 km, 2,109 m ascent over; Col Des Ares (797 m), Col De Portet D'Aspet (1,069 m), Col De Buret (599 m) and Col De Port (1,249 m) via St Girons and Massat.
Day five - Tarascon-sur-Ariege - Prades - 131 km, 2,263 m ascent over; Col De Marmare (1,361 m), Col De Sept Freres (1,253 m) and Col de Jau (1,506 m) via Axat.
Day six - Prades - Cerbere - 86 km, 575 m ascent over Col De Ternere (233 m) via Thuir, St Genis des Fontaines and Argeles Sur Mer.
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Now to build the bike I will be riding ... if Parcelforce ever arrive with the frame!