We got up to a stunning clear and sunny day and after a bit of faffing around we got out on our bikes. Peli had planned an “easy introduction to the Pyrenees” route which would take us out to Gavarnie, but the road was very busy since the French summer holidays had truly kicked in.
So Peli said what about Luz Ardiden, it’s only 1715m ;) and the road would be quieter.
Well, that was my first ever ride in altitude and also a hill that just went up and up and up for 13Km. And boy did I feel it in my legs and lungs, the bottom part of my chest was sore.
Peli kept telling me to slow down but for some reason I just can’t. I think it is because I’m a fixie rider too and therefore used to pegging it up the hills. But I’m talking about something that lasts say 500 yards to a mile, not 13 times that.
After a few stops to put back our lungs and to enjoy the view (it is a holiday after all) we made it up there, alongside a team of mad Dutch cyclists and a sole Spaniard whose wife was acting as support car. It’s much nicer to have your support “car” cycling alongside you, as I had to nick some of Peli’s water and she also had my sarnie ;)
The descent was fast and fun. A few fellow cyclists whom we saw going down while we were going up were coming back up the hill; there are some nutters out there …
And after Luz Ardiden there was the small matter of half the Tourmelet, which Peli knows very very well so she pegged up it at over 6mph (speed Queen) I could just about keep up in my 28″ gear (2″ lower than Peli’s).
We arrived back after 29.58 miles and plenty of metres climbing, 3H30min, 8.4mph avd. speed, max 40.9mph.
We got back, showered and then headed down to our feed stop, Les Sorbiers, a very cycling friendly B&B which serves very yummy food.