Thursday, 30 August 2012

Misty Mountain Hop

Wednesday 29th August: Day three of the Pyrenean beasting!

Today was a transit day from Argeles-Gazost to Ax-Les-Thermes with a stop-off to take care of a couple of minor bits of speed-bump business on the way. The only thing that travelling on French roads confirms is that their DJ's choice of music is even worse than mine...and I do mean awful! Cue 'Boney-M' for a bonus.

The first climb was the 14km Col de Peyresourde which was frankly unpleasant due to the hanging diesel fumes and the false flats which kill the legs.

Above the diesel fumes and away from the crowd...

Solid camera work from The Cloggies. Schweet!

Two 'wins' today on these horrible, long climbs- believe me, they don't give their views away cheaply. Superbagneres especially deserves a mention because of it's varying gradients, with the last 2 km ramping up to will have heard the language back in the U.K. for sure.
We saw this Tour Legend sign above another bike shop- we didn't go in...

Continuing our recent refuelling-form , it was a case of (alright, only two) hot chocolates at both summits. And Solaros. Junk rules!

No product placement here.
Slowly my body is telling me that I have been taking liberties for the last 2 weeks (and beyond) but the conundrum is always the same: the more you do, the more tired you get but the stronger you get too. Still me arse is ragged, hah-hah!

Milka moos nearby...

Always love the French tree-lined streets an' that.
Not my arse but yer actual Pyrenean speed-bumps.

                                          Day 3 stats...ouch!

Thursday 30th August: Day 4 of the Pyrenean beasting

This morning was met with low cloud and continual persistance: it was even worse when we looked out of the window...

The view from our reinforced balcony.

The start of the nasty, horrible Col de Plateau de Beille.

 The Umpires (i.e. me and Andy) made a further pitch inspection and declared play possible. Shame.

"...Godber...". Heartening to see a tribute to perhaps the finest British sit-com.

I had to fight and fight and fight up to the summit of this mountain: it was a new experience for us because we climbed into cloud which didn't help breathing/wheezing or because of the clawing cold and damp. To be fair, we had been lucky with the weather until now. Until now...

Just follow the road.
We had a life-reviving hot chocolate at the summit and met a couple from Brum who were camping (!) despite the awful weather. Hardy, if a tad unbalanced.

Bit of a tourist trap.

The decent was made without arm-warmers (d'oooooooh) and in still-air temperatures of 9c which meant chattering teeth, frozen hands and a desire for a hot shower like you wouldn't believe.

Put bluntly, I never want to do that again. After a pizza and a beer and a glance outside the window it was obvious that further play was a just the one col for us today, although one that I would avoid in the future.

 Day 4 Pyenean stats!