Cycling time: 5:50
Total climbing: 3,556m
Mechanical failures: 1
Top speed: 76kmh
Lunch in: Bagnere de Luchon
The Day of Three Cols - d'Aspin, Peyresourde, Portillon
Hey Zeus! What a day. Climbing from the get go. Three big Cols, progressively tougher as our legs grew wearier, and a surprise 250m climb at the end when we were all spent.
We started under blue skies full of enthusiasm and quickly ascended Col d'Aspin with fresh legs, pausing only for photos and for me to buy some new sunglasses (curse struck yet again).
A fast descent to Arreau followed, stopping for a Chocolat and to replenish supplies before our ascent of Peyresourde. We left in the heat of the day, and laboured our way up to the top. The gradient often hitting the same level as Tourmalet, if not as far, it was still a tough climb, especially in the heat and with very little shade en route. We were rewarded at the top, however, by a cabin selling Crêpes and coke.
Another fast descent with yours truly hitting all time tour record 76kmh (47.5mph) with Adam apace. Could have been quicker if not held up by cars! We cruised down to Bagneres du Luchon for a baguette: more fuel, needed for the next climb... Portillon.
What a brute. A very sharp 670m climb over 9km. Some easy, indeed flat sections, with others reaching a gradient of as much as 17.8%. We were all wiped out by the top, especially after two previous Cols and overall climbing of over 3000m for the day.
So of course we were overjoyed by a 250m climb - if gentle - through to our destination, Vielha! ... More of the same tomorrow...