Monday, 1 July 2013

Day 4 - Sainte-Marie de Campan - Vielha

Start: 8:30
Finish: 17:50
Distance: 93km
Cycling time: 5:50
Total climbing: 3,556m
Punctures: 0
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...

Straight into climbing from Sainte-Marie

Full of enthusiasm before getting on the bike

The view back towards Tourmalet from Aspin

Atop Col d'Aspin

Looking East from Aspin

Looking up to Aspin from the East

The boys on descent

Looking back, almost from top of Peyresourde

Col du Peyresourde

Looking back, halfway up Portillon

We made it... 17.8% max - IL Bruto

We're happy. Oh so happy. Ye-ea-ah
Halfway down Portillon, the view up Val d'Aran

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