Total tour distance: 300 miles
Daily tour distance: 50 miles
Difficulty: 100 / 100
Epic, that’s one word that aptly describes the Pyrenean mountains in southern France. Riding the famous climbs in this part of the country will form lasting memories. Here is the home to the Tourmalet, the Col d’Aubisque, Hautacam and Luz Ardiden. It seems that every road upward leads to another renown summit. This is a dream region for cycling enthusiasts. The ascents can be long, but so rewarding, especially when savored during a magnificent decent. The vehicular traffic on these mountain roads is also light, leaving you alone with the mountains, your bike and the occasional herd of sheep.
BIKE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Standing beside the cyclist statue after you’ve summited the Col du Tourmalet
- Riding other famous climbs, such as the Col d’Aspin, the Aubisque and Luz Ardiden
- Enjoying the remote and pastoral nature of the Pyrenees
- Tasting the regional cuisine
- You’ll ride roads made famous every summer by France’s elite races
- Challenging cycling routes for avid cyclists
- 100% GPS routes (bike GPS provided for your use during trip).
- Three and Four Star Accommodations
- Most Meals Included (breakfast every day, some lunches, and most dinners)
- Fully supported / guided tour with van and trip leader(s)
- No shuttling required to/from the ride. You can always ride door to door if you wish. Van support always an option too.
- Small groups (max 10) for a more personalized experience
- Maximum flexibility of when you travel. You pick the dates you'd like to go and we arrange it for you.
BIKE TOUR OVERVIEW AND DAILY ITINERARY
Due to the terrain, we’ll divide our week between two hotels in different valleys, each sitting at the base of legendary summits. While there is a fair amount of climbing on this trip, the itinerary is designed such that you’ll get breaks (if you want them) on certain days. This can be a great chance to explore a local village or perhaps soak in some thermal hot springs.
You’ll meet your trip leaders in Pau, before a short shuttle to our hotel in St.Lary-Soulan. After assembling your bikes, we’ll take a short spin in the Aure Valley to loosen up our legs and ensure that the bikes are all set for the week ahead. There will be a cocktail reception in which you’ll meet your fellow travelers and discuss the trip itinerary. We’ll then sit down to dinner as a group. Ride: 24 km (15 miles) with 132 m (433 feet) of climbing
The week of riding starts off with a bang. We’ll cover almost 80 miles today and climb 2 famous TdF passes. Not to fear though, there’s plenty of mellow riding to be had at the beginning of the bike ride as we head down the valley and through several small villages. On tap: the Port de Balès, followed by the Col de Peyresourde. We’ll have dinner tonight in town, as a group. Ride: 130 km (80 miles) with 3403 m (11,168 feet) of climbing.
Lots of options for today! You may want to ride a little or a lot and whichever it is, there’s a route for you. If yesterday’s ride is still in your legs and you want to take it easy. You may wish to explore town, go for a hike or soak in the town’s thermal hot springs. For a shorter, but still challenging bike route you can ride up to the summit of Pla d”Adet, the location of George Hincapie’s first TdF win in 2005. For a longer and substantially more challenging ride, why not try the route up to the Lac d’Oredon as well? With pitches of 12% in certain sections, your biking legs are sure to be tested. You’ll be on your own tonight for dinner at a restaurant of your choosing. Ride: various options, from 26 km (16 miles) up to 81 km (50 miles) with 2467 m (8094 feet) of climbing.
A fantastic day in the saddle awaits us today! We’re riding from hotel to hotel and crossing two of the famous cols in the Pyrenees: the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet! The first 12 km are gently downhill before we get the first challenge of the day on the banks of the Aspin. At 13 km (9 miles) it’s a nice way to begin the day. Descending off of the col, we’ll take a left turn in the town of Sainte Marie de Campan and start the Tourmalet in earnest. In 2010, the Tourmalet celebrated it’s 100th anniversary as part of the TdF and thusly was summited twice by the pro riders. We’ll only be climbing this legend once, but it’s an experience not soon to be forgotten. At the summit, be sure to pose in front of the famous silver statue of the cyclist and relish in the fact that you’re following in the footsteps of cycling legends. We’ll eat together tonight at our new hotel. Ride: 85 km (53 miles) with 1983 m (6506 feet) of climbing.
Today is another day of options. See how your legs feel today and you can ride as little or as much as you like. For starters, we’ll ride up to the town of Cauterets, a quaint little town nestled amongst the mountains. For an additional challenge, you many choose to keep climbing up to the Pont d’Espagne. After our twisty descent, the next peak on our route will be Luz Ardiden, one of the summit finishes in the 2011 Tour. Dinner will be as a group in town. Ride: 84 km (52 miles) with 2480 m (8136 feet) of climbing.
Last but certainly not least, we’ll ride the beautiful Col d’Aubisque today. Choosing to ascend on a smaller, but relatively steep forest road, we’ll first climb the Col de Spandelles and approach the Col du Soulor from the north. Continuing our climb, we’ll then bike along the Col d’Aubisque’s sinuously carved roads towards its summit. This is perhaps one of the most scenic climbs in the region. Keep an eye out of herds of sheep or cows as they cross the road. Descending back toward St.Savin, we’ll enjoy one last evening meal together and recant the weeks events over dinner. Ride: 105 km (65 miles) with 1981 m (6,500 feet) of climbing.
After breakfast, we’ll shuttle to Pau and say our goodbyes.
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