Pyrenees Challenge 2018

Pyrenees Challenge 2018

Published on Monday 14th May 2018

CAC are delighted to announce that the 2018 individual challenge will be the Route des Grande Pyrenees (RDGP) traversing the Pyrenees from Biarritz, on the Atlantic coast, to Quillan, near Perpignan, on the Mediterranean coast.  As usual we have sought to find some wonderful tiny scenic roads to link together some bucket list climbs, all in the beautiful panoramic French Pyrenees.  Wherever possible we are on small, quiet rural countryside where time seems to have stood still.

Along the way we have managed to include the Col d’Aubisque, Col de Tramassel (Hautacam), Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde, Col de Portet Aspet, Col de Port, Port de Pailheres  and a host of other smaller Cols made famous by the Tour de France as well as  some CAC special finds.

In summary, approximately 484 miles riding with climbing totalling 67,432ft or 20,553m for those who think that figure sounds easier.

 
 
Day Zero: Friday 8th June

Arrive Biarritz & prepare for the adventure ahead.

Welcome drinks, bike building & dinner at leisure in the elegant Seaside French Basque town.  We stay at the Campanile hotel, close to the international airport.

 

Day One: Saturday 9th June

Biarritz to Oloron-Sainte-Marie.  (75 miles & 6327ft / 1929m)

Following the Route Imperiale and passing the Grottes d’Isturitz, we head to the overnight destination town close to the River Oloron.

 

Day Two: Sunday 10th June

Oloron-Sainte-Marie to Lourdes (70 miles & 10000ft / 3048m)

We are in the mountains and pass via the Col d’Aubisque and the Col du Soulor as we head for our hotel on the river in centre of Loudes.  Lourdes has been a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage since, in 1858, a young peasant girl, Marie Bernarde Soubirous (St Bernadette), claimed to have had a series of visions of the Virgin Mary.

Today’s big climbs are:

Col d’Aubisque - 1709m, 11.5km of climbing at an average gradient of 8.6% and vertical height gain of 997m.
Col du Soulor - 1474m, 2.6km of climbing at an average gradient of 4.4% and vertical height gain of 114m.

 

Day Three: Monday 11th June

Lourdes (80 miles & 12000ft / 3658m)

Heading due south we deviate from the route to take in the ski resort of Hautacam as we climb Col de Tramassel and then follow the Gorge de Luz.  The afternoon ride is the iconic Col du Tourmalet, at 2,115m and probably the most famous climb in the Pyrenees. 

Today’s big climbs are:

Col de Tramassel - 1635m, 13km of climbing at an average gradient of 6.8% and vertical height gain of 1170m.
Col du Tourmalet - 2115m, 19km of climbing at an average gradient of 7.4% and vertical height gain of 1170m.

 

Day Four: Tuesday 12th June

Lourdes to Bagneres-de-Luchon.  (60 miles & 8700ft / 2652m)

We are in some truly spectacular countryside as we pass over the Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde.  For any riders there is an option to climb the Port de Bales, shortly before we arrive at our overnight destination.
Today’s big climbs are:

Col d’Aspin - 1489m, 12.8km of climbing at an average gradient of 5% and vertical height gain of 642m.
Col de Peyresourde - 1569m, 8.3km of climbing at an average gradient of 7.6% and vertical height gain of 629m.
Port de Bales - 1755m, 19.6km of climbing at an average gradient of 5.7% and vertical height gain of 1125m.

 

Day Five: Wednesday 13th June

Bagneres-de-Luchon to Saint-Girons (71 miles & 10950ft / 3338m)

We are mainly on tiny roads as we follow the route via the Col de Mente, Col de Portet d’Aspet and Col de la Core.

Today’s big climbs are:

Col de Mente - 1344m, 6.5km of climbing at an average gradient of 9.3% and vertical height gain of 606m.
Col de Portet d’Aspet - 1069m, 14.3km of climbing at an average gradient of 4.2% and vertical height gain of 594m.
Col de la Core - 1395m, 17.5km of climbing at an average gradient of 5.1% and vertical height gain of 885m.

 

Day Six: Thursday 14th June

Saint-Girons to Ax-les-Thermes  (66 miles & 9885ft / 3013m)

Due south along the Gorges de Ribaouto and through the Massif de L’Arize via Col de Port.  We pass through Tarascon on the river Ariege and follow remote roads on our way to Ax-les-Thermes.

Today’s big climb is:

Col de Port - 1250m, 12.8km of climbing at an average gradient of 4.7% and vertical height gain of 601m.

 
Day Seven: Friday 15th June

Ax-les-Thermes to Quillan (62 Miles & 9570ft / 2917m)

This is probably the most stunning scenery of the trip over the Port de Pailheres and into spectacular wooded countryside and finishing in Quillan.

Today’s big climb is:

Port de Pailheres - 2001m, 18.6km of climbing at an average gradient of 6.9% and vertical height gain of 1281m.

 

Day Eight: Saturday 16th June

A coach from the hotel to the airport in Perpignan.

 

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