On Sunday there was a big ride organised by the Bagnères de Luchon cycle club; you could choose to ride as many, or as few, as you wanted, of six Pyrenean cols around the town. When we heard that our cycling friends from Skipton would be arriving the previous Thursday to stay for a few days, the obvious question was how many cols they wanted to do. Nick and Dom signed up, but as I’ve only just got back into cycling,after a ten year break, for health reasons, I was apprehensive about taking on too much, too soon. Maddy was happy to stay with me, to attempt just one col (the easiest) and just see how I went.
The monthly cycle club dinner was on Friday evening, a great opportunity for Maddy and Dom to meet the cycle club, as well as for the club to meet our friends, about whom they’ve heard so much.
We arrived at the camp site in Bagnères de Luchon on Saturday evening, dining on mountains of pasta in preparation for the big day ahead; I wasn’t at all sure I’d be up to the challenge after so long off the bike.
Nick and Dom set off at 7am on Sunday, meeting Francis from the Nogaro club at the start; it was a glorious morning. Of the six cols, port de Bales, Peyresourde, col de Portillon, Hospice de France, Superbagneres and Artigues, Dom managed three and Nick and Francis four. They celebrated with well earned beers in the town that evening.
Maddy and I had a more leisurely start, gently rolling out to attempt the col de Portillon at 10am, not the best idea as it was already getting quite warm. Just a couple of km into the col, it was really steep for a while; this wasn’t what it said in the description in Nick’s book! The steep bit was meant to come nearer the finish. At this rate, I would have no hope of completing it. But for whatever reason, that was the worst part; maybe I rode myself in or something, and it wasn’t too long before we arrived at the summit, very pleased with ourselves. I’m not sure I’d have done it though, without Maddy pacing me as I puffed and panted my way up the hill.
We were in no rush to get home, the garden would survive another day, so on the Monday Nick and Dom did another col, then joined Maddy and I at the end of the vallée du Lys, not a col, but à 12km climb nevertheless. We enjoyed our lunch at a little cafe at the top after a walk to look at the Cascade de l’enfer (hell’s waterfall).
A very enjoyable weekend, then home to water the garden.
On est allé à Bagnères de Luchon le weekend dernier, avec nos amis anglais, pour faire une grande randonnée au vélo, organisé par le club de Luchon. On pouvait faire entre deux et six cols, donc Nick en a fait quatre, avec Francis du club de Nogaro, et Dom a fait trois. Ma copine Maddy et moi avons fait un col; pas grande chose pour les grands cyclistes, mais pour moi, qui n’a pas fait vraiment du vélo pendant dix ans, c’était une grande réussite. Le lendemain les hommes ont fait un autre col avant de se joindre avec Maddy et moi, faire la vallée du Lys et admirer la Cascade de l’enfer en haut.
C’était un très bon weekend.