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Fontfroide

Pyrenees Biarritz to Perpignan

So on 7 June, I am going to meet this pal from England and we drive to Biarritz where he dips his bike tyre in the Atlantic. He then rides to Perpignan in a few days, dips his wheel in the Med. He is the younger stronger rider who cycles the whole trip, cols and all. I have a rented van (he pays) which I drive with luggage and my bike in it. I ride what I can arrange, but mainly I am the support car. We might ride around one day, as his "rest day", and do some riding somewhere else for a few days after.

So what I could use, very gratefully, are tidbits of information you might know, especially from cycling experience, but from any experience. Like a really outstanding resto in a strategic location on what might be a "normal route". We both like a good meal at the end of a long day.  There are of course many road options, in certain parts of the trip. You might even know some obscure col or valley that is worth the short detour.  Obviously the middle bit with Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde, will take up one day.  A beautiful, but challenging col that neither of us know about would be great information.  Any hints are welcome between now and 7 June, including bits you scavenge while surfing. He might be camping, but I am staying in hotels. Any really tasty hotels in strategic locations will be welcome information. Great websites also wanted, although I am looking a bit myself.  Money is limited, but in both cases, if we will remember it for the rest of our lives, a hotel or a resto can be paid for.  

Anyone have experience with early June in the high Pyrenees? The van is to carry clothing for all weather occasions, including quite cold, windy and wet. Because the trip has to happen, even if the weather is so bad I just drive all day. My pal is from Northern England, so he will simply ride, no matter what the weather, unless it is maybe a thunder and lightning storm, with high winds above 1800 metres.

Thanks in advance.
berck

I wish I could help you FF, but I know nothing about the area. Sounds like a lot of fun!
Fontfroide

berck wrote:
I wish I could help you FF, but I know nothing about the area. Sounds like a lot of fun!


You betcha.  I am really excited about it, both the small amount of riding I will do, and the route I will drive.  I have not spent much time in the Pyrenees, even though I live really close.
Bartali

How long is the trip ?  Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Perysourde is a long ride but doable.  However, if you have time, then spend an extra day in Luz Saint Sauveur (at the foot of the Tourmalet) and ride the Hautocam and Luz Ardidan. You should also try to spend an extra day in Bagnères de Luchon and ride Port de Bales, Superbagnes, Hospice de France and Portillon.
Fontfroide

The trip can last as long as we want, but the pal is planning to do it in six days.  He says he wants to have a rest day during that period, which actually means riding a bit with me.  So he is going to do the whole thing in five days of serious riding in more or less one direction.

We have already spotted that possible stop in the very middle of the big passes, and thanks to you it might take on some importance.  I recognise you have some experience in these matters.  My pal is very fit and very strong for a mid-fifties rider.  He is used to long hard climbs in France, even though he lives in northern England he comes every year to do Ardechoise (4 times) or Marmotte route (not on the day) or Ventoux or Ariegoise or something hard and long.  His idea of fun.  Usually he has a partner who matches his fitness, but this time he has me as the backup driver and occasional rider.

I will drop him a line with your suggestions.  Ta.
Bartali

This is a typical 5 day schedule ...

http://www.pyractif.com/cycling-packages/raid-pyrenean-route.html

If he can stretch the Tourmalet day to get over the perysoude and in to Luchon (which he should be able to do if he has done la marmotte) then Luchon would be a great 'rest' day and there are five really nice climbs you/he could try (up and back down into luchon) ... or just spin down the valley. Luchon is big enough for proper lunch/hotels etc too.  Hospice de France is very steep and Superbangers and Bales reasonably stiff, but the perysourde and Portilon(?) are more reasonable.  You could also do the Mente from Luchon (Ocana monument)

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