Tourmalet et Aspin

Saturday 12th September – From Arreau to Argeles Gazost (c. 52 miles). A day of two cols. Raining sporadically when we woke up so that slowed us down, and we said goodbye to Bart and Keith too, so we weren’t on the road until about 11am. Got a cake and bread in Arreau on the way out – I was undercharged so I corrected the sweet but rather ditzy girl so I paid the right amount. Col d’Aspin took about 1.5hrs and was not such a big climb. The problem was that it was raining most of the way up so wearing waterproofs and getting a mixture of rain and sweat to soak us through. OK though. Then down to St Marie Campan where we ate lunch at about 1.30pm, then set off up the Tourmalet as it got near 2pm. A bigger climb and a steady steep one – well, OK, the average gradient is slightly less than 1 in 10 so very manageable. A man shouted as we cycled past that we would reach the summit at about 6pm. This was much too gloomy – we reached the top at about 5pm, and even had a few short stops on the way up. As we went up the brief sun we had at St Mary Campan faded away and it got gloomy. But the summit was relatively clear and all the nearby summits, up to 3000m tops, were visible. Lots of photos then down and down through Bareges and Luz and then down a busier road, still lots of cyclists though until we reached Argeles Gazost where we shopped and are now camped in a small campsite near the Pyrenean Animal Park. I think it’s called Bellevue Camping. Weather is clearing up a bit so hopeful for the run down to Lourdes to catch the Cycle Bus.

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