Hautes-Pyrenees; spas, climbing…and a big old bike ride!

haute routeIt’s been a bit of a whirlwind week, having just flown back from Mauritius and now back in Paris waiting for a flight to Lourdes. More about Mauritius coming soon…

But now, I’m heading to the Hautes-Pyrenees where I will be joining ‘one of  ‘the highest and toughest cyclosportives in the world’ – the Haute Route Pyrenees, from stage 4 of their journey across the Catalonia-Basque Coast.

The Haute Route cycling events are prestigious and professionally run 7-day road races aimed at ‘amateur road cyclists.’ The two Haute Routes in 2013 each cover over 750km and traverse the greatest cycling terrain in the world – with the Haute Route Alps traversing the entire length of the French Alps, over 866km distance, with 21,000m of vertical ascent.

AND this event is extra special as its the FIRST year of the Haute Route Pyrenees (1-7 September) (and the third year of the Haute Route Alps (18-24 August 2013.)

I’ve not actually done that much road cycling prior to this. I’m generally more experienced on the mountain bike. But with cyclosportives, especially in the  UK post 2012 becoming increasingly popular, I’m keen to try it and appreciate that these races enable any amateur rider – like myself- to have a go at riding like a pro on a multiday event.

As I’m there for two days before the pelaton arrives, I’m going to be doing some climbing with local guide, Jean-Denis Prissé on a wall of the Cirque of Gavarnie. The Cirque has 16 summits of over 3000 metres and the highest waterfall in Europe and is an UNESCO world heritage site.

After this there will be some time to sample some of the local spas – the Balnéo center Luzéa and the Jardin des Bains before meeting the Pelaton at Argelès-Gazost.

So, from the 5th Sept I’ll be having a go at:

Stage 5: Argeles-Gazost to Hautacam (Individual Time Trial) 16km, 1088m ascent.

Stage 6: Argelès-Gazost – Pau, Road Line Stage, 101km, 2300m ascent, 2600m descent.

Stage 7:  Pau/Arette – Anglet Basque Coast (France) 177km, 3000m ascent, 3100m descent.

I admit I’m feeling pretty nervous, as on my last *big* road cycling event- a Ramsgate to London bike ride with the Tirol cycling team- I was pushed most of the way… as you can read about HERE.

(But I suppose I have the option of getting the support bus if my legs fail me;-)

Just a quick note of thanks to Keela, who have provided me with some Road Runner trousers, which are custom-made for cycling.

2 responses to “Hautes-Pyrenees; spas, climbing…and a big old bike ride!

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