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14/10/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

Day one on Raid Pyrenees

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Biarritz Beginning

From midday onwards on the first day of our Raid Pyreneen the clouds were low and the rains fell. Sometimes heavily. This was in sharp contrast to the warm and occasionally sunny conditions that were enjoyed as we took the necessary group photo prior to departing Biarritz for our six day tour along the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.

What do you expect in mid-October, other than variable conditions, and there was no grumbling amongst the group? Not least when we were cycling through some stunning rolling country and contemplating the greater challenges of the week ahead.

A late coffee in Hasparren at the Café de Poste, was followed 40kms later by a hearty lunch (featuring local specialities such as the Basque Gateaux and Axou de Veau) in St Palais. 800 metres of the 1100 had already been done and a bottle of red wine was enjoyed by a few of the more confident members of the group.

In addition to excellent meals the usual pleasures of cycling in France were enjoyed. Excellent road surfaces (Surrey County Council please take note), considerate and encouraging drivers, mad dogs barking at us as we shuttled by, lots of cows and some distinctive regional architecture (unfortunately not captured in photos). One disappointment was that we were cycling along the Route des Fromages and time did not allow us to detour to the many local producers’ to sample some fine Basque cheese.

The group got through the day without too much incident. Jamie is suffering with a painful knee and Stuart took a slow-motion tumble on a slippery surface. There may be further ailments reported tomorrow morning.

In the afternoon session, as the rain got heavier, the group split and we gritted our teeth for the Hotel de l’Ours in Arrette. Shivering bodies welcomed the dry and headed to their rooms for a hot bath.

Read our report on day two of the Raid Pyrenees here

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