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15/10/2012 // INFO 1 Comment

Day two on the Raid Pyrenees

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Col D Aubisque

Day two was the first day of the big mountains on our ride from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean (route details can seen here). First up the Marie Blanque, which is 9km long with the final four km all averaging double digit gradients. Tough. The Aubisque is longer and consistently hard. The gradient never leaves the 6 to 10% range. Nearer 10% for most of it. Both climbs are staples of the Tour and both climbs had the group excited and nervous as we headed out from Arette after a large breakfast and good night’s sleep.

The Aubisque is a relentless climb that makes you suffer. It was not helped by the signs showing how far you have to cycle and the gradient for the next km having been removed for the winter. In addition it has a sting in the tail as you climb up to the summit as you can be fooled by the hotel 2km from the top into thinking that is the summit (particularly if you don’t have the signs!). Unfortunately for those tiring in the group there were 2km more to ride at a stiff gradient.

Coffees, cakes, muffins and sandwiches were enjoyed at the top of the Aubisque amongst a dusting of snow that had fallen the previous day whilst we were cycling in the rain from Biarritz to Arrette. The descent was beautiful, fast and freezing. The iconic stretch from the Soulor to the Aubisque did not disappoint.

It was downhill all the way to St Savin and the day finished with a couple of punctures (taking our toll to 3) and the final km total reaching a touch over 90km. Oh, and after the rain of our first day the sun shone all day. Amazing.

Honourable mentions for the day should go to Steve, who has left his base in Galan to help us transport our kit and to provide us with cycle coaching, advice and support on our ride. Once again his support was hugely welcome today. We were also able to enjoy a charming supper in Argeles-Gazost at the Restaurant Miramont, where Armstrong and Contador have stayed during the Tour (we did not have the beef).

The Tourmalet awaits tomorrow. Best get an early night.

Passage from the Aubisque to Soulor

Descending off the Marie Blanque (East Side)

All natural scenes on the Marie Blanque

The summit of the Marie Blanque

Read our report on day three of the Raid Pyrenees here

1 comments [leave one]
Pete October 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

Brilliant Blogging, even better riding! Bring on the Tourmalet…!

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