Going Going Bike

Oct 202012
Celebrating the Raid

Axat to Collioure, 120km, 1200m of climbing, Col de Jau.

Day six was the final day of our pyreneen cycle ride from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It began in the town of Axat, headed back up towards the high mountains for our final big climb of our Raid (in the shape of the Col de Jau) and then descended via lunch in Prades to the coast in St Cyprien before finishing in Collioure.

Heavy rain and swirling gusts did not encourage the group as we left the excellent Axat B&B called Echappee and cycled up through the dramatic Gorges de St Georges (which we had cycled down the previous evening). The road soon split and we forked left onto the lower slopes of the Col de Jau. This climb starts with ferocity. Several kilometres of double digit gradient reminded us that we had yet to finish our Raid Pyreneen. The road was rough and there were no markers to show our progress up this 19km climb. There was still work to be done and suffering for all our limbs to absorb.

The rain came and went and the low cloud rose and fell. Combined with the intense browns, yellows and reds of the autumnal leaves it created a truly atmospheric climb. The temperature fell consistently towards the summit where Steve was waiting with encouraging claps and shouts of “well done” with his van parked and full of dry clothes and extra food and drink.

Throughout the week Steve, who runs Allant Holidays that is based within striking distance of all the iconic Pyreneen climbs (Tourmalet, Aspin, Aubisque etc etc), provided encouragement and support that made our trip possible and so enjoyable. He would greet each of us at the top of every climb with encouraging words no matter how long he would have to wait for some of us to climb up. Steve is also a great cyclist and cycling coach and provided us with plenty of advice that helped us get the most out of ourselves during our week. A week of cycle training with Steve would make a great difference to any amateur cyclist and is enormous fun.

The descent off the Col de Jau was long, scenic and fast. If it were not for the headwind we would have recorded individual highest speeds on that descent. After lunch we still had 75km of rolling country until we would complete our Raid. The headwind was unrelenting and the rain persisted. However, as we arrived in Collioure the skies cleared and we were able to relish our arrival at the end of our Raid Pyreneen.

Steve helped us to get the celebrations under way immediately by providing a cool box of Champagne and beers and the sensations of achievement and relief flowed through the group. The question on everyone’s lips was “where next?”.

Steve helping us celebrate the end of our Raid

Success – we have arrived in Collioure!

But where next?

Read about all the statistics from our Raid Pyrenees

  One Response to “Final day of our Raid Pyreneen”

  1. OK :) ljoti skaisti :)

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