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05/10/2012 // INFO 2 Comments

Raid Pyrenees – here we come!


Col D Aubisque

The Raid Pyrenees is a fabled “randonee” from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is over 700 km in length and crosses 19 of the most iconic cols of the Pyrenees. You can do it officially, in accordance with the rules of the Cyclo Club Béarnais, between June and the end of September in under 100 hours and earn a medal and a diploma (very French!).

Alternatively you can do what a group of ten of us are about to do and arrange your own raid pyrenean and set your own time limits.  We leave Biarritz on the Atlantic coast on 14 October and aim to arrive at the Mediterranean in Collioure on 19 October. I have set out the details of each day’s route at the bottom of this post. These might prove helpful if you want to organise your own Raid Pyrenees or just see how much riding we have planned.

Raid resources

I used bikeroutetoaster to plot the course, double-checked the route against Michelin road maps and referred to Graham Fife’s inspiring “Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees” and climbbybike when scoping out the climbs. Places to stay en route have been chosen on the basis of personal recommendations and a mixture of online resources. At the bottom of this post are links to the exact routes used on our Raid Pyrenees.

Check back for my blogs

During the ride I will attempt to provide daily blogs. This may prove difficult due to fatigue, lack of WiFi connection or, in the spirit of cycling through the ages and David Millar (legend!), too much vin rouge. However, please keep a look out for the posts and for tweets from the mountains. The photos, if not the blogging, should be stunning.

Update – Reports of each day on the Raid Pyreneen have been inserted below:

Day OneDay Two (Marie Blanque and Aubisque) – Day Three (Tourmalet and Hourquette d’Anzican) – Day Four (Peyresourde and Portet d’Aspet) – Day Five (Port and Pailheres) – Day Six (Jau)

Steve provides our secret weapon

The secret weapon for our Raid Pyrenean is Steve from Allant. Steve is top amateur rider who is based with his family in the foothills of the Pyrenees. He is a British Cycling qualified coach, regularly places in the top 100 in the Etape du Tour and is a Glasgow Rangers fan (you can’t have it all).

Several in the group have been out to Steve’s bed and breakfast and ridden with him before and he has kindly agreed to join us on our tour. This is a blessing as he will not only provide us with advice and local mountain knowledge but he will also drive our luggage from hotel to hotel and provide a broomwagon service.

Training for the Raid Pyrenean

The broomwagon may be of use because we haven’t done a huge amount of training for the Raid Pyrenees. A few long rides in the Surrey Hills and a couple of sportives, including the Circuit of Kent and Ride Around London, are indicative of what most have done. A small group also made it out to Southern Wales to train on the Rhigos and other longer climbs. I should be able to report back on the adequacy of our preparation soon after the ride starts (probably halfway up the Marie Blanque).

Read our article on how to train for a long distance cycle tour

Team Kit

A group cycle holiday is a perfect time to get a custom made jersey produced. We opted to use Owayo because it is so simple and efficient. I can’t wait to see the group setting off out of Biarritz clad in their Going Going Bike jerseys.

In addition, and as a bit of fun, Amy at Cyclodelic has created personalised dossards for each of the riders. Cyclodelic cycling clothes are beautifully made and I am very excited to receive my dossard. It will be pinned onto my jersey every day of the ride and will probably accompany me on future rides. Although, I may be tempted to frame it as a memento of an amazing Raid. I will wait and see.

The Going Going Bike Raid Pyrenean Route


Biarritz to Arette (114km; 1181m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 2/5



Arette to Saint Savin (95km; 2400m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 4/5


Key Climbs: Marie Blanque, Col d’Aubisque via Col de Soulor


Saint Savin to Saint Lary-Soulan (84km; 2533m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 4/5


Key Climbs: Col du Tourmalet  & Col d’Aspin


Saint Lary-Soulan to Aleu (140km; 2109m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 4/5


Key Climbs: Col de Peyresourde, Col des Ares, Col de Portet d’Aspet


Aleu to Axat (124km; 2498m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 4/5


Key Climbs: Col de Port, Col de Pailheres


Axat to Collioure (122km; 1359m elevation gain)

Stage difficulty: 3/5


Key Climbs: Col de Jau

2 comments [leave one]
David October 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm


Oh, wait…


Pete October 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Very good luck y’all! Hope the weather clears up down there, so you can pick good lines on the descents. Oh, and nice shirt in the photos Richard!!


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