Sunday 25 August 2013

A day in the mountains and a day kniting

A day in the Mountains and day Knitting A short Climb. One of the reason why we choose to visit the Pyrenees was for Robert to climb the Col be Tourmalet, 2115 m with around 1404m of ascent from Luz Saint Sasuveur. More from Saint Savin The flooding in June had closed the road but it had recently been reopened with restricted access during the week but it was fully opened at weekends. The better climb was from the east, from St Savin it was approximately 12 miles to Luc Saint Saveur and the start of the climb. It was a gentle ascent to Luc Saint Saveur and good way to warm the legs up. I left around 9:00am and the main road was not too busy as it was a Sunday and I only spotted a couple of cyclists on the road. About 7 miles down the road I realised I had the left the puncture repair kit, inner tube and pump in the car! The Schwalbe Marathon pro tyres have proved very puncture resistant so rather than heading back I continued onto Luc Saint Saveur where with the help of the tourist information office was able to locate a bike shop that could sell me a spare tube. Most cyclists were on racing bikes so whilst they carried a spare pump and tyre levers any inner tube they carried would have been the wrong size to help me out. As I climbed out of Luc Saint Saveur I could see the devastation caused by the flooding in June and it continued up past the Ski resort of Bareges. The climb of the Tourmalet was easier that the Galibier I did the previous year. The maximum gradient was around 9% but most of the climb was around 7-8%. Much to my surprise I only saw a couple of cyclist’s on route. I past one and caught another and let him pace me to the top. In under 2 hours the summit was reached. Photos were taken, Lyn texted about my progress and I decided to head for the Pic Du Midi. To reach the top a gravel track starts by the souvenir shop. Its only an addition al 522 metres to the top. The first half of the ride was a fairly gentle ascent on a loose stony track. (It felt gentle but I have just checked the profile it starts at 6.8% and the continues at 7.9%). The last 2 km up to the observatory could not be cycled. (The profile shows it starting at 10.3% and finishing at 11.7%)No wonder I was getting several comments of Bon Courage as it passed walkers on the first part of the climb. The sensible thing would have been to leave the bike at the bottom of the final path to the top but were had started the journey as a team and were going to finish it together. Towards the top the path passed under the track used to get provisions to the top. There was just enough room to get the bike thought sliding it on its side. The view from the top was fantastic. Some of the area was only accessible if you had a cable car ticket but there was a good viewing platform for those that had made their own way to the top. The ride down was a reverse of the climb. The bike had to be pushed for the first part and then it was 24 mile all downhill back to Saint Savin. The ride down from the Tourmalet was a good decent slowed down by a couple of cars.

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