Thursday, August 31, 2023

C2C Pyrenees - Saint-Lizier to Ax-les-Thermes over many (5) cols

I got an early start  today to make the day easier.  Phil and I headed off at 7am and got some pastries in Saint Girons for breakfast but unfortunately no coffee was available.

It didn't take long to get out of Saint Girons then we turned up a small road that followed the nice Rivernert valley through villages then started the significant climb  to Col du Cruzette, that last few 100m was steep. There were hot views to the high Pyrenees in the south.

The short climb to the Col de Portet was an easier angle. The very steep and quite rough descent was followed by a long easy gradient climb to the Col du Port.  I stopped at the Auberge de la Sapiniere for a coffee and snack and enjoyed  the views.

Another long fast descent, then I had to stop while a funeral procession crossed  the road.  More descending then a brief gravel track diversion around a motorway brought me to popular and pretty town of Tarascon-sur-Ariège.  All the cafes and restaurants were busy so I decided to keep riding with the assistance of snacks and a gel,

The climb up the Pas de Souloumbrie was sustained then there was some nice riding on high ground through small villages and the Château de Lordat ruin.

Then another descent and another climb up  towards the Col de Marmare, then another small road  down to Ax-les-Thermes. I had a beer and a croque Monsieur with Phil in the square before the others arrived.

Its a very nice town with a river cascading through it and some nice alley ways.  The guys in Joe Bike (Intersport) shop helped me out with some oil for may change, and small rear rain catcher and some gels

The Telemark Pyrenees shop is here too - will known for its backcountry ski gear.

We had an excellent 4 course dinner at our hotel (The Chalet) and did some planning for tomorrow - another big day of climbing,

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

C2C Pyrenees rest day ride - Saint-Girons Mane Mercenac Cycling loop

Nice hilly countryside and a Roman style 12C church but not many cafes. I stopped in Mane for a coffee, a pain au chocolat and a super donut pastry.

The route back followed a bike path that was on a old railway easement then  followed the big river on the East side passing a rock climbing crag and small villages.

Lunch in Saint Girons at a cafe next to River, then had a look at the World Heritage Cathédrale Saint-Lizier. 

Another big day tomorrow - 2800m of climbing and over 100km.