For an overview map and details on every route I have cycled in the Pyrenées see here.
I am in the Pyrénées mountains for the first time ever. Currently the weather is perfect.
For the first ride, I cycled the last two big climbs that will be included in stage 8 of the upcoming 2009 Tour de France – Col de Port and Col d’Agnes.
83 kms and 2000 metres ascent – map at bottom (whisper: this was just my morning ride).
This amazing loop starts/ends in Tarascon – site of some big caves including a couple with 12,000 year old cave paintings.
Col de Port is a pleasant 16 km, 750 metres ascent (2500 feet) climb, never too steep – averaging around 5% – a perfect way to start!
A fun descent and then a left turn to start climbing Col d’Agnes. One knows it is cycling country when every climb has start signs as well as kilometre markers with altitude and % grade.
If Col Agnes is any indication, this will be a fun trip. This is a beautiful climb. It starts in a narrow river valley and winds its way up to great views. There is a little fishing lake 5 kms from the top. From here I did a there back to the Col from the make and then joined the next climb Col du Port de Vers (the last spike in the elevation chart) – while watching lots of parapenters flying off the mountain. Then just a very fast 25 kms back to Tarascon.
My first ever ride in the Pyrenées was an absolute blast and I was excited. But there are better climbs.
Quiet / No Traffic