I’ve dreamed of doing this forever. Climb Col du Tourmalet, the most famous pass in the Pyrenées and then go much higher on an unpaved path to the towering Pic du Midi de Bigorre.
High, quiet, beautiful. The route to Cirque de Troumouse just feels off the beaten path. Smaller road, fewer tourists, no ski station, fewer cyclists. My kind of place.
I had previously thought that Col du Tourmalet (2115 metres) was the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenées, but in fact it is Port de Boucharo (2270 metres).
The west side was still closed to cars but I had spoken to a couple of cyclists yesterday and knew that I should be able to get to the top.
Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs in cycling and the highest cycling Col in the Pyrénées. Today was just a dream day on the bike.
Col d’Aubisque was part of the famous 1910 stage where Octav Lapize called the race organizers “assassins.”
Broadly speaking, the famous climbs of the Pyrénées can be split into two categories:
Old mountains routes & Purpose built roads up to newish ski stations.
Today’s ride was one of each type.
Col de Portet d’Aspet is the descent where Fabio Casartelli tragically crashed and died during the 1995 Tour de France. This is the monument to his memory.
I really wanted to cycle this famous climb, but it didn’t fit into the schedule. Unless …. I added it as a second ride on Day 1.
I am in the Pyrénées mountains for the first time ever. 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. Paradise.