Pyrenees 1992

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  In 1992 I have done a two weeks tour through the Pyrenees from the Atlantic (Hendaye) to the Mediterranean (Narbonne). Every town on my tour has a camping. The weather in July was good, but in May some of the passes could be closed. The fog in the Pyrenees is notorious. The fog has troubled many stages in the Tour de France. On my trip there were only two days with fog. 


1. Jaizkibel

In Hendaye I started with the climb of the Jaizkibel known from the San-Sebastian classical race. Although the climb is not very hard, the view on the sea is very beautiful. In Hondarribia (Spain) at the foot of the climb is a fine campsite. 


2. Hendaye - St Jean Pied de Port

Route: Hendaye - Ascain - Col de st Ignace - Puerto Oxtondo - Col d'Ispeguy - St Etienne de Biagorry - St Jean Pied de Port. 
This is a very flat day compared to the other days. These climbs in Spain are very smooth. St Jean Pied de Port is an old (touristic) pelgrim village. 

Col du Burdincurutcheta

3. St Jean Pied - Oloron st Marie

Route: Col du Burdincurutcheta - Col du Bagargui - Larreau - St Engrace - Col du Soudet - Arette - Oloron st Marie 
This is a big day. The Burdincurutcheta is very difficult climb. It is a short climb (13 km), but it has some steep inclines (15%). The Bagargui is just 4 km more of the same, but the Col du Soudet is also pretty heavy. There is an interesting small canyon at the start of the Soudet. This is called the Gorge the Kaouetta and it is accessible for walkers. 

 Col du Marie Blanque

4. Oloron - Lourdes

Route: Oloron - Col du Marie Blanque - Aubisque - Soulor - Lestelle - Lourdes 
This is Another big day. The Marie Blanque is short (10 km), but the last 3 km are amazingly steep. Unfortunately there is not much of a view on the top. The Aubisque is a classical climb and one of the hardest climbs in the Pyrenees. At the top of the Soulor I have chosen the small D126 to avoid the heavy traffic. Try to avoid the touristic fair of Lourdes.

Port de Gavarnie

 5. Lourdes- Port de Gavarnie

The climb to the Port de Gavarnie (Col du Boucharo) is very scenic. The beginning until Gavarnie is very flat and easy. The rest of the climb is also not very hard but the nature is very nice with a lot of switchbacks! Although the cirque could not be seen, the view at the top is overwhelming! Maybe this is the most beautiful climb of the whole route. 


Col du Tourmalet

6. Lourdes- Avajan

route: Lourdes-Col du Tourmalet-Aspin-Avajan 
The Tourmalet is another famous climb and this means 18 km of fun. At the top you can choose for another 5,5 km biking on a dirt road to the top of the Pic du Midi. Including this section this is the hardest climb in Europe! The Col d'Aspin is very easy. 


7. Avajan- Castillion

route: Avajan-Peyersourde-Portillion-Mente-Portet d'Aspet 
In my memory this route was the hardest day of the whole bike trip. These climbs are not very famous, but four of them make it very hard. The Peyresourde is a moderate climb, the Portillion goes through the woods, so there is no view and it is not very hard. The Col du Mente is really a killer, very steep and very difficult. The Portet d'Aspet is short, but there are some really steep inclines. This also the climb where Fabio Casartelli crashed in the Tour of 1995 and lost his live. 

Col de la Core

8. Castillion-Tarascon

route: Col de Core- Col de la Trape - Agnes - Port Lers - Tarascon 
This is a moderate day. Although there are 4 climbs in this route it is not as hard as the day before. The climbs are not so difficult. The views on the Agnes are very beautiful. 

Col de Peguere

9. Tarascon-Axat

route: Tarascon- Route des Corniches- Chioula-Port de Pailheres- Axat 
The first 30 km have no difficulties. The Port de Pailheres is really a big one. The top is at 2001 meter height and the distance is 18 km, so beware for it. When I was riding this climb, there was a thick fog. So I have seen no views, but nevertheless it was a very hard climb. At the top there are no shops, but only wild horses. So take all food and drink with you. The gorges from the Aude in this area are very impressive. If you have nice weather you can cycle also the D17 (Col du Moulis and Col du Grabel). 
This is a very small road, with some amazing villages hanging in the rocks. 


10. Axat- Llauro

route: Axat- Col de Jau- Prades-Vinca-Palomere-Xatard-Fortou 
This is a very easy day. The Col de Jau is high, but has no difficulties. After the Col de Jau the landscape is changing. The Mediterranean influences are becoming clear. The flavor, the sound of the cicades and colors are typical for this part of the country. 


11. Llauro- Narbonne

route: Llauro-Thuir-Millas-Estagel-Tuchan- Col d'Extreme-Narbonne 
This is a flat day. The Col d'Extreme is not extreme at all.



mail me:Luddo Oh 1997