Tag Archives: cycling pyrenees

4 days in the Pyrenees

Leaving Plateau d’Lhers 4 days ago

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Top of the pass between Val d’Aspe and Val d’ Ossau. There were a ton of Spanish road cyclists at the top – at least 15 – 20 in the time I was there, training for a big race coming up. This isn’t the highest pass, but one guy said it’s one of the steepest in the area. I asked him about the passes to the east (which ended up being closed) and he said if you can do this, those are no problem. Yes!

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Camped in a trashy trailer park/campground in Laruns with beautiful views of mountains in every direction

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French fast food to go with my trailer park!

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The next day I biked UP a very steep 4km from the highway to a lake, packed a backpack, hid my bike and hiked to Refuge d’ Ayous. Still closed for the season, as I knew they would be, I slept in the winter room. WOW!

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Biking up into the storm yesterday. Heading back south towards Spain over the Col du Portalet: 1972 m

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My feelings when the rain first started. It got a lot worse. Cold headwind and pelting rain. This is me working through it

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Gorgeous even in bad weather

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And here’s Spain! Beautiful!

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Leaving a parking lot at Formigal, Spain’s (arguably) biggest ski resort

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About 10 km from the border is Sallent de Gallego. A beautiful little Spanish mountain town. I almost passed it by, but there was a sign for municipal camping (the best, because it’s usually cheap, in a park setting and not overrun with caravans, like most campgrounds in Europe), plus, at the top of Col du Portalet, I stopped at a lovely historic hotel for a coffee and the woman recommended I check out the town. I SCORED on muni camping. Free and right behind the town sports complex. 2€ for a shower and they even had wifi I could use! Plus, the guy in charge, Angel, is a cycle tourist! Ha! I couldn’t choose the best angle for a photo of my camp spot…

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Passing through Sabiñago on my way to Huesca today, I spotted this! I unintentionally did all except for Hoz

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I made up for that, however (and 10m +!!) by summitting this beast between Sabiñago and Huesca. No idea this existed due to shitty, free tourist info maps that I’m using. This was one long climb. I think it took me at least two hours. Raining the whole time. Then fog. So not fun. I screamed in frustration a couple times. Then laughed at myself

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On the other side of the pass the storm really happened. Thunder and lightening and driving rain, and about 15 km from here, a crazy hailstorm. I rode my bike as fast as I could to the nearest shelter, which turned out to be a flimsy piece of shade netting covering a driveway – it barely held!Hail the size of pennies came flying from every direction for a solid 5 – 10 minutes. I stood, dripping wet and freezing cold, glad I was wearing a helmet, and waited it out. Then I rode the last wet wet wet 15km here in less than a half hour. That storm also provided an awesome tailwind. Now I’m in Huesca, staying in a simple pensión, with great retro furnishings and a color television set, for 20€ a night. I have my own room and my saturated belongings are strewn across the room drying. Thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow too. Maybe I’ll stay here another night and catch up on my Spanish telenovelas…

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Pamplona y Les Pyrénées Occidentales

I’m about to ride down a long winding hill that I rode up two days ago. Out of this amazing alpine valley and Plateau de Lhers where I have been camping for two nights at a perfect campground at the end of the road, and where I happened upon the amazing Pic de Labigouer yesterday.
The Summit

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Me at the summit and my new backpack that I made out of a big stuff sack with neckties for straps.

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On the way down

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I lost my hat somewhere on the road heading back to the village and rode up to find it in the evening. Found it in the middle of the road, and then this dude found me, while taking pictures of the herd and the illuminated mountains in the distance

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I woke up to frost on the ground the last two mornings. Yesterday I had breakfast in bed

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30 km ride, all uphill from Jaca, Spain to the pass of Somport and the border between France and Spain the day before yesterday

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The top! At the old border station pre- European Union

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Between Donosti and Jaca I stopped for a day in Pamlona and stayed at a pilgrim’s hostel, for those hiking the Camino de Santiago. I followed the route backwards to the aforementioned pass. Pamplona is an awesome spot to eat and drink.

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Pilgrims in the morning about to head out.

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Just like me! Off to ride down to the main road, then over the Col de Marie Blanque into the next valley!!!

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