Larrau to Argeles-Gazost

Summit Col Marie BlanqueIt’s gonna be a hot one today with the heat building as we unpitch the tents and set off for the small village of Escot which is the start of the Col de Marie Blanc.

There are some tricky turn off on route and it was inevitable the lads would miss one which they did in Arette taking a wrong turn and getting half way up a different Col before the realise their error.

I go back and guide them on the right route and we are soon on the climb proper. It’s red hot now and I go straight to the top as it’s onlt a short 8km climb. And in the van it seems gentle enough but as I pass cyclists in the last 3k I notice that they are wobbling to say the least.

Fact is, it’s actually quite steep with many sections over 13 % and it’s constant, there’s no let up and the lads are drained when they reach the summit and soaked in sweat. Not quite the easy climb we thought.

Another fantastic descent into Laruns for lunch and the start of the much larger Col d’Aubisque at 1307 metres. At 17k this is a long one and more like the ones we are used to with multiple switchbacks and sheers drops on all sides.

Fabulous views at the top but now storm clouds menace so we need to head down asap. Fork lighting and thunder rumble behind as we race down to beat the rain. We stay ahead just and we are now pitching our tents in clear skies again. Very changeable the weather up here!

Top of the Col d'Aubisque