Tormey Tours inc..

Recovery from the Etape, was brunch, and beer, but the purpose of TTs is to climb ridiculously large hills termed Col de something or other and drink Leffe on return to camp. Thus it was not long before the suggestion of a ‘ leg turner ‘ was put forward and YHC was heading into the valley up to the basecamp of Col D’Aubisque where thankfully a left turn was made to only climb for another 3 kms and a gentle glide back to Pau…a cruise of 30kms average, though cute villages and gorgeous farm country, the slope assisting to make this effortless. Possibly the nicest 40kms you could hope for, euphoric even…followed by a café in a the square of a chocolate box village ..Half in holiday mode dropping hints that the next ride was due to claim a few peaks…although by then there were some sms messages being bandied around to rendezvous with some contacts Drastic had made ..could we meet up with Laura and Jo…and take them for a ride.

The transfer to Bagneres de Luchon ensued and breakfast saw us gathering at a large corner café to meet up with Turnip and the ladies, Half tabling a gruelling 3 peak challenge of his own…ok folks a swift climb of the Peyresourde down the other side, along the valley to climb the Aspin then home for tea…( Leffe ) only about 3500metres of climbing… all those in favour say aye…the ayes have it..

A slow climb of the Peyresourde is about all any could manage, except Half who was finding it no trouble at all, he took the KOM and waited for us at the top, and waited, and waited…nearly 45mins, Laura and Dave gave YHC every excuse to slow down, regain a normal heart rate, and slowly grind up..the heat ( now being close to mid day and 25C ) Just as Half was mounting up to return down the hill looking for us we crested and saved him the effort. Dave had a camera project to complete, and was soon cooling off at high speed heading back to Luchon and documentary history, the peloton headed off down the “ wrong” side and towards Aspin… Tormey Tours chief executive explaining that pain was temporary but the glory of the climb was for ever…YHC reached the village at the bottom in full pike mode…TT CEO and Laura heading up the Aspin…TT CEO saying with a grin that there was café to sit at or another 1000m plus climb, I was to choose one or the other…now lets try and see how that looks on paper…how could I write the report saying I spent the afternoon waiting for TT to return…So YHC was soon leading the bunch and attacking off the front to assault Aspin..and glory…what a climb too, plenty of 8 to 10 stretches, HC , 10ks of bitumen pleasure..and the view was worth every turn of the pedal. When there is no cloud the Cols have gobsmacking vistas and some of the hairiest descents on the planet… The pain of the climb was forgotten in the first 100m of the descent as 60kph flashed up on the gps screen, long sweeping straights, only the odd hairpin, but knowing the road having crawled up at 8kph it was just like flying.. The village of  Arreau at the bottom was closed, being now 4pm and for some reason the wave of tourists passing through were being swept out of the cafes and shops to allow the locals a moments food available for the return assault of the Peyresourde, but fresh water aplenty from spring water fountains…a little shade to be found and a sandwich nearly impossible..

TTs cajoling and climb whispering meant a short rest only and thankfully the return side of the Peyresourde was an easy 7% average, which meant cresting out by 5 and into Luchon for about 5:30..the downside of a HC climb being it is fast and furious…sorry is that a downside or just the perfect end to a 3500 m day…

This story will be oft repeated and the hills will get steeper, and the views more impressive with each telling…have a good one all…BT

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