After the previous day’s (mis?) adventure decided to take an easier option and drive to Payolle, which is at the junction of two Tour de France climbs: Hourquette d’Ancizan and the Col d’Aspin. The former being used for the first time in this year’s TDF and famous for the fact that several riders, including Thomas Voeckler the then yellow jersey wearer, crashed on an oil spill after topping the climb. The latter is a main stay of the TDF and is used regularly.

The Hourquette d’Ancizan was recommended by the
company that organised the self guided tour. It certainly was a spectacular ride, about 11 kms in length and net altitude gain of 504 metres. It was also the first climb I did where it was an optical illusion – the first third looked as if it was downhill but the legs and GPS said otherwise, gradients of 3 to 4%. A great view from the top and the surface was excellent having been newly asphalted for the TDF. Rode to the top and then back down and not missing the relevant corners a la the pro-riders of the tour.

The Col d’Aspin, from Payolle, is a 6 km tough little climb, the middle section 3 kms at about 8 %. It was very heavily wooded with pine trees and only at the top was the view clear. Quite a few cars up there, alas the GoPro video didn’t record the descent which was a pity.

Back to Payolle and a nice “pub” lunch of duck and chips.

Top of the Hourquette d'Ancizan

Made it and no falling off

The Col d'Aspin view

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Sounds and looks great.  Hope you are both having a terrific time.  It should make a pretty flash coffee table book.

Posted by Flaherty on 07.10.11 at 07.56am

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