Col d Aspin

Col d'Aspin summit
Date: 6th September 2022
Ride No. 9
Grade: 7/10
Location: Arreau

Segment ID:16605034
My Time: 1:00:04





Seizing the opportunity

Several people left this morning, and now the campsite is quiet, but I don’t think it had anything to do with me.

I also have a new neighbour, Tim, a Dutchman who has driven down to walk the Pyrenees with his beagle.

It was a change to sit down and have an English conversation, and the beagle enjoyed it too.

This was his opportunity to wander off campsite exploring.

We found him ten concerning minutes later.

Another camper had temporarily deafened him to our calls with treats.

Now one man and his dog were re-united I returned to my tent to plot.


Planning and priorities

I wondered if I could complete the three climbs left in the area today.

I didn’t feel like easing up. In fact, quite the opposite.

Priority one, however, must be the local super Marche to buy lunch.

Lunch has too often been a hit and miss affair.

When I’m hungry, the shops are closed which means I am too used to convenience rather than planning.

So, plan and prepare is the motto (today anyway).

There were no sandwiches or filled baguettes in the super Marche, but they had boxes of 10 croissants and bananas.

Mustn’t put the croissants in the front seat. I will only demolish them before the end of the road.

If anyone reads this, please do not follow my dietary example of eating anything and everything.

I eat well at night and at breakfast, but during the day it’s just dubious quality carbs and bananas.


I say Bonjour and you say Au revoir

The Col d Aspin near Arreau looked a good start and is like the Col d’ Peyresourde I rode yesterday.

The large chain ring was possible today, but I kept the small one to spin at a nice easy 80+.

I had no spleen rupturing urges today.

After 1Km, two French riders came by me.

We had a brief chat for a Km, an Au revoir, and they lifted their pace.

I thought about hanging on, but I wouldn’t have been able to for long.

Yesterday, there were very few riders on the road, and this surprised me, especially as it was a Sunday, but today was the complete opposite.

The climb today was dotted with them. JOY! And maintaining my steady rhythm was enough to catch many of them.

I would “bonjour” and they would either reply or cheer as the Brompton passed.

And just like the Peyresourde, the summit came too quick.

This had been another beautiful climb in ideal conditions, great scenery, and friendly rider banter.


Opinion reinforced

The top was, however, not so calm.

It was mayhem.

Massing around the top of the climb was a large, organised tour group.

Riders were cheering for those still to reach the summit while others milled around.

The queue for photos at the summit marker was like a lady’s toilet, and we formed an orderly queue.

The Brompton caught their eyes, but no one was daring to approach.

Probably the big masculine beard frightened them off.

They rightly thought that it would be best to avoid the weird person on the Brompton.

However, one chap did eventually come over and speak to me.

Helmut from Munich had joined one of the Pyrenees’ touring groups.

He also owned a Brompton, but for some strange reason he had opted bring his Pinarello Dogma.

Intrigued, he asked about the Brompton configuration and photographic evidence.

He told me about his tour, which reinforced my previous opinion.

These may be great for some, but they weren’t for me.

And so, after a beautiful climb with clean air bursting my lungs, the carpet of road eagerly awaited.

Yes, I feel great, so let’s do just one more, the 10/10 Pla d Adet.