Col de Val Louron Azet
Today was campsite moving day and just the one climb, the 7.5 Km climb up the Col de Val Louron Azet from Loudenville.
The climb is 8/10, with 14 hairpins, yes 14!
The 8/10 rating, however, set off a few alarm bells as I have found some 8s much harder than 9s.
As on previous climbs, the small lizards scurrying through the fallen leaves watched me pass.
Further up the 9% slope, the mandatory cows joined me.
They nonchalantly stood in the middle of the road with the resigned expression of yet another cyclist getting in their way.
So, all was going well.
The hairpins changed the views and fuelled my anticipation for a thrilling descent.
Right is right
Then a dreaded fork in the road.
Both roads appeared to be primary routes. One way was straight on, the other was a vicious right-hand turn.
I knew which one I had to take, but yesterday’s experience on the Pla d Adet, had left me a tad wary.
The Garmin sprang into life at the last minute and confirmed my opinion. Right was right.
The summit sign, glorious vistas, and the feeling of it being great to be alive.
The large car park at the summit was empty, with only a few people walking around.
A coffee caravan stood isolated in the far corner of the car park. It was closed. (After all, this is France). People still approached it, just to make sure.
I wandered around to take some photos when a voice asked, “Did I see you in Saint Lary-Soulon?”
(My notoriety was spreading ?)
He was delighted to see me and to satisfy his curiosity.
Not about me, of course, but my attention seeking Brompton. I am just its monkey.
We had a good chat, and he took several photos of my attention seeking steed and the answers to his many questions.
Later, I thought he wanted to show the photos and say to his friends, “I’ll show how stupid the British can be. Look at this one I saw climbing the Pyrenees on a Brompton.”
(It was a good job I didn’t tell him too much about the Pla d Adet if that was his game ?).
The graffiti from previous tours is still clear. It was spine tingling.
These are the roads and climbs I drooled over while watching the tour on TV.
The greats have ridden these roads, and I am now on them. AWESOME!
But it was now time to test out the Kojak slicks and maybe some Swiss Stop brake rubber on 14 hairpins.
Woo-hoo. Alton Towers cannot compete with this ride.
However, the gigantic Tour de France flag painted on the road forced me to stop for a capture.
They used more paint than I would have in my front room.
Back at the car, I suffered a slight nagging doubt of a wrong turn and so I checked the ride on Strava.
Nope, can’t see it!
Swipe into the hidden segments, but just before I screamed an avalanche, I checked on Veloviewer.
It was there, but with a different format to the usual TdF 100 climbs, thank goodness for that.
Another great day and an easy one, which I needed, although I wish the climb had been longer.
Sadly, it was time to leave the rural Pyrenees and enter the more commercialised parts, but at least I could buy the essential souvenir cycling top.
Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam and the Col du Soulor are in now firmly in my sights.