Col du Portillon
Flagged by Strava
After riding the Col de Peyresourde, the legs were ready for more.
At the other end of the Bagneres-de-Luchon strip was the start for the Col du Portillon.
I had done my homework on this climb and although the rating was 6/10; I thought it might be tough in places.
Strava flagged the climb as hazardous.
To even see the leader boards required your consent and acknowledgement of it being flagged.
However, there was no mention of why.
There would only be one answer for me.
I NEEDED to know why it was hazardous.
A typical Pyrenees 9% start was fine and the 15% section perked the legs up, which was expected.
Some twists and bends were a push, but not extreme.
The summit was at the top of a 13% bump, and that was it, all done.
It was one of the safest climbs I had done.
The tree lined route had taken away the views, but I couldn’t see the reason for flagging.
I reached two plausible conclusions.
You cross the summit in Spain, which may be too much for some.
A bear might come rampaging out of the forest with a penchant for the blood of an Englishman.
I have since tried to find alternative answers but have not yet succeeded. Most odd.
What I can say now is that I rode from France to Spain and back in a day.
While factually correct, of course, I am sure others will imagine a more epic effort, and I wouldn’t wish to stop them. ?
One other interesting point is that the height of the summit in France is higher (1293m) than it is in Spain (1291.8m).
As I descended, the Strava flagging still puzzled me, but no answers jumped out on me. (Thank goodness ?)
Well, that was the Col du Portillon ridden but not answered, and so the mystery remains.
The great unwashed
Washing! and not just me.
My next mountain was the 11/10 rated Col de Cycling gear.
Back at the campsite, the commercial washing machine stood proudly on its concrete plinth, oblivious to its fate.
Unwittingly accepting all I could force into it; I slammed the door shut.
It had my sympathy, €5, and the two suggested capsules for the task and slowly it groaned into a 40-minute cycle.
It was all going, so was I, next door for a shower.
All the best plans, etc.
A broom and bucket barrier at the main shower blocked my way.
The cleaning attendant heard my sigh and instructed me to use the disabled showers.
This, of course, is something I would not normally do, but as they instructed in me, I went.
It was a luxury.
The hot taps stayed on, and I could sit on a small seat under the shower while I washed the socks I had forgotten to take off.
I scrubbed up well.