Col du Soudet

Col du Soudet out of La Mouline
Date: 12th September 2022
Ride No. 2
Grade: 7/10
Location: la Mouline

Segment ID: 16603011
My Time: 1:25:12






There were two rides left for me to complete the Pyrenees before my adventure ended.

I could ride both climbs in one day.


I could take a ride a day and stay another day.

The weather is glorious, and my family and friends will be at work until the weekend, so little point in rushing back in the middle of the week to an empty house.

So, my penultimate ride is the Col du Soudet.

A ride rated as 8/10 and 15Km, the book says 7% avg. with an 11% max, sounds straight forward.

Today it was moving into the 30s with a humidity in which you couldn’t move without sweating as I arrived at La Mouline.

My arrival caught the eye of a local. I waved, but wisely they returned no response.



My money is on the Garmin for this one

Just like yesterday on the Col de Marie-Blanque, a welcoming 4% for 1Km, before a 9% lump.

My tour guide showed a gradient max 11% and Veloviewer showed a max of 14%.

The Garmin, however, was now displaying 17%.

I believe the Garmin on this occasion over this quad burning stretch.

The first 7Km were gentle S bends with no gradient let-up. Up the climb, you could see far up the road to a distant point that never came closer.

At 8Km, the road twisted, and with-it powerful gusts of wind hit you.

The climb now took on another level of difficulty.



A sticky decision

Now feeling a bit whacked, the idea of a gel entered my head.

My last gel experience of firing one straight at my tonsils was not terrific.

Gently, this time!

Hmm, managed that ok, but I soon started cursing when my hands returned to the bars.

Ugh! When will I ever learn?

Some love them, but I am not a great fan.

Even if I manage them ok, I just end with a sticky sachet in my back pocket, which is only rediscovered when taking the top out of the washing machine.

I think I only took the gel because I had it on me.

The gradient continued rising and falling but eventually succumbed to a more reasonable 5%.

I had read that there would be no summit point and that the end was merely a road junction, but it was still disappointing.

At the junction, there were two signs pointing left. The first pointed 4km to the ski station and the other was a café open sign.

Up I went to investigate and, of course, everything was FERME.

Except for odd cyclists appearing, it was a ghost town

Yes, odd.

The steady stream of cyclist all wore small red/white and green feather decorations in their helmets.

I do not know why, other than they might have been from the same club.



40mph max

The sky is clouding so time to wrap up and go.

With few hairpins and long straight sections, the descent was quick, just freewheeling took you over 40mph.

My Brompton at 40mph+ in a straight line on a smooth road can be super scary.

At these speeds, I have experienced an uncontrollable shaking like an unbalanced car wheel.

When this happens, it is time to seek religion and pray, as any sudden reactive action and hello road kissing time.

Bumpy roads and corners are fine, though, at such speeds.

On a fresh note, they love their cycling in the Pyrenees, especially the tour, and their heroes.

I believe the photograph in my gallery of a mural I spotted painted on a wall is Serge Lapebie, a local hero from the 1960s who died in a car accident.




Back at the campsite (Camping Baretous-Pyrenees) and a ritual Lapsang Souchong, a stale croissant, and a dip.

As this was my last night camping, I needed to be creative with what I had left and so I invented a Saucisson Madras culinary fusion.

Fellow campers jealously looked up from their bland dishes as the aromas wafted around the site.

My newly found friend, however, preferred flapjack.