Bagneres de Luchon - Col de Peyresourde

Col de Peyresourde 31.3km, ascent 980m

We had a day off yesterday, relaxing in a subterranean steam room, the "Vaporarium" that's unique to Bagneres de Luchon.

I don't think it helped the muscles much, but it was relaxing in general.

"Luchon" as it's usually known is a superb base for all manner of cycling.

From early July (next week as I write) the gondola from the town centre will be open to mountain bikes.  This gives easy access to 70km of colour graded trails that descend from SuperBagneres ski resort.

There are loads of great road climbs too - SuperBagneres, Col du Portillon to Spain, Port de Balles, and of course the Col de Peyresourde.  

My planning for this Campervan & Cols trip only took us as far as Luchon, the end of the Western Pyrenees, because I didn't know how we'd feel at this point.  Would we want to keep riding Cols or head to the beach?

Turns out Liz has had enough of days when we just ride up to a Col and whizz back down, and she's looking for some touring-type rides which visit quaint villages.  We'll not find that type of ride here among the big mountains, so after today we'll move on.

But not before I ride the Peyresourde.  What a classic!

Never ludicrously steep, it pulls out of Luchon towards the town of Garin, which all the books will tell you is not named after the first winner of the TdF.  That is just a coincidence. 

This was the first major climb of our trip without kilometre markers along its length.

There's one at the start saying 14.5km to climb, which is wrong, it's less than 13km from the sign. The next similar sign, with 3km to go, is correct.

Above Garin there's a lovely open space with a small chapel, and ahead you can see the long, long zigzags that lead to the Col.

Perhaps the Vaporarium had done me more benefit that I thought, but I found this a relatively easy ride and was up and down in under two hours. 

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