Pyrenees Allstars Pro Cycling Tourby Bike tour guru
Each year, the Tour de France inspires cyclists all over the world to get on their bikes and hit the roads. The sight of the world's best climbing peak after peak makes us mortals in the world strive to climb those peaks. DuVine guide, Justin, has been a guiding bike tours in France for five years, and has shared with us his first impressions of the Pyrenees mountains that the athletes in the Tour face, which is also a prelude to our own DuVine Alps Pro Series Bike Tour.
My first Tour de France Mountain was the Col de Menté. [Not true actually, it was the Col des Ares; but my first Category 1 was the Menté]. I was 25, strong; I had a road bike that was much too small for me and I knew little about cycling. I told myself I would not stop. Over twelve km and 1 and a half hours I did not stop. I weaved across the road, rode circles in the flats of hairpins, screamed, but I did not stop. At the top I stepped off my bike, and saw a pink, transparent sand dollar floating between my eyes and the ground. I had become a Pyrénées addict.
Four kilometers from the camp I worked at, there was a mountain they had never climbed during the Tour de France. It seemed perfect with its tiny road of sections at 12% rising out of the woods into grass slopes filled with bleats of sheep and bare rock, but Lance Armstrong hadn't been there. I couldn't see the views that much for the cold mist that shoved its way up the hillside. First time I did the Port de Balès there was no paved road down the other side to Luchon. No Tour de France had gone where I'd gone. Worse than an addict, I had become a connoisseur.
The Tourmalet, the Portillon, Superbagnères, Hautecam I sought them out. In the passing years, I've become a collector.
The DuVine Adventures Pyrénées Pro Tour satisfies all those desires. We are proud of this tour - it strikes a profound balance between tranquil pedaling in valleys and foothills under the grand view of raw stone peaks, and rawly tearing yourself apart with a grand view from those peaks. It allows the collector to say, "Well, back when I did the Tourmalet in 2011, I didn't find it as hard as the Aubisque for whatever reason." It allows the connoisseur to state confidently that, "In my opinion, the view from the Col de Bargargui just seems more sublime than that of the Tourmalet." And it lets the climbing addict be an addict.
This tour is not easy. Some stages will be truncated versions of a TDF stage like day 3 with the Peyresourde, the Aspet, the Tourmalet - like three teeth on a saw. And the following day will be the Aubisque and the Col de Marie Blanque. It is hard.
And it is beautiful. The 10 kilometers leading to the Col de Aubisque are some of most gorgeous kilometers of road in the world. The ride up to the Port de Balès is incredibly peaceful. The first day we seem to orbit around the Pic du Midi like moons around Jupiter, following an oscillating path on its foothills.
We spend two days in the Basque Country! The Basque Country is so quietly alive, so rich, so elegantly rustic. It has greens that make one wonder if anything ever dies there, or if it is truly heaven. It has secret climbs, ones that don't get too many Tour looks, like the Col de Bargargui.
There is so much on this tour, too much to write about here - you can't fit a mountain chain into a little blog. Give us a call we'll tell you more. But be careful, the Pyrénées are highly addictive.