Monday, January 10, 2011

If ever a village was aptly named....

I took a hooky day last week and my pa-in-law & I drove down to the Pyrenees to map out our route for the cycle ride we're undertaking later this year.

Of course, the summit of the Col de Tourmalet is closed at this time of year but we wanted to make sure that our route took us on small roads through pretty villages with plenty of welcoming cafés and bars to stop at along the way.  There's plenty of preparation needed for a ride like this but fortunately France is incredibly cyclist friendly and beau pere has plenty of experience having tackled many mountain stages previously.

Handily the Ryanair flights from London arrive in Pau at 9.15am, so we're picking up the English contingent, having brunch, then setting off from Luz St Saveur at the foot of the mountain.

Up and over the Tourmalet then we're stopping in the famous town of Lourdes after a 70km day.

Day two sees a 120km trip through the foothills of the Pyrenees and up to Mont de Marsan, then on day three we're cycling another 120 km's through the forest of the Landes up to the famous vineyards of Cadillac.

It's on day three that we'll be pedalling through the aptly named village of Sore.  I was tempted to cheat here as there's a village outside Cognac called Ars and I was going to put both photos together.  Sadly though we won't actually be going through it and I guess we won't feel like making a 20km detour at that stage just for a tacky photo opportunity.

The last day sees a straight run home through St Emillion and up to Cognac - 120 km's of gruelling hills through the rolling vineyards of the Charente.

Lourdes, Tourmalet, St Emillion, Cognac - it's going to be an epic journey and I'm determined to make it. Now I just need to lose a dozen kilos and step up my training to three days a week!

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