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Posted on: 18th July 2014

Pyrenees Cycling

Almost every year I come over to France we run a tour in each of the major mountain ranges, the Alpes and the Pyrenees.

While our guests will often spend 24 hours on a flight to meet us at the beginning of the tour, we too have to take a very long drive in a short period of time between the two areas.  This year it was 600km from dropping our Alpes guests off at the Grenoble TGV, to Toulouse airport to meet our fresh guests coming in to sample the Pyrenees.

Feeling a bit hammered from the Alpes, I may have spent more than my share of the drive sprawled across the back seat on a “nana nap”.

We had our pre-tour meeting with our new group of guests in the lobby of the Toulouse hotel, where the décor looked like a scene out of Star-Wars. 

After having a few days off since my accident where I corked my thigh, I was looking forward our welcome ride. I was feeling a bit sheepish with my leg still pretty sore and still being unable to fully extend it, making walking the stairs difficult let alone riding.

With bikes racked and luggage loaded we took off for a light lunch in Revel. Every year I feel we should have a weigh in on day one because of the enjoyment of food and drink that surrounds us. Our “light” lunch would end up being a full three-course meal. 

We arrived at Chateau Garrevaques and received a warm welcome, as we do every time we stay in this historic country estate. Apart from finding ourselves in the midst of a short rain shower, our ride was timed to perfection, having us return in time to watch the final 25km of stage 14. We had to take shelter in a bus stop during the sudden deluge which wasn’t too bad, especially when we saw the wet conditions the racers had to endure. 

I recall one time when the entire peloton stopped under a freeway overpass to escape such a sudden shower. Ah! Those were the days. 

It was great to get out after a few days off after my brief off back in the Alps. I still have major bruising and was wondering whether I should give it another day off. I pushed through the cramping and discomfort and was glad I did, as I believe the exercise brought blood circulation to my thigh and only now 5 days later is the bruising beginning to show. 

Admittedly, a couple of times I had to roll back to the Medical Van and may have held the sill on the car door when a couple of times the road increased in percentage. 

Around the dinner table Rudy shared a story of a time while racing in Spain and he was chasing back to the bunch after falling and the Doctor insisted that he hang onto the car. He allegedly discovered the secret technique of how to overcome the menacing 100km/h one-handed wobbles, until the car hit top speed. 

I’m not sure exactly how much embellishment the story was given…

Written by Phil Anderson

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