DAY 1 – MONDAY 19 AUGUST 2019
Welcome to France.
ARRIVAL DAY– Grupetto Welcome Ride
Pick up time: 9am
Pick up location: Toulouse, Blagnac Airport.
Today’s Ride: 50km loop
Accommodation: Lourdes Spa and Bike Hotel
Phil Anderson has created a wonderful first ride, reminiscent of his traditional welcome ride today’s session is a little longer than usual and will start later in the day to allow time for your arrival and bike set up.
Phil also welcomes his right hand man, Rudy Rogiers to the camp. Rudy is your typical Belgian hardman who placed second in 1984 to Sean Kelly in a notoriously muddy Paris-Roubaix. You can look forward to his stoic attitude to cycling induced pain and who with Phil will regale you with tales about the Golden Age of cycling in Europe.
Today we have a 50 km loop on reasonably flat roads that many will not have ridden. We stay away from the high passes skirting the foothills, rolling the legs out gently, readying for the days ahead.
7.30pm: Join us for a Welcome Dinner, meet up with your fellow guests – cycling and non cycling over a lovely French dinner.
DAY 2 – TUESDAY 20 AUG 2019
Today’s Ride: 125km
Today we will be riding the classic Aubisque, Soulor loop in an anticlockwise direction enabling us to warm up on small undulating roads getting good endurance kilometres in the legs before we begin the ascent of the Col d’Aubisque. Introduced into Tour de France folklore in 1910 it has savaged the legs of cyclists ever since.
We are not out to break strava records today, more a good climb at a solid tempo all the way up this long climb. At 1709m with a tough gradient this climb is the hard steady effort you need at the start of the week.
With one of the hardest climbs ever introduced into Le Tour ticked we have only a short descent to the valley and home with time to recover for a long day tomorrow.
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY 21 AUG 2019
STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE
Today’s Ride: 212km, Elevation Gain +4485m (Plenty of shorter options available)
We back up with another hard preparation day, the longest ride of our week and one which includes a couple of Hor Cat Climbs. Today’s ride is not not atypical of a Tour de France stage however today we focus on endurance and save our race face for the weekend.
We roll out on classic small roads for 85km before starting the ascent of the Port de Balès, a stand-alone monster followed by the ascent of the Peyresourde one of the most frequently climbed passes of Le Tour de France. The fast technical descent into the valley is time used to recover before we climb the Col d’Aspin. At 1490m it is by no means the highest but it would have to be one of the most beautiful ascents. The entire climb is through alpine pasture, the views memorable.
A mammoth day of steady riding. We’ll have shorter options/ shortcuts available depending on how much or how little you’d like to ride on the day, it’s great preperation for doing the Gradfondo!
DAY 4 – THURSDAY 22 AUG 2019
Today’s Ride: 60km flat’ish
We are starting to taper and a short ride without the prerequisite Cat climbs we ordinarily insist on is on our ride cards for today.
Phil has designed a 60km loop that exits Lourdes via country lane-ways to the North East. It is difficult to avoid some hills in the Pyrenees and so we begin the ride with an undulating 7km gradual climb. With very little variation in the gradient for the rest of the ride we can roll out some tempo kilometres early in the day while enjoying a sensational vista of the high Pyrenees all around us.
A stop in Tarbes is on the cards, perhaps a coffee or pastry before heading home for more recovery, perhaps a spa or massage but definitely feet up.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY 23 AUG 2019
Today’s Ride: 60km + elevation 1415
As the Granfondo Marmotte Pyrenees looms closer and we start to worry about our form, Phil has included another 60km ride to the program but with the addition of a little mountain en-route. Its hard not to prepare for any climbing conquest in the Pyrenees without an assault of the Hautacam so, here it is.
A 15km climb up to 1635m summit the Hautacam is unpredictable and should be approached today as a test of your mental tenacity and ability to adapt to changing tempo’s. The average gradient is 7% but there are flatter sections, even the odd downhill reprieve suggesting a sharp ascent as we near the top.
The approach is flat, it is a short hard climb up the Hautacam, today is a great way to experience and prepare for the final climb of Sunday’s Granfondo. We descend off the mountain, then have a flat finish to home to cool down. Perfect.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY 24 AUG 2019
SHARPENER WITH ADMIN
Today’s Ride: 26km + if you need.
For those amongst you that are ever hungry for hills Phil has designed a spectacular little loop that will twist and turn, all the while climbing through small villages and hamlets to the Col de Lingus. There is an opt out before the top that will give you a 25km ride back to Lourdes.
There is a 10km addition to this ride if there is any interest. Both rides need to turn and head to Argelès-Gazost to collect race numbers and register which adds another 10km to the ride chosen.
Finally you can simply ride to Argelès-Gazost on the bike path and ride home, easy easy.
DAY 7 – SUNDAY 25 AUG 2019
GRANFONDO MARMOTT PYRENEES DAY
Today’s Ride: 163km +5600m (Shorter options available, ask us how)
The Granfondo will start in Luz St Sauveuralong before the first climb of the day, the Col du Tourmalet, a Hor Cat. climb at 17.5km long. A fairly consistent gradient followed by a nice descent on a wide open road to the 1st cat Hourquette d’Ancizan. Another long climb at 17km’s but its not as severe as some and should be ridden in reserve with an eye to the scenery on the ascent but on the road on the more technical descent to the base of the Aspin. Familiar with this climb now you need to hold yourself in check before your second ascent of the approaching Tourmalet.
As we approach the Tourmalet again we are now having to dig deep into reserves. Whatever pace you ride the pain will be tearing through your legs but as you press on and up approaching La Mongie you will realize that there is only 3 kms to the top followed by a reprieve – descent and only one more mountain, just one.
The climb to Hautacam 14.7km’s and only 7% average grade, however the 4 climbs preceding will have taken a toll and this will be one hell of a climb to the finish.
We will facilitate a transfer or roll back on the flat to the luxury of our hotel.
7.30pm: Tonight we’ll celebrate a great week in the Pyrenees with a final group dinner.
DAY 8 – MONDAY 26 AUG 2019
Departure Day – À bientôt!
9am: This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Toulouse Blagnac Airport or Lourdes Train Station.
Thank you for joining us.