Your support crew Julie and Ian have run this tour 42 times in the past 12 years with Ian riding 28 of the Raid Pyrenean or Pyrenean Traverse. They know every road, café, climb and short cuts…… so you will be in good hands for your cycling adventure.
We will pick you up from Toulouse airport in the morning and transfer you to the starting hotel in Hendaye. You also have the option to fly directly to Biarritz and we will meet you at the hotel in the afternoon. Time for building bikes and a test ride down to the sea front before having the welcome meal where we will hand out the goody bags including route cards and special tour jersey. Then a good nights sleep before the start in the morning.
The first day takes you from the Atlantic Ocean into the low Pyrenees taking in the Col de St-Ignace (169m), Col de Pinodieta (176m), Col d'Ipharlatze (328m) and the Col d' Osquich (500m). We have a picnic lunch today as we stay to the rural Basque Country roads. These small climbs should allow you to get a taste of what is to come for the next 5 days. We stay in the pretty village of Arette and have a welcome evening meal in a great little hotel with a great little bar.
After a short rolling ride from Arette, the first climb of the day is the Col de Marie-Blanque (1035m) a beautiful but very challenging climb, but we will be at the top with bags of encouragment. The descent is well worth the effort though and we swing down to a beautiful valley ride into Laruns and a well earned café stop before starting the ascent to the Col D' Aubisque (1709m) and a welcoming lunch at the top with stunning views. The descent from the Aubisque is spectacular riding through mountainside tunnels and very narrow roads perched on the side of the cliff. The Col de Soulor (1466m) is next but most of it has already been climbed so it passes without a hitch before descending into Argelès Gazost where we turn right and head up to the big one. The Col Du Tourmalet (2115m) is last on the list and we will take our time climbing before hitting the summit and the famous café & shop where you can buy all the Tourmalet memorabilia before descending into St Marie de Campan and a well earned beer and rest. Todays stage is ALWAYS a big worry for most cyclists, it is the Queens Stage, but do not worry about it. You can split the day up into 3 segments and we will support you through those parts of the days and encourage you all the way. With out experience and your determination, this day will be etched into your memory and the most Epic on a bike ever....... you can do it and the smile on your face at the evening meal will be worth everything..... Trust us!! we mean it!!!!
We start out at the base of the Col d'Aspin (1489m) but this is a gentle warm up for the first 6 km before the final 5 km of real climbing. At the summit you will be face to face with a few cows or a range of other animals, but they are all friendly. We then ride the final stretch over the Col de Peyresourde (1569m) and back to our centre in Luscan for a slap up meal and a relax next to the pool. A good chance to wash the kit and check out the bikes in our workshop.
After leaving Luscan we head over the Col des Ares (797m) and the Col De Buret (599m) which warms the legs up before the start of the Col De Portet d' Aspet (1069m) where you can see the monument of Fabio Casatelli. We head down into the valley towards St Girons before heading down into the Gorge de Ribaouto and the Col de Port (1249m). The hotel is all the way down hill into Tarascon where the owners are always waiting for us with a beer or two.
The penultimate stage and it is a long one, with the first of three major climbs coming up after around 30km. The Col de Marmare (1367m), a long but gentle climb through the trees followed by the Col des Sept Frères (1253m) soon after but a mere mole hill in comparison. Then a long down hill ride through tunnels and overhanging cliffs to Axat for lunch. After refueling it is a hard slog up the Col de Jau (1513m) but with a fantastic descent directly to the hotel. Here you can relax by the pool before a great dinner in the beautiful square of Prades.
The last stage in this epic personal achievement. 85km downhill to the Mediterranean and hopefully with a tailwind. A gentle ride in and then relax in the seaside restaurant where we can have a well earned lunch after dipping your toe into the water to seal the challenge. We will then load the bikes and head back to Toulouse for the evening where we will go out to a restaurant for the celebratory meal where we can chat about the week and receive your certificates.
The hotel is very close to the airport so a quick transfer after breakfast or if your flight is a little later then leave your luggage at the hotel and take the shuttle bus into Toulouse for a day out. You can always fly out of Perpignan on the Friday afternoon if this is better for you.
We provide you with daily route cards which follows closely the official Raid Route but keeps away from the busy roads and sticks to country lanes We also give you a fantastic cycle jersey so you can ride the tour in style. And of course a little memento at the end.
The itinerary may change from time to time but is basically the set route for our version of the Pyrenean Traverse. If you are reasonably fit you will be able to complete this course but will need to train for it. There is always vehicle support in case you get into difficulties or if you choose from the outset that you might only want to ride parts of the route - we can advise the best bits and drop you ahead of the group.
All your luggage and bike containers are transported between stages. There is also mechanical support available so you do not have to worry about anything other than enjoying the ride
"I have just completed a Pyrenean traverse with Pyrenees Multisport and have to say that Julie and Ian have been fantastic hosts. From being picked up to being dropped off everything has been dealt with perfectly. The trip itself is fantastic and the support they provide felt reassuring without being overbearing. I was able to go off by myself without feeling I needed to be in the group and when I needed assistance they were never far away.
The trip felt physically demanding, but very achievable if you do the right training. Listen to Ian and Julie's advice, it will make the week so much better. If you are interested in doing something like this I can't recommend Pyrenees Multisport enough" - Tom Greetham - Sept '16
"Just a note to thank you once again for a terrific trip in the Pyrenees. I am still on cloud 9 and still catch myself looking through the many photos that (as you well know) I took during the scenic rides in the mountains. I appreciate the personalized service that you provided, with Ian riding with the group and Julie present to cater to our every need (I still remember the hot cup of tea I had in the van at the top of the Col de Marmare when the weather turned cool)." - Ken Bunker - Sept '06