September 17, 2012

Cols d'Iraty


17 km, 5.6% average grade, about 1300 meters climb. There are any number of ways to get to a 5.6% average. Grades could, for instance, range between 6% and 5.2%. Not today, the 20km from Mendive started off with a series of, literally: 11.5, 11, 10, 10.5, 11.5 ... you get the idea. For me, it was hard cycling, not a little hard, just hard. My speeds were slow enough to be plain silly. Looked down once since I was picking up speed .... up to 3.2mph. It felt much flatter. Speed demon, am I?






Today's ride took me from St. Jean Pied de Port to Larrau, across the Cols d'Iraty. That s is important: there are three marked on my map: Col d'Haltza, Col de Burdincurutcheta, and then Col Bagargui. This route is a part of the Route des Pyrenees, and travels through the Iraty forest. Reaching the summit of Bagargui from the west, the route takes you past the chalets d'Iraty, and to the "commercial center," which includes a large parking lot. There may be skiing in winter, though I didn't see trails. Very close by is the true summit, with more commercial businesses, but beautiful views to the south and east. The descent was fast, steep and the hairpins often tight.



Tonight I'm in Larrau, tomorrow a hike to one of the close-by gorges.







The images can tell the story better.





8 comments:

  1. All I can say after looking at those mountains and mountain roads and then looking at the two wheels and frame that are getting you over them (looks pretty flimsy to me) is: YIKES!

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    1. Hi Larry,

      My bike, pretty Papillon, looks sturdy and fine .... As for me, when I reached the top, I looked like that Black Skimmer on your site!! Happy birding, keep those lists and photos coming.

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  2. Wonderful photos again, Suze. I like how you're increasing your elevation bit by bit, too. It adds to the drama!

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    1. And thank you, for continuing to travel along in the Pyrenees Atlantique. The elevation does increase (though not today, it rains and rains, so I stay low) but the higher climbs are not necessarily the most difficult ... as you know better than me! I wish every col, however humble or proud, had a sign for us cyclists to collect.

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  3. Terrific photos, comme d'habitude. Being me, I am intrigued by how the French use the term "file Indienne" to mean single-file. (The sign in the first photo.)Is this a bit of ethnic stereotyping that made it from us to them, then we got rid of it (does anyone still say "Indian file" in the US?) but they are stuck with it.

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    1. Coucou, et merci!

      Glad you are out there in cycling cyber space, but I wish you were here with me!

      I think you are right about the phrase, though someone in the US probably does use it, it is no longer on signs or in schoolrooms. It is why I included that image ... so, good photo reading!

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  4. You're an inspiration, Suze, with your fitness and determination. But I can see why you want to cycle up those mountains, the views are fantastic. Beautiful scenery where you are. HOpefully I'll get to see it one day.

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    1. I think it is not too too far from you by car. It is extraordinarily beautiful and exhilarating country. And there is good hiking if you prefer!

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