Bedous to Saint Jean Pied de Port - Pau to Porto 2019 - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2019

Bedous to Saint Jean Pied de Port

Over the Col de Bagargui and others.

A cooler and overcast sky this morning.
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Today’s weather looks a little different from yesterday.  It began raining lightly early this morning and it is pretty socked in at the moment.  Our plan today is to ride to Saint Jean-Pied de Port and over the Col de Curutcheta and Col d’Orgambidesca.  For now, here is a pic of our view this morning.

Lovely Ixtila Campground in Larrau.
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While I’m sitting here waiting for the skies to clear and for Sus to wake up, I might as well brush up on the Basque language since we are in Basque Country.

Now, even I can pronounce that one.from a Basque language children’s reader I found in the office of the campground.
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Right from the beginning of the day, a solid climb that made us cry out for our mommies.
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Sue loved the hydrangeas at the campground.
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We got off to a late start today.  Sue slept until 9:30, which is really unlike her.  I took the opportunity to catch up on the blog and down a few coffees.  After packing we were on the road around 10:30.

Col de Bagargi and St. Jean here we come.
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We loved and loathed. We loved he incredible vista. We loathed losing 250m only to have to gain it back a couple of kms later.
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Jacquie GaudetI remember that--and drinking an entire litre of water in Larrau before I started because it was already hot.
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19 hours ago
Sue striking a pose on route from Larrau. Photos do not capture the scale and grandeur of this area.
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Climbing Bagargui. The town of Larrau seen in the distance.
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Today’s route will go down as one of our most memorable.  Although it was a tough day, the expansive scenery and never ending vistas were unforgettable.  The number of opportunities for incredible photos had us stopping often; providing needed relief to our grieving legs.

Now this was one tough, but scenic climb. For about 6kms, the average grade ranged from 11.5 to 13%. How tough is she? Answer: tougher than most.
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Okay.  I really have to take a break from this blog and eat.  It’s already 8pm.  I’ll update this tomorrow morning.  But, just a word or two before I say good night.  If you love cycling and you find yourself in his part of the world, you have to cycle the Col de Bagargui.

This was one of the 10% sections. But, you get the picture. Sus climbing at right.
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Look at that. Pretty much like this all day. If you look closely, you can see Sus I her signature yellow jersey. It really should be the polkadot one from the king of the mountain category in the Tour de France.
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Can. Will. Want. This has become kind of our little mantra when climbing these mountains. It’s moments like these why we come to Europe every year to tour. Sue climbing.
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Here is one of the markers posted every km indicating elevation, kms left and grade of climb. When I saw the 13%, I gasped and Sue let out an audible “No!”.
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The complete lack of car traffic on route today also made this a special day for us. I think we saw more cyclists than cars today.  And the cars that did approach were respectful and took their time passing us on this steep and narrow road.  

On the other hand, I do have to mention the biting horse flies that pestered us for much of today’s climb.  Our slow pace made it easy for these little @#$&’ers to land and take little chunks of us away.  Trying to cycle and swat at the same time on this steep grade was infuriating, and all cyclists know that cycling angry, tense or annoyed decreases your efficiency and makes it all that much more challenging.

We climbed up to the low hanging cloud line, proving relief from the hot weather and created a moody and strangely comforting feeling to the route.
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Made it.
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This little guy was cute, but such a pain in the ass,
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Arriving at the top of the Col, we were greeted by the hairy and wooly welcoming committee.  Alpine sheep, cows, and a very precocious goat roamed around freely; the goat more boldly freer than the others.

This guy was more like a naughty dog, looking for food.  I tried to see if he would eat my banana peel, but he was having none of it and he even snorted his disgust and disapproval towards me.  I even think a little goat snot landed on my arm.

I made the mistake of turning my back on this guy.  I heard this commotion behind me and and people yelling.  I turned to find that he had somehow gotten into my front pannier where we keep our food.  He almost got away with a beautiful Camembert.  He soon realized that no one takes my cheese.

Why not throw one of he both of us in there.
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Descending from the Col de Bagargui. Hardly any traffic.
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This was our next minor climb. The Col de Burdincurucheta.
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Simply a stunning descent on route down to Mendive and St. Jean. Sue ahead.
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Stellar road surface that wound it’s way down. There were stretches of this descent where the grade was such that we were able to fly down safely without using our brakes. How fun does that sound?
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This is a strange shot. Sue and I were right at this same spot almost exactly a year ago. We cut off to the left to climb another memorable Col Burdinolatze. For some reason I recall having peaches as a snack then. Food and memory.
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Alright. That’s it.  Next is the coast.

Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 169 km (105 miles)

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