Col de Nargo to Tremp - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 22, 2022

Col de Nargo to Tremp

Yesterday we may have said was the best, but then today might have been even better!   We were up and raring to go, so after delicious coffees in the morning sunshine, shortly after the bakery opened at 9am, we were in the saddle.  The morning ride was daunting.  It was 18km straight up hill until the first col.  A third longer than yesterday morning's climb and perhaps our longest, most continuous climb, definitely on this trip and maybe ever.  

Leaving town we stopped for pictures of the austere yet beautiful tenth century church then cruised along on the dead quiet L511.   After four km we started climbing.  We were glad to see a sign indicating that although the Col de Boixols was 18kms away, it showed an average grade of 5% and a picture of a bicycle.  It seemed manageable.  As we rose we had our last views of Nargo, positioned below a huge rock cliff.  The road started to twist and turn around rock formations that left us in cool shade for a bit before coming out to wider vistas with pine trees spread up the mountains on both sides.  After an hour of climbing, we had done 9km and were ready for a nutrition break of yogurt and apples to keep our energy up.  We shared the road with a few motorcycles and even fewer cars, but everyone gave us lots of room as they were taking their time on the windy road too.  Often we could ride side by side and were still able to carry on a conversation, so we took that as a positive sign that we are getting more fit for these routes.  Just before the pass, we came through a cut in the ridge and found ourselves looking at a completely different world.   We sat for lunch looking out at arid, jagged rock walls that drop hundreds of meters below.  A way out in the distance we could just see Col de Nargo.  We'd made it to 1380m!

A note on the mapping:  Finding a cycle route from Col de Nargo to Tremp was not straight forward.  RwGPS suggested a route that was quite direct, but with 67% unpaved - no thanks. Google showed much longer routes either further north or south.  There must be a better route, but Steven was getting cross-eyed looking at tiny roads switchbacking across the ridges, asking "is this paved"?  "Does it eventually join the N260 into Tremp"?   Then Ann remembered that the intrepid Andersons had been through here in 2017 and they said this section was one of the best ever.  On reading their description, and seeing the photos of paved roads, we saw that we could follow the L511 all the way.  We agree with the Andersons that the entire route is fabulous and, as they said, the section between the two cols is particularly amazing.  

We dropped off the Col de Boixols and entered into a world of sheered-off rock cliffs to our right.  The village of Boixols is in the middle of this harsh, inhospitable landscape. Quite a place to live.  Leaving town the road curves around to a narrow gap between two walls of rock.  It is a dramatic setting.  There were more incredible views both looking back and looking forward as we climbed up to the Col de Faidella.  Arriving at this col we knew we'd made it, from here to Tremp is a 30km downhill run into the Vall de Noguera Palleresa.  What a ride!  Still solid rock walls on our right, the valley floor opening up to the left.  The temperature warmed quickly and we shed our layers.  We had a final 10km on the C1412b but it was quiet and mostly downhill so we flew.  The last few meters of climbing in the short burst up to Tremp, brought our elevation gain to 1057m.  We are excited to be at our upgraded accommodations at the Seigle XX where we have paid for the half board, supper and breakfast.  

Morning coffee at the hotel. No worries about wearing a slightly smelly cycling shirt as this an agricultural town and it’s manure spreading season.
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The old church on the edge of town. 10th C.
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Lots of foliage in the windy road, protected from the sun, it’s damp and cool.
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Now the true climbing begins.
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The route followed a valley that gets moderate sun so is very lush.
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Almost at the top.
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Viewpoint at the col with glass railings. Very nice.
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We made it.
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Rachael AndersonCongratulations!
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1 week ago
Picnic lunch at the col.
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The village of Boixols along a ridge. Imagine living way up here in the Middle Ages?
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Church in Boixols
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Roadway cut between two cliff faces.
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Looking back at the split in the two rock faces where the road passes through.
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The Boixols cirque
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Looking down the last, long descent to Tremp
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Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 572 km (355 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 8
Jane KyleWow! What a ride! I continue to enjoy following along! 😊
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1 week ago
Rachael AndersonGreat photos and video! I’m glad our journal could help you find this route.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonOh, I was wrong. It’s this day! God, I’d love to relive this day.
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1 week ago
Rich FrasierIt looks like a great day! Congratulations on all that vertical! A great write-up, too!
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6 days ago
Kathleen ClassenFantastic! Isn’t climbing addictive?
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyYes! The higher you get the better the vistas.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo Rich FrasierThanks Rich! Thanks for the vote of confidence in the blog writing. As you know a lot of effort goes into blog writing. But so glad to have something to go back to, to remember the details of a trip.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo Jane KyleThanks 😊 for reading and sending us a note
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6 days ago