Luchon to Cadeac, Col de Peyrésourde - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 29, 2022

Luchon to Cadeac, Col de Peyrésourde

After being stymied by rain delays for two days we made the decision to go for it this morning, regardless.  We were hoping that like the last two days, we woke up to rain but by 11am it had cleared.  This morning was the same, the rain stopped at the dot of 11 as we headed off, and it stayed away all day.

The clouds were low, so maybe we wouldn't see much but we were excited to finally be on our way, up to our first French Pyrenee col.  There was some traffic but it died off as we climbed.  We passed through quiet towns, heard church bells ring at noon, and cow bells in the distance.  Slowly, we inched upwards, the clouds thinned and we got our first peek of the hills and mountains around us.  Finally turning a bend, the tree line dropped away and we were left staring at a huge expanse of shorn mountainsides with brown grass, fences and soaring birds.  What an incredible view!  Just before the top we found a sheltered spot for lunch.  Maybe it was an excuse for a break, but it was great to sit and look out at the spectacular sight that dropped away far below us from whence we had come, and devour our egg sandwiches.  

After lunch it was an easy climb the last half km to the top.  Ecstatic that we'd made it, we took the requisite pictures and then put on everything we owned for the ride down to Arreau in the 11C mountain air.  We were looking forward to hot bowls of cafe au lait and patisseries.  However after our rapid 15km descent, Arreau had other plans, there was nothing opened, nada, nothing.  And for the first time this trip, we hadn't booked our accommodations the night before because we hadn't been sure we were even leaving Luchon until this morning.  The places we had marked as possible stays were no longer showing availability; how could this be when the countryside seems devoid of travellers? We sat on a park bench for a half hour calling before we found a place a 15 minute cycle ride farther along our route for tomorrow.

The Hotel Val d'Aure is unassuming from the outside, the room decor is original to the 1950s -or 40s, but the heat was on and we had a huge bathtub with loads of hot water.  Luckily, on check in we were hungry so opted for the demi-pension.  We thought the place was deserted but the dining room was giving off heavenly smells and was already full at 7:30.  Somehow the table beside the fire place was reserved for us, the waiter was charming, the soup came in a tureen with enough for three people, the chèvre salad was devine, the fish and pork were delicious but the deserts were the best: Ann had the praline biscotti and Steve had the cheese plate of assorted local delicacies.  Full, warm and tired, we will sleep well and dream of higher cols to come.

A final word: Today was hard, it was an tough climb.  We felt it.  And I want to add Chapeau (Hat's off), to all of you who have already done this climb, with panniers.  You know who you are, wow!  But I still am, and I will still be super stoked to head up the Col de Hourquette d'Ancizan tomorrow!

On our way.
Heart 6 Comment 0
This Tour de France often comes through here so bicycles are part of the decor
Heart 7 Comment 1
Village nestled in the valley. We were surprised how many there were, but none had a cafe or a bakery that we could see.
Heart 10 Comment 1
Keith ClassenWhat a great looking spot! Glad you went for it!
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1 month ago
Taking a break.
Heart 4 Comment 0
We are getting closer.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Getting above the trees into pasture lands.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 7 Comment 0
There's the road and the valley we have come from.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Leo CainMakes the Cabot trail look like a walk in the park. Amazing.
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1 month ago
Heart 10 Comment 7
Scott AndersonWorth several ♥️‘s!
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1 month ago
David MathersCongratulations, great picture…well done Ann and Steve!
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1 month ago
ann and steve maher-wearyHi David, I just read that you guys did the French Pyrenees in 2016. But I don't see a blog write up anywhere. Am I missing it? Col de Tourmalet tomorrow in sunshine we think. Today the Col de Hourquette was terrific.
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1 month ago
Keith ClassenGreat riding guys! Congrats! You have earned your dinner tonight!
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1 month ago
ann and steve maher-wearyHi Keith, hope you are feeling better soon! Nothing worse than a tooth bothering you. Thanks for following along. You guys are having a fab trip too, 30km walking in one day. Wow! Very interested to see where you go from Seville. Cheers
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1 month ago
David MathersOur Pyrenees trip in 2016 was before journal writing days, although Anne did keep a small diary. We basically followed, who else, but Scott and Rachael’s route. We did the Aspin/ Tourmalet double in glorious sunshine. The uphill was quite challenging 😥 but on the downhill had to stop frequently to cool our rims from riding our brakes 🚴
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1 month ago
David MathersOur Pyrenees trip in 2016 was before journal writing days, although Anne did keep a small diary. We basically followed, who else, but Scott and Rachael’s route. We did the Aspin/ Tourmalet double in glorious sunshine. The uphill was quite challenging 😥 but on the downhill had to stop frequently to cool our rims from riding our brakes 🚴
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1 month ago
New department.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Arreau, very quiet. Apparently Thursday mornings are market day and at 1 pm everyone goes home with all their purchases and full tummies.
Heart 3 Comment 0
"The tranquility of wide open spaces", like today.
Heart 5 Comment 1
Leo CainJust like at youghall beach house 😉🍷
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1 month ago
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
The hotel dinner came with a fireside table.
Heart 7 Comment 1
Scott AndersonLooks like a fantastic spot to spend the evening.
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1 month ago
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 36 km (22 miles)
Total: 735 km (456 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 12
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Scott AndersonYou’re going up Ancizan! I’m so envious. Don’t be discouraged by the steep climb through the village - it doesn’t last long.
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1 month ago
Patrick O'HaraNice work! You guys are in some beautiful territory! Hope you get views in the coming days. Chapeau!
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1 month ago
ann and steve maher-wearyHi Patrick
Thanks, already thinking about tomorrow. Just reread your blog, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aspin on the same day and in the rain! You guys are hardcore. Super impressed. We hope to just do Tourmalet. Hope it goes well.
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1 month ago
Jacquie GaudetSounds like you landed in one of those fantastic little hotels! We had a memorable one in the rain ("Will you be eating here?" "YES!") on our western Alps trip and another just last fall in Andalusia.
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1 month ago