France From Inside Cycling and Wine Tours France

Cycling, Wine and Cultural Tours in the Dordogne, Pyrenees and Southwest of France.

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Stage 3 of the Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

That's the right attitude, 2 abreast and working together to move along in an orderly fashion.

Day 2 is a massive day (110 miles, 10,500 ft), so stage 3 is more moderate to give everyone a chance to catch their breath. Yes it is still 97 miles, but the climbing is mellow (about 6000 feet), mostly rolling hills with nothing too demanding, unless of course everyone starts to attack one another.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

Designing a route for the Pyrenees challenge is never about getting from point A to point B in the fastest and most efficient line. It is about enjoying the ride, as in "enjoying life!" I say stay away from the roads with traffic, and consequently you'll get to see more of the undiscovered and still pristine landscapes.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

Remember, when you read the profile pay attention to the elevation, we barely reach heights of 2000 ft, so most of what you ride today are mellow grades.

The sun begins to shine as the morning local fog burns off.

Stage 3 starts with about a 15 mile run along side a river before it turns north and uphill. I'm always amazed by the distance that cyclists cover in a short period of time, a perspective that is obvious when I drive the sag-wagon. I'll stop at a bakery to buy fresh bread for lunch and then I'm off to the races in an attempt to catch up to the riders.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

check it out, they are riding on the left hand side of the road. I suppose they haven't seen or heard a car in a long time.

A 1000 miles and 100,000 ft. in the Pyrenees, and for that matter anywhere, is a lot of work. Sometimes my clients at the beginning of the tour are anxious to get to the high mountains, and so initially they may not be as excited with the routes that cross the foothills. But, once they get a taste of what the foothills have to offer, they acknowledge and appreciate each day's course. France is a wonderful place of discovery on a bike, and riding this tour is about discovering all of the Pyrenees, and not just the famous climbs.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

This is an example of quintessential Pyrenees backroads. These roads have so little traffic and are so narrow that it is pointless to paint a median white line.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

Even though today we don't have a lot of climbing we can still push ourselves. From the looks of this picture we had another warm day. I'm guessing we are at about mile 70 for the day.

Stage 3 Pyrenees 1000 mile challenge

This picture is a good example of the proximity of the beginnings of the high mountains and how close we are in the foothills. Just north of us here, probably about 15 miles, is the Col d'Agnes, but you will have to get around or over that mountain range in the picture. The riders here are at almost 2000 ft. elevation.

Trip dates: Aug 27th to Sept 11. Cost $4200. More details here.