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

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Chateau de Pitray
Chateau de Pitray

Without a doubt, this was the cycling trip of a lifetime. The route took us over some of the most challenging and spectacular terrain I've ever encountered. Being an avid cyclist, to have ridden climbs such as the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Marie-Blanque, Peyresourde, and Pailheres is an accomplishment I will brag about for years to come

Rose Hewig, attended in 2009.


Not to be believed! When this trip was first planned I thought to myself, are you crazy? 12 days of riding, 7000-8000 feet per day of climbing? The more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it, and so I did. What an amazing trip. As I have said to everyone, it was everything I expected and much, much more.

Jeff Dux, attended in 2006 and 2010..

Hello everyone, 6 months and counting and then the Pyrenees ride begins. It has been 11 years since I first rode in the Pyrenees Mountains, and it remains as always the best road cycling I have ever enjoyed. The "Ride Across the Pyrenees - coast to coast and back" is now in it's 6th edition, though I hope that life will accord me the opportunity to offer it for many more years to come. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone. In the meantime here are some more photos from my collection (again, in no particular order).

The eastern end of the Pyrenees Mountains, only 30 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast, in the town of Tuchan ... which boasts winning the French National Rugby Amateur Championship - rugby and the Pyrenees go hand in hand, so make sure you like rugby when talking with locals.

Summit of the Porte de Pailheres, back in September 30 - 2006. That's me in front, Scott takes second ... but the truth is that most of the group had already made it to the top.

Down the east side of the Porte de Pailheres. This is the side we will climb up this year, same as I had the route oriented last year. My advice, compact cranks with a minimum of a 12/25 cassette ... don't over estimate your strength and fitness because you will lose.

The famous 3 legged cow ... very serendipitous how the shot came out.

Day 1 in the Pyrenees on the 2010 trip and right away the "sheep cliches" begin. Earl had the gall to ride in the French Pyrenees with an Italian National cycling kit.

Okay, this is what the group in 2006 looked liked on day 9 ... a rag tag mess.

This photo is a nostalgic reminder of how time passes us by. This is me, in 2001, riding towards the Pyrenees for what will be my first experience in these mountains. I was naive for sure, on my steel Bianchi with a 53/39 crank and a 11/23 cassette ... needless to say I paid the price.

No one realizes how hard it is to get these sheep to file by in an organized 2 abreast line ... I forget how many times I made them go back and do it again until they got it right for the photo.

Okay, historically there has always been one day on the Pyrenees trip where we get some wet weather. 2009, it rained on the first day and then never again after that. I think I see smiles ... what do you see?

The title to this photo is "Waiting for Godo." Again, 2006, someone got lost and a mad scramble to track them down was launched. Scott and Robbie waited along the roadside. I do believe that the efforts by clients to get lost is now negated with the use of your Garmin GPS and the "route file map" I will provide. No more excuses.

Col du Tourmalet, 2011, group shot ... couple people missing - probably still groveling up the climb.

Geoff making his way up the Col d'Aspin. This was August 6, 2011, and the weather conditions were perfect, a really spectacular day - note this is day number 9 on the bike. You can see the top off to the left. Again, you will be climbing this side.

Dan from the 2011 trip. The dry sparse vegetation is a dead giveaway for the eastern Pyrenees, not too far from the Med coast ... 30 miles. Small back-roads with little traffic, nice!!

Top of the Col d'Aspin ... and what is that high peak in the background? The Col du Tourmalet, though the very top is accessed via a dirt road. I believe that is the highest peak in the Pyrenees. Get your arm warmers on for the descent. Hurry up Rebecca.

Hmmm ... this could be anywhere, nothing particularly unique to help pinpoint where ... sheep, horses, well paved road, no car traffic, green hills. Did you see the video of the descent I posted from last year, well this is the road.

Al at the top of the Col d'Aspin, 2011. Take a moment to follow the road as far as you can down into the valley. Remember the pro Italian cyclists Ricky, who has been busted for doping the TDF in 2009 ... he broke away from the Peleton coming up this climb, which was quite the show of force ... too bad it was an enhanced performance. Wikipedia has a page on the Col d'Aspin and the TDF riders, check it out.

This pass if off the beaten path, so when you find yourself here you know you are deep in the "backwoods" of the Pyrenees. The Tour came up this side last year, Col d'Agnes. Is this climb any harder or longer than the others ... all I can say is that they are all long and hard, especially if you attack - a fools move - or try to do a "personal record" effort.

Col du Tourmalet, east side, 6 km from the top, average grade 10% - that's what it says on the sign. Launch an attack you think, well by all means, you'll probably ride up this climb only once in your life so go for it. The last thing you want to do is go home thinking you could have gone harder ... don't disappoint.

Joe, as you can see he launched an attack. He made it to the top, but the body language says he's tired.

Col du Tourmalet west side ... you can't even see half way down. 18 km of descent await he/she who makes it to the top ... but I suggest you don't make the Tourmalet the last climb of the day, add the Haute de Cam. By the time you get to the bottom your legs will feel better.

2006 Alberto one switch back away from the summit of the Tourmalet, climbing up the west side. Did it rain recently, is that mud on the road? No it is not, it's sheep crap. I figured that out when I jumped out of the van to take the picture

2006 Group.

2005 - I had a hard time figuring out which was the functioning door handle ... I mean come on, so many to chose from.