It has been quite a season for sure. I've ridden the Wessex SR, the Pendle, LEL, gone hyper - it's been great.
I want to end the season, and my 40th birthday celebrations on a high note. When I was 18, I toured the Eastern Pyrenees on a mountain bike for 3 weeks. So, a return to Pyrenees seemed a good plan - and I found just the thing.
Audax Club Parisien (who organise PBP and handle validation of BRM events etc.) run a series of Super Randonnee - 600km permanent rides with over 10000 metres of ascent on them.
Whole lot of climbing for sure.
But, the big difference with the Super Randonnee is that you get 50 hours to complete it in, plus an extra hour per 500m of ascent over the 10000m. So, let's say there was a 600km with 15000 metres of ascent on it, you would therefore get 60 hours to complete it.
It just so happens there IS such a ride. 15000 metres of ascent in the Pyrenees. A ride that begins with an ascent of the truly iconic Col Du Tourmalet (the climb that has featured in more Tour De France than any other) and has Col d'Aubisque as it's final climb - oh my!
The ride features two passes at over 2000m (Tourmalet and Port de la Bonaigua) and just a whole host of very serious climbs.
This really is going to be quite something.
4 people have attempted it this season - it's first year of running and 3 have completed it successfully. I hope to become the 4th.
Even with a very relaxed 60 hours to complete the ride, it will still be very, very testing. The terrain is way beyond anything I have ridden any distance on before and will really test me to the limit.
The 60 hour limit sort of breaks it down into 3 days - 2 full and a short day.
I plan to start at 6am on a Wednesday, giving me until 6pm on the Friday to complete. I have a plan to ride 240/200/160 as the split and have a rough schedule that puts me back home in 58 hours.
It is hard, fast touring and I am taking the easy option of hotels for the ride. I am loath to do that, as it means I have to reach certain points, by certain times and it adds some pressure onto me. I wish I could do it like Sophie (the organiser) on her test ride and just sleep in the fields - but her ride was in the high summer, so the flipside is dealing with the heat. I hope that September will be cooler, but hopefully not too wet (though I am prepared to deal with wet weather if that happens).
I hope to get some time off the bike eating good food as well - and certainly taking some photos. This ride looks spectacular and should feature some amazing views.
I am really looking forward to this now and can't wait to fly out the week after next.
Report when I return!
For reference, this is what 15000m of climbing looks like: