The highest Pyrenean pass. 2115m.
Rain, almost from the off. Ailing Skip shepherded by the Rouleur. Pace knocked back to make it active recovery after launching with le Prof. Coffee in Bareges. Solo.
Donned jacket and soon passed by Thorpedo, Trev and Jon. To hang with them was 4.8. I was at 1.8. Drifted up to Superbareges hoping to see Skip and Rouleur behind. Appeared as I was on the ramps. Waited about 7k from summit as rain subsided. Photos occupied my time as the valley started to reveal. A gorgeous view to be sure. Unfinished business. Garbure a sommet.
Started last and then had to stop to sort overshoe fouling. Zoooooooom. Can only remember that I overcooked one corner almost clipping a wooden rail, had to relent for a sheep on the descent thanks to a car's brake lights and that La Mongie monstrosity echoing mountain with prefab. Once up (down?) with the Rouleur, just Thorpedo to tick off, and then cafe solo.
I tried sticking with Trev on the way to the Col d'Aspin. Those pukka pies were too much for me. Ditched overshoes and climbed the sinuous wooded route to the summit with the Rouleur, who had leapfrogged me during the SAG stop 5km out. 4.4 rising to 4.7 as we crested the col a la Hinault / Lemond, an achingly gorgeous view over the trees of the hidden valley, tucked behind the pastoral plateau we had climbed from. My favourite climb so far and sunny conditions to match.
The descent was so good. I chased Thorpedo down losing touch on occasion until we formed the ACG descending team behind Skip and Rouleur. Lovely corners and a few tasty straights, but also nice left/right flicks to play with. Oh for a closed road on that one!
The run in via Serrancolin and the D26 a repeat from yesterday, but not, as the gorgeous sun and the tow behind HC in the van brought extra smiles to the group. A wonder the place had dried out!
Coffee Stop. Mechanical stop for Guy. Reality check for me. Joined by Jon. Musketeers roule-in.
Only a football commentator would say anything as crass as a game of two halves; a weatherman would never stoop.
118km but Garmin not restarted after coffee in Serrancolin.