Marciac to Saint Gaudens

What a brilliant day in the saddle! It was a day full of “oohs” and “wow”! It was not an easy day riding up and down hills, ending up 300 metres higher in altitude than the start.

It was only 9 degrees Celsius  when we left Marciac. As we climbed out of town, the mist was rising above the paddocks.

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As we climbed a little further and rounded a bend, our first BIG wow occurred. The Pyrenees were straight ahead, snow capped and very inspiring!

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Still a fair distance away, but we will be there within two days.

We past through many heavily wooded forests today, always climbing. Spinning in our small chain ring, constantly thinking about the days that lay ahead, conserving energy and my knee as much as possible.

We past through villages of Mazous ( 21.7 km), Estampes (24.3 km), and Estampures (27.4 km) and Mazerolles (29.5 km) all very quiet and sleepy.  I think we had seen 3 cars at this stage, and about 8 barking dogs!

At 38.6 km we rode into Trie-sur-Baise a large bastide village. We felt it was too early for coffee but picked up extra water and some Lindt 90% chocolate!

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Trie-sur-Baise, from outside the supermarket!

The road descended and it was great to ride on some flat!

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We crossed the river and climbed into the woods, arriving at Campuzan (49.2 km) to then descend.

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At 51.3 km we crossed another river and rode past this flash looking chateau.

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Flash looking chateau!

The omnipresent Pyrenees kept us very focused view wise! They are getting bigger!! All the time I was wondering which bit we would be climbing through.

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Leaving Lassales at 61.2 km we rode up the steepest pinch of the day with a short 20% incline! Nasty! Granny gear engaged!

Brief deviation: Here is a photo showing page 3 of our route notes from today. Leon, who works with Tony at Caterpillar, asked why my km overall each day are less than Tony’s. ( He has noted this from our strava file uploads, being quite observant!). The answer is simple. It is to do with navigation. We are using my Garmin to try and match route notes. That means if we deviate off course ( eg in a village looking for food, drink, just looking around), if that is not in the course route, I will stop my Garmin and start again when on route

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Look at all the ‘climb into woods’

Below is the church at St Plancard. We stopped just around the corner and had a light snack before yes, climbing into the woods.

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St Plancard (74.8 km)

Another inspiring Pyrenees view!

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Far less inspiring, me having just climbed out of the woods!
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The view I had after climbing out of the woods! This is why I ride my bike!

We eventually ran out of woods to climb, arriving in the very busy town of Saint Gaudens. We are now happily ensconced in our hotel, having arrived quite early. Fortunately we were granted an early check in.

There is a very curious art ‘installation’ just outside our hotel. It is moving. Plank by plank this curious structure is moving with the aide of about 20 helpers!

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Today’s route. 92 km and over 1600 metres climbing.

Finally, the view out our bedroom window is just awful! I am sure you will all agree! A reminder of what is to come in the next few days! Tomorrow is another tough day but the weather forecast is promising!!

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