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  • Hendaye, Pays Basque<br />And the adventure begins width:360;;height:480
  • The official start point - the beach at Hendaye width:640;;height:480
  • View along the coast width:640;;height:264
  • The coastline that the Route de la Corniche d'Urrugne follows width:640;;height:480
  • The first climb of the week - Col de Saint-Ignace width:360;;height:480
  • 169m - a very gentle introduction to what was to come. Note the Basque translation width:640;;height:410
  • The old trains to the summit of La Rhune depart from Col de Saint Ignace width:360;;height:480
  • The final ITT of the 2018 Tour took in this Col, but on a different road to us width:640;;height:480
  • Blue Sky and Mountains; what more could you want? width:640;;height:480
  • Ah - a couple more riders to share the work! width:640;;height:424
  • The Col de Gamia was short but steep, the final climb before lunch width:640;;height:480
  • By now it was a very warm day width:640;;height:480
  • The view from our lunctime picnic at the top of the Col de Gamia width:640;;height:480
  • The final climb of the day - the 500m Col d'Osquich width:312;;height:480
  • Thankful for the some shade in the early afternoon heat width:640;;height:480
  • Real mountains in the background width:640;;height:480
  • An early start on Day 2 width:360;;height:480
  • Some morning mist clinging to the valleys width:640;;height:480
  • Hydration is key - though maybe Steam Whistle Pilsner is not appropriate durung the day! width:360;;height:480
  • The big mountains are getting closer width:640;;height:413
  • The hilltop church at Castet (went there in summer with Jane) as viewed from the road near Bielle width:640;;height:411
  • The HC Col d'Aubisque is up there somewhere width:640;;height:480
  • The Petit Cols du Pays-Basque are behind us now. Mountains proper for 5 days width:640;;height:480
  • Climbing the Aubisque width:360;;height:480
  • Looking down on Gourette as we approach the summit width:640;;height:480
  • The first HC climb of the week width:360;;height:480
  • Aubisque is land of the giants width:640;;height:480
  • Col conquering width:402;;height:480
  • Picnic lunch at the Col width:640;;height:480
  • Fed and watered - it is time for the descent width:640;;height:480
  • The road carved into the rock face - you sometimes wonder "why?" width:640;;height:480
  • The Col du Solour is really just part of the descent width:640;;height:480
  • Though there was a cheekly little climb at the end width:640;;height:480
  • Ready for Day 3 - The Queen Stage width:640;;height:480
  • Taking a tow on the climb up the gorge to the foot of the Tourmalet width:360;;height:480
  • My 3 companions a couple of minutes behind width:360;;height:480
  • Pic du Midi de Bigorre - the weather station and tourist attraction above the Tourmaet width:640;;height:391
  • The highest point of the week width:640;;height:480
  • The final stretch is tough - but on my way to the Cima Coppi prize for first to the highest point of the week width:640;;height:480
  • Cyclists strung out all the way down the valley width:640;;height:480
  • The Tour's favourite climb width:640;;height:480
  • We still have the Aspin in front of us width:640;;height:480
  • You have to be wary of all types of road traffic width:640;;height:470
  • Climbing the Cat 1 Col d'Aspin width:640;;height:480
  • Only 1,500m high at an average gradient of 5%. But still tough on a warm afternoon after the Tourmalet width:640;;height:480
  • Another Col conquered, and more mountain points. width:640;;height:436
  • We didn't stay long at the top due to the threat of rain width:360;;height:480
  • A chilly start to Day 4 means that the arm-warmers are out width:640;;height:480
  • Stella is from Belgium, cycling is the national sport in Belgium. So why did my jersey come from California? width:293;;height:480
  • The early morning mist on the climb of the Peyresourde width:640;;height:480
  • The lifting cloud made this a very atmospheric climb width:360;;height:480
  • View back down the valley width:640;;height:480
  • The Col de Peyresourde marks the departmental border. We are entering the Haute Garonne width:360;;height:480
  • Reaching the summit of the Peyresourde width:360;;height:480
  • A bit higher and steeper than the Aspin, but not as long width:360;;height:480
  • Another easy Col, this will be our lunch stop for the day width:360;;height:480
  • There is an alternate route via the higher Col des Mente width:640;;height:480
  • Climbing the Col des Ares width:640;;height:480
  • Another small nump in the road - 600m is barely worth a Col sign! width:360;;height:480
  • The foot of the hardest climb of the week, only 4.4km but an average of almost 10% width:360;;height:480
  • Polka-dot socks were worn with pride today width:360;;height:480
  • Roads above 10% are very rare in France. Napolean would not have brought his horses this way. width:360;;height:480
  • The summit of the Col is at a modest 1,060m width:360;;height:480
  • That sections at 17% was tough width:360;;height:480
  • Not the most picturesque Col of the week width:640;;height:480
  • Day 5 and the threat of rain so we had our over-shoes ready width:640;;height:480
  • After a lovely 30km ride up the valley, we had coffee at the foot of the Col de Port width:360;;height:480
  • Climbing so fast that I am jst a blurr width:640;;height:480
  • Clouds lingering but thankfully no rain width:360;;height:480
  • More mountain points. Go Leafs Go! width:640;;height:480
  • Descending into the valley, though it remained dry so we got some good speed up width:640;;height:369
  • Another short but steep cimb to the Pas de Souloumbrie width:361;;height:480
  • We had to share the road with some classic cars width:640;;height:480
  • Despite their age, the classic cars were quicker than us up the climb width:360;;height:480
  • Along the Route de Corniche, way above the busy N20 in the valley below width:640;;height:480
  • The road topped out at over 1,200m width:360;;height:480
  • Escape to the Country? Looks like the owners returned the city. width:640;;height:480
  • Col de Marmare, and Col du Chiola, were out of bounds due to roadworks width:360;;height:480
  • Our road to the right and the main road to Andorra in the valley to the left width:640;;height:480
  • The rain kept off but the afternoon was a struggle today width:640;;height:480
  • The final day as he depart our hotel in Ax-les-Thermes width:640;;height:480
  • We have the 19km climb to the 2,001m Col de Pailheres width:360;;height:480
  • A small lake halfway up the climb width:640;;height:480
  • Climbing the Pailheres width:640;;height:480
  • This is a proper HC climb width:640;;height:480
  • 2,001m is so much higher than 1,999m width:360;;height:480
  • A smile as I reach the last major test of the week width:640;;height:480
  • Two of my companions appear from the mist width:640;;height:455
  • It was very cold at the top and extra layers were taken from the van width:640;;height:480
  • But the clouds lifted as we began our descent width:640;;height:480
  • Off the mountain top and then into the fabulously named Gorge du St George width:360;;height:480
  • The Col de Camperie was just a minor blip after Axat, and our lunch stop width:640;;height:480
  • Warming up and thinking of lunch and lomng descent to the coast width:640;;height:480
  • The landscape suddenly became Mediterranean width:640;;height:480
  • And so did the temperature - it was now a very warm day width:640;;height:480
  • The Col de la Bataille was less than 4km and very gentle width:640;;height:480
  • Mountains Classification secured, there was no racing for the line width:635;;height:480
  • Coll de la Batalla is the Catalan name width:640;;height:480
  • The beach at St Cyprien Plage - and the adventure is over width:640;;height:480
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