Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Barèges

Cycling summary

Breakfast: 06:30. Transfer: none. Start time: 08:05. Distance: 117km. Terrain: mountain (3,261 metres climbing). Climbs: one HC (Col du Tourmalet), one Cat 1, one Cat 4. Finish: 16:19. Time in saddle: 6h48. Temp: 30C. Drinks: 4.5 litres.

Suffer scores: John 6/10. Wim 6/10.

Local lowdown

Often on the route, but rarely being the site of the finish line, today’s stage ends on the top of the Tourmalet. I’ve been here twice before and have climbed it from both sides, but never really seen it on account of the weather! Will today be any different? It’s the first time this Tour that we will rise above 2,000 metres. Only another six to go then……

Yep, could see all the way up. This view is looking back down.

Tale from the Tour

Another memorable day, made all the better by great weather. I reckon I’m properly acclimatised now and so with a max temperature of 30C on the Tourmalet and 25C on the Soulor before that in the morning, this was not far from perfect. In fact it was a perfect day’s cycling. Quite short at 117km, which meant I was home and hosed shortly after 4pm.

Still a bit misty by the time we got to the first feedstop, but it soon burned off.

On the statistics front, I have now ridden 100,000 miles since I started cycling in 1995. I reached that point at the top of the Soulor (give or take a few miles maybe as I’m not claiming scientific rigour here, but who cares!). I’ve probably done about one third of those miles in my Bigfoot club jersey, so that’s what I chose to ride in today.

100,000 and counting
On the way up the Soulor

Lots of other stuff going on at the top of the Soulor too, as demonstrated by the photos below.

Don’t you just hate it when someone parks their sheep too close to your car?
Coffee Ian just hates it when someone leans their bike against his van. Whoever leant their donkey against it is in trouble!

Later, on the way to the Tourmalet:

Wallace et Grommet?

Then at the summit, the obligatory glory shot.

I am grateful to Steve back at Bigfoot for analysing such data as I provide for giving the sort of feedback that I really appreciate. Specifically, he has found that I get a better performance benefit from Tarte aux Myrtilles than I do from white Magnums. Sadly, while the latter are available everywhere, the former tends to be ubiquitous in the Vosges only. I’ll have to see if I fare better with almond Magnums!

By the way, if you saw the Tour de France ride into Chalon-sur-Saône yesterday, you may have noticed that in the kilometre or so before the end they were travelling at 68kph. That’s more than I can manage going downhill – top speed today for me was 65kph!

The relatively short course and decent climbing conditions meant that this stage was not as much of a sufferfest as it could have been. Tomorrow might be a different story.

One thought on “Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Barèges”

  1. I think Dylan Groenewegan managed 74 kph in the sprint the other day. Congratulations on riding the Tournament again – you deserved the view.


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