Oust to Ax Les Thermes – 123 kms – 3100 metres
Today it got ugly. This was the day they said our sanity would be tested and they were so right! It all happened today. Firstly Wrong directions added an extra 18km’s to our already 123km cycle, bike chains broke and being stuck up at the freezing cold Col D’Agnes and then our guide getting a puncture ending up in the group heading the wrong way. Overall, the hardest day for sure. I think we were losing it mentally at some points in the day!!
We started with Col de Latrape which was 5km up to an altitude of 1111m on an 8.5% gradient passing through a remote village named Aulus les Bains which we were told is one of the most stunning locations in the Pyrenees amd they were right. It is said to have been once famous for it’s bear trainers but we couldn’t see any bears, only more cows.
We had four major climbs today, two of which, Col D’Agnes and Col De Marmare were 11km’s. The Col D’Agnes was an 11km stretch up to 1570 m at 7.4%. There was some pretty amazing scenery including Niaux where you can see prehistoric caves and famous black outlines of horses and bison from 10,800 BC.
We passed through Lordat which is guarded by an 11th century castle and hit another two cols, Marmare at 1361m for 11km with an easyish 4.4% and Col de Chioula which was another easyish 2km up to 1431m with a 3.5% gradient.