Saturday, September 6, 2008

July 18 Pailhac(Arreau) to St Lary-Soulan 15K and Pla d'Adet

The valley from Arreau to St Lary is really special. Mountains rise all around, rolling hills of farmland, water rushing here and there. I knew from this short, and mostly flat and rolling terrain that my legs were toasted. About 4K from St Lary a French cyclist on his Specialized road bike pulled alongside and we began to talk. He spoke good English and he asked about my tour and he led me to the Office of Tourism in St Lary. (More to this story tomorrow). I got all the requisite information for my stay in St Lary and acquired my campsite at the 4Star Municipal Campground. A really nice setting in somewhat of a resort/skiing town. Anyway against my better judgment I decided to do a climb since I didn't want to let such a beautiful day go by. Besides the Pla d'Adet only had an advertised 7.5% gradient and I wouldn't have my load. What's the big deal? Well, the big deal is that the info on gradients don't tell the entire story about a climb. By the way, George Hincapie won on the Pla d'Adet a few years back. It is a 10K climb, but the first 7 kilometers are 9% and 10%. The last 3 kilometers are 5%, 6%, and 8%. It was/is a killer climb.

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