Friday, August 29, 2008

July 21 Bagneres-de-Luchon FRANCE to Sort SPAIN 113 K / 70 Miles, Col Du Portillon & Port de la Bonaigua

I just had to do it. Take on the Spanish Pyrenees. I was just going to Climb the Col du Portillon into Spain and 20 kilometers later be right back in France, but I decided to cycle across the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Wild, spectacular, high desert, wilderness, with very few towns, lots of incredibly challenging climbs and scintilating descents. I started the day climbing Col du Portillon under overcast skies and the climb is mostly in the trees, so it wasn´t a favorite on my list of climbs but it did have a few 10% sections that got my attention. 5K from the top I´m in cloudy mist and once at the top I had to put on my front lights for the descent. And there was not one sign saying you were leaving Fance or entering Spain. What´s that about? The road N-230 & C-28 had good shoulders all the way to Baqueira where they disappearded as the climb up to the Port de la Bonaigua began. What a climb. The first sign I spotted said 12K and 6% to the top. What a beautiful climb. About 2K from the top a carload of folks going slowly past on a hairpin turn broke into applause for me. I just smiled. The descent to Esterri d´Aneu was 20 kilometers of just fantastic and glorious scenery. Even though the Spanish Electric companies have thrown up a gazillion power lines, it just couldn´t ruin the specially carved out mountains. In Esterri I stopped at a Spanish version of a Boulangerie and had "something". It looked like pizza without cheese. It had a bunch of diced up "somethings". And it was topped with a big sausage link. It was good. I had 2 pieces. I made it to the town of Sort where the campground had more French & Dutch vacationers than Spanish.

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