Saturday, September 27, 2008

July 11 Walking Tour Of Argeles-Gazost

Not much in the way of photo opportuinities. It was late and the sky was gray. I'll add some more later of the "Centre Ville". Click on the Cross photo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

July 12 Lourdes

Today is a day "off the bike". A zero day. I took the local bus to the pilgrim city of Lourdes at 10:15 this morning. It was a 25 minute ride and I hopped off the bus into the drizzle and searched out the Tourism Office. Once I had a city map in hand I was off, only God knew where. But soon I discovered a blue line painted along the streets that turned out to be a walking tour of Lourdes. There are a number of churches in town, but the main church, the shrine, THE SANCTUARY is why the pilgrims are here. The plaza around the Sanctuary church can handle 80,000 people. I saw "a league of nations" parading toward the Church. One youth group broke into clapping when they first laid their eyes on the Church in the distance. This is obviously a sacred place to Roman Catholic Christians. And I'm sure many others visit out of curiosity. I'm glad I got to spend some time praying here. I hope the paintings/murals are clear enough in my photos. There is a hotel for just about every saint including the "fuzzy" St Charles! Must be my friend at WCCC library. He's a little fuzzy in the head. "Buy me something Charlie".

Sunday, September 21, 2008

July 13 Col du Soulor - Col d'Aubisque - Pont d'Espagne

What an incredible day. I got to climb three of the famous Tour De France Climbs. And in doing so I discovered that two of them are really one climb with a 2K downhill in between. I started out of Argeles-Gazost with a 3K steep climb, then it went up more gradually but it still was climbing until the village of Arrens-Marsous where you begin the climb up the Col du Soulor. There are signs every Kilometer telling you the gradient/% and number of meters ascended and how far to the top. Soulor was 7 1/2 %, then 8%, Then 8 1/2%, for 11K. Once on top of Soulor there is a 2K incredible descent (you don't want to go off the side) and then you begin the climb up the Aubisque (Oh - beesk) (I call it ahh - biscuit). The Aubisque itself, for all it's fame is only 5K. But the last Kilometer is at 8% at the end of a 16K climb from Arrens-Marsous and 30K from Argeles-Gazost.

After the downhill run back to Argeles-Gazost and my campground I headed off to Cauterets to climb Pont d'Espagne. Turns out it's only flat until Soulom, then you have an 11K climb, a beautiful climb, to Cauterets, and then you begin the 8K climb up the Pont d'Espagne. Truly a fabulous climb. The phots hopefully give you an idea of the scenic beauty. For 19K / 12 Miles you are riding along cascading waters.