Coasts and Cols Tour - Day 4 - 'Don't Play With Giants'

Don't underestimate the mountains; don't play with giants; they're far bigger and more powerful than you'll ever be. That was a lesson I was reminded of after yesterday's "big freeze"; it was also a recurring lesson today, but one that I took heed of...

The first major Col of the day was the Col de Marie Blanque. It is a beautiful climb - a small deserted road, with a stream running alongside. The rain continued this morning though, and the heavens really opened on the top half of this first climb. By the time I had reached the top; pushing my lowest gear on the 13 percent sections; I was cold, sweating and damp.

I descended quickly into the valley, trying not to go too fast, to avoid the wind chill.

Before long, I was weaving onto the second col to conquer - the Col d'Aubisque. I know this climb well, having done it back in 2011; but the weather conditions and bike weight seemed a lot worse this time around. I clicked into a good gear though, and was clocking down the kilometre markers.

I had promised myself a coffee at the ski station halfway up, and I was very grateful when it arrived. Sat drinking a cafe latte, I chatted with the bar keeper, who strongly heeded that today was not a good day to climb the Tourmalet - my intended last climb of the day, because of the inclement weather conditions. I thanked him for the coffee, and proceeded up the last 5km, mulling over my options.

By the time I reached the peak, I had made my decision - I'd stop in the campsite I know in Luz Saint Sauveur, and leave the Tourmalet for tomorrow. I descended the mountain, glad that I didn't have another freezing descent on the horizon.

The climb up through the gorge to Luz Saint Sauveur confirmed that my legs and mind were done for the day; even though the views were stunning.

I set up camp, washed my copious amount of wet and smelly kit, showered, and cooked up a meal.

The mountains are giants. I'll wait until the Tourmalet is in a better mood (hopefully tomorrow), before making my introduction.


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