It may not be the highest, hardest or longest climb in the Pyrenees but that’s not to say the Col d’Aspin should be totally overshadowed by the more prestigious peaks in the area. Starting from Sainte Marie de Campan you face a 12.8km climb at a moderate 5% average gradient. Unlike the steep pitches of Hautacam or the Col de Portet d’Aspet, the Aspin is gentle in comparison, initially meandering alongside the Adour de Payolle river before the road starts to rise with 5km to go. It’s for this reason that the Col d’Aspin is a perfect ascent if you’re new to the mountains and want to tackle something a little less daunting but equally as iconic. First used in the Tour de France in 1910 the Aspin has been used over 70 times in the race, often acting as the ‘middle man’ linking the Tourmalet and Peyresourde. Smell the rich pine aroma, fill your lungs with mountain air. The Aspin is like a good friend, there to encourage you to enjoy the day at your own pace and without the nervous prospect of a hammer to the head moment that can so often sit in the back of your mind and distract you from fully appreciating just how wonderfully mellow the mountains can be.
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