Our Grand Cols week is for those that are inspired to conquer the greatest cols in the French Pyrénées. Ride the most famous peaks and add your legend to the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Aspin, Hautacam, Luz Ardiden and many more.
With full support from The Col Collective, ride with and learn from Mike Cotty and the team on the bike each day and recover and relax après velo back at our period guest house.
This is our signature week and is all about escaping to the biggest peaks, helping you become a more accomplished mountain rider and creating memories with The Col Collective that will live with you forever.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is designed for intermediate level riders, guiding you around the greatest climbs made famous by the Tour de France. We’re blessed with having so many options from the door to stretch your limits and keep you hungry for more. If you’ve ridden in the mountains before and are comfortable riding 4-5 hours per day then this is the week for you. We won’t be racing up any climbs so you can set your own pace and we’ll be there to support you all the way to the summit. Typically each day consists of 1 to 3 climbs, 100km to 130km, with 2,000m to 3,000m of ascending. We’ve structured the week to allow recovery time following bigger days so you can truly enjoy this beautiful region and get the most from the week.
We’ll be hosting three Grand Cols weeks in 2018, all are 7 night trips and have a maximum group size of just 8 riders, with 2-3 guides, so that we can really support you in true Col Collective style throughout the week.
9th - 16th June 2018 (7 nights)
13th - 20th July 2018 (7 nights)
23rd - 30th August 2018 (7 nights)
€2,550 per person - based on twin share, includes our exclusive Col Collective mountain essentials kit bag worth over €850! See ‘what’s included’ for details.
€500 - single supplement. As we have limited rooms in our guest house please contact us in advance to confirm availability.
10% discount for non-riding partners.
5% discount for group bookings of 3 or more.
The Col Collective premium mountain essentials kit bag worth over €850!
We are very proud to be able to offer a truly exceptional package from our partners to help you in every area of your cycling. This kit includes:
* The Col Collective Limited Edition
PLUS! Access to preferential Col Collective partner pricing**
** Limitations may apply and can be confirmed prior to booking.
For 2018 we’re currently working on the full contents of our mountain essentials kit bag. Some items may change subject to availability but the value will be equivalent, or more, than quoted.
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 12 Cols / 615km / 12,900m elevation
Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse airport at midday, bike build and light spin to loosen the legs and get ready for the week
Day 2 - Col des Bordères, Soulor and Aubisque including Cirque du Litor > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - Col du Tourmalet from Saint Marie de Campan and Luz Ardiden > 125km / 3,000m elevation
Day 4 - Hautacam > 60km / 1,100m elevation
Day 5 - Transfer to Bagnères de Luchon > Superbagnères, Peyresourde & Aspin > 120km / 3,000m elevation
Day 6 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin from Campan > 110km 2,000m elevation
Day 7 - Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur > 100km / 1,800m elevation
Day 8 - Final big breakfast, high fives, bike packing and transfer back to Toulouse airport for 12pm noon drop off
Learn more about some of the climbs you’ll conquer throughout the week here.
Arriving in Toulouse we’ll collect you and your bike at midday. Snacks and light refreshments will be available on arrival at The Col Collective HQ where we’ll have time to get the bikes built and prepped before a gentle leg loosener ride (the Tourmalet will have to wait another day!) If you prefer to relax by the pool or catch up on recovery after travelling then no problem. Today is an easy day to get you ready for the week ahead. Over dinner Mike will chat you through the schedule for the coming days and no doubt a few tall tales will be told along the way.
The Cirque du Litor is one of the most picturesque roads in the world, joining the famous Col d’Aubisque and beautiful Col du Soulor along what appears to be no more than a craggy cliff edge. Steeped in Tour de France history, it first featured in the 1910 Tour during an unfathomable 326km stage from Bagnères de Luchon to the Atlantic coast. A gentle start will allow the legs to come around after travelling the day prior before tackling the lesser known Col des Bordères. The Soulor’s steady gradient takes you deeper into the mountains as you really start to feel the power and beauty of your surrounds. Ride in awe at the Cirque du Litor before taking a breather for coffee and Gâteau Basque at the summit of the Aubisque. Now awaits the first big descent of the week and what an absolute stunner it is.
Today we’re heading to Saint Marie de Campan, the town where in 1913 during the Tour de France Eugène Christophe repaired his broken forks at a local blacksmiths only to be given a fine by the race organisers for having outside assistance when he needed an extra pair of hands to operate the bellows! And you thought life was unfair? A flat 30km start will allow breakfast to digest well before the road starts to tilt skywards and your superman or woman eye lasers fix themselves firmly on the summit of the legendary Col du Tourmalet. Arguably the most iconic col in Tour de France history the Tourmalet is a big test - 17km long with an average gradient of 7.4%. The highest road pass in the French Pyrénées at 2,115m, making it to the summit and gazing out at the view is worth a million laboured pedal strokes every time.
With time to recover at the summit, we’ll descend to Luz Saint Sauveur for a systems check. How are you feeling? Another climb? Let’s do this! Luz Ardiden, also known as the Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrenees for its similar stats in terms of length and elevation gain (OK, it has 30 bends as opposed to ADH’s 21 but who’s counting?) This is where the once great Lance Armstrong got taken down by a spectator’s rogue musette in the 2003 Tour de France which led to a furious chase back to the peloton before going on to win the stage. Fairytale stuff (quite literally).
After the last two big days in the saddle it’s time to taper things back a notch to allow you to recover. OK, so that’s the theory. The reality is today we’ll take a ride up Hautacam, a climb that’s known as one of the toughest there is with its fluctuating gradient and steep pitches that make finding a rhythm almost impossible. Rolling out to Argèles Gazost provides the perfect warm up. As it’s a ski station summit you can choose to push it on or hold back to enjoy the views. We’ll meet at the top for a Col Collective selfie and a coffee stop before descending back to Argelès Gazost. Afternoon recovery, extra time by the pool, bike maintenance or a Q&A on training, nutrition, technique or anything else you need help with is all optional. We keep this day a little shorter to give you extra time to recover and prepare for tomorrow’s triple bill.
A short transfer in The Col Collective team cars to the spa town of Bagnères de Luchon starts the day where a trio of cols await. Starting with Superbagnères, its relative anonymity nestled amongst better known climbs feels like a secret Pyrenean gift that just keeps getting better the higher you climb, and one that’s surrounded by no less than 15 peaks above 3,000m! The Peyresourde on the other hand needs little introduction as one of the oldest cols in Tour de France history, taking us from the Hautes-Garonne back to the Hautes Pyrénées, with a well deserved crêpe stop at the summit (of course!) Coupled up with the eastern side of the Aspin from Arreau this is going to be a big and beautiful day in the saddle and a real adventure col conquering from Luchon back to base.
Although Hourquette d’Ancizan may be a less familiar ascent it’s one that caught me by surprise with its unbelievable serenity the first time I rode it. Memories of that day always put me in a good place so I wanted to share that same experience with you all. We’ll start the day by rolling out through the Campan valley where we’ll tackle the first 5 km of the Col d’Aspin. An unassuming right hand turn takes us away from the main road and into a world of cycling magnificence. As the road meanders deeper into the wilderness it’s 8km to the 1,564m high summit. Breath deep, the mountain air is so pure it’s invigorating. We’ll pick up the Aspin once again from where we left it to ride Hourquette, 5km from its 1,489m summit, where the road opens up and you’re gifted with sensational views of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2,877m) and by the top unforgettable views of the Louron and Aure valleys.
The final big one and to be honest there’s no other way to finish the week than with the legendary Col du Tourmalet, this time from Luz Saint Sauveur. The name may be the same but from the west it has a very different character than from Saint Marie de Campan. At 19km in length the early slopes can often be a harder battle mentally than physically, knowing how far you have to climb. Keep the faith (and your composure) you can do it! Soak up the Tourmalet, bask in its history, be proud of yourself for a magical week in the mountains as the Pic du Midi comes into view it’s time for one last victory salute. C’est magnifique!
After the mother of all breakfasts, it’s time to pack and prepare for a transfer back to Toulouse airport for a midday drop off.
This is a general itinerary to give you a good idea of what to expect. We may make some adjustments if we think we can further improve the week or if we need to dodge Mother Nature at any time. There’ll be options throughout the week to make days longer or shorter (with transfers to or from climbs) depending on how you’re feeling so rest assured we’re here to look after you.
Located in the heart of the Hautes Pyrénées with views towards the 2,877m Pic du Midi de Bigorre, The Col Collective guest house is a perfect base for cyclists looking to tackle the most prestigious Hors Catégorie climbs, gentle rolling roads or even flatter farmlands that give this area so much charm and character.
We have 5 beautifully appointed en-suite guest bedrooms which can hold a total of 12 people. All of our rooms are named after local peaks or cols and each bring their own unique feel of the Hautes Pyrénées to life.
4 rooms are located in the Grange and 1 room is located in the Maison de Maître. All are warmly appointed and allow for peaceful relaxation and recovery after a great day of cycling. Each room is private and spacious and offers flexible accommodation with the choice of either two single beds or one super king size bed. Complimentary services available in each room include:
Après velo we welcome you to enjoy our heated pool, also known as ’the recovery zone’, cultivate your tan lines in our generously sized courtyard or take a spin into town for a coffee and culture.
Please complete the below booking request form so that we can start working with you to confirm your Col Collective cycling tour. We’ll give you a call or send you an email with more details, also prior to booking we can answer any questions that you may have. Once you’re happy and have confirmed the booking we ask for 30% of the full price of the tour at this time, with the remaining balance paid in full 12 weeks before the tour. Changes and cancellations are detailed in our terms and conditions.
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to welcoming you to our mountains!
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After an incredible first season we are very pleased to offer you our new 2018 cycling tours. Whatever your level of cycling we'd be proud to share the road with you and help you become a better rider.
Quickly see what cycling tours we're offering from May through to September to help you plan your 2018 season.
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New for 2018, our Into the Wild "All Road" tour is for those that have been bitten by the gravel bug and want to go a little deeper off the beaten track, mixing roads with high mountain tracks and trails to get another persepctive on the wild landscapes of the Pyrénées.
If you want to create your own truly unique cycling experience with The Col Collective then drop us a line and we can put a bespoke tour together especially for you and your friends.