We are delighted to bring you our Introduction to the Mountains week designed especially for riders with little or no experience of riding the high mountains, but with a passion to do so! You’ve got to start somewhere and The Col Collective would love to help you take that step. With two decades of mountain experience, Mike Cotty will support you throughout the week on and off the bike with practical advice, real world tips and techniques and the opportunity to put everything into practice on some of the greatest and most historic climbs in cycling.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is specifically designed for those with limited mountain experience wishing to learn and practice a range of essential techniques, with guidance and tuition from Mike Cotty. Please note this tour is NOT for beginner cyclists, but those with limited mountain experience. Typically days are shorter to allow time to practice, featuring one main climb and an average distance of 80km with 1,500m elevation gain. Anyone wishing to really tap into the principles of mountain riding, training, nutrition, use of power, recovery, bike set-up and more will really benefit from this week.
Following the demand and continued success of this tour we are pleased to offer three Intro to the Mountains weeks in 2019, each of which are 7 days (6 nights) and limited to just 8 people with 2-3 guides so that we can provide our highest level of personal support, especially when giving guidance on techniques and skills.
15th - 21st June 2019 (6 nights)
25th - 31st July 2019 (6 nights)
26th August - 1st September (6 nights)
€2,400 per person - includes our exclusive Col Collective mountain essentials kit bag! 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!
We are currently working on our 2019 Col Collective kit bag which will include the highest quality mountain essentials gear from our premium partners including custom limited edition Col Collective jersey, nutrition, lighting, tools and more. In 2018 the value of this kit bag was over €850!
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 6 Cols / 360km / 6,950m elevation
Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse airport at midday, bike build and gentle spin to loosen the legs
Day 2 - Col du Soulor and Cirque du Litor > 80km / 1,250m elevation with an option to include Col d’Aubisque
Day 3 - Luz Ardiden with climbing and descending tuition from Mike Cotty > 60km / 1,200m elevation
Day 4 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin > 70km / 1,600m elevation
Day 5 - Hautacam > 60km / 1,100m elevation
Day 6 - Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur > 100km / 1,800m elevation
Day 7 - Well deserved breakfast feast, bike packing and transfer 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 light spin to loosen the legs. 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.
It’s now all eyes on the road as we head towards the supremely picturesque Col du Soulor. With its consistent gradient, the Soulor is a beautiful ascent and one that allows you to really think about what you’re doing, find the right pace, get into a rhythm and enjoy the stunning mountain views. It’s for this reason we make it the first climb of the week, oh, and because it joins the Cirque du Litor one of the most sensational mountain roads there is! A chance to recover at the summit of the Soulor will allow the option to continue to the Col d’Aubisque before gravity takes over, allowing you to find your flow, and enjoy the ride all the way home.
Today we head to Luz Saint Sauveur where we’ll concentrate on climbing and descending techniques on the sinewy slopes of Luz Ardiden. Also known as the Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrenees for its similar character (albeit with 30 bends as opposed to Alpe d’Huez’s 21) this is where the once great Lance Armstrong clipped a spectator in the 2003 Tour de France. Perhaps a technique masterclass from The Col Collective could’ve helped the Texan that day (hee-hee). As it climbs to the ski-station there’s little need to go there unless you’re cycling. This means that we should have the road to ourselves, excellent for the uphill and even better for practicing cornering and descending skills where staying relaxed and confident is your biggest friend. We’ll spend time understanding the essentials, learning techniques that you can put into practice throughout the week and beyond.
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 special place so I wanted to share that same experience with you all. We’ll start the day in the Campan valley where we’ll tackle the first 5km 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 its 1,564m high summit. Breath deep, the mountain air is so pure it’s invigorating. Following an anticlockwise loop we’ll ascend the Col d’Aspin from Arreau with huge views all the way to 1,489m. Aside from having a wonderful day on the bike, the goal today is to give you an opportunity at tackling two climbs in a row.
After yesterday’s double-bill, today we’re heading to Hautacam and another classic of the Tour de France. With a fearsome reputation for its undulating gradient and steep pitches Hautacam is a great backdrop to practice climbing techniques and pacing with a very different character to the climbs that offer a more regular and sustained effort. Another ski station finish means traffic is virtually non existent allowing you to focus on your form and (most importantly) views towards the Pic du Midi and beyond. We’ll spend the afternoon recovering and preparing ourselves for the final big ascent of the Tourmalet tomorrow, with an optional trip to our local bike shop to check out Bernard Hinault’s yellow jersey!
With everything you’ve experienced this week we thought that there’s no better way to put it all into practice and finish the week off in style than with the Col du Tourmalet, arguably the most famous col in Tour de France history. At 19km it’s one of the longer climbs we’ll be doing this week and will give you an opportunity to tackle the high mountains, where the air becomes even thinner, all the way up to its 2,115m summit. The Tourmalet is an absolute icon and one that we want to help you add your legend to. Soak up the views, bask in its history, be proud of yourself. Chapeau, you deserve it.
There’s no such thing as petit-déjeuner in The Col Collective household, more like énorme-déjeuner! Following the feast it’s time to pack and prepare for a 12pm noon drop off back at Toulouse airport.
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. As this is an introduction to the mountains week there will be plenty of opportunities throughout to learn about more than what’s outlined here, for example the principles of using power, pacing, training, nutrition, recovery and more. We’ll have time to answer all of your questions and can provide practical advice and examples both on and off the bike. There are also opportunities to extend rides each day should you wish to add some extra kilometres and hours to the week.
Located in the heart of the Hautes Pyrénées with views towards the 2,877m Pic du Midi de Bigorre, The Col Collective HQ 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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Now in our third season, we're proud to bring you all the info on our new 2019 cycling tours. Whatever your level of cycling we'd be proud to share the road with you and help you become a better rider.
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