The Col Collective

Tour de France

Tour Overview

Our Tour de France week will capture the beauty of the mountains and the colours and character of the Tour as it passes through the Pyrénées. Combining peaceful yet challenging ride days with the spectacle of the world’s biggest race, whilst enjoying every minute with The Col Collective. Riding and watching the Tour in the same week is a surreal experience that often has us pinching ourselves in disbelief at just how magical the mountains can be.

WHO’S IT FOR?

This week is for those who want to experience the magic of the Tour de France close up while also having a challenging and rewarding week on the bike. We’ll be tackling some of the most legendary climbs in the sport plus we’ll be getting up close and personal with the Tour as the pros go full gas in the Pyrénées.

On average rides are around 100km with 2,000m of elevation gain, and plenty of opportunities to extend the shorter days or cut the longer ones depending on how you’re feeling each day. We want this week to be a celebration of the Tour de France, a chance to conquer the most prestigious peaks and a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience it all with personal support from The Col Collective.


Dates & Prices

We’re offering 6 nights accommodation and a maximum group size of just 8 guests with 2-3 guides so that we offer the best possible experience and levels of personal support both on and off the bike.

DATES:

Thur 2nd - Wed 8th July 2020 (6 nights)

PRICE:

€2,595 per person - based on twin share, includes our exclusive Col Collective mountain essentials premium kit bag! See ‘what’s included’ for details.

€495 - 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% loyalty discount for returning guests and for group bookings of 3 or more.


Your stay with us includes

A relaxing environment where we take care of you from start to finish:

  • 6 nights boutique style accommodation at The Col Collective HQ based on a twin share basis. We are a small but beautifully formed guest house therefore single supplement rooms are limited. Please enquire and we will do our best to accommodate. See more about the house in “accommodation”.
  • Personal airport collection and transfers from Toulouse (1 hour 35 transfer to the house). Arrangements can be made for collection from Lourdes train station or airport (10-20 minutes transfer time respectively). For those flying to Paris a ”direct TGV rail service is available to Lourdes train station”.

Tasty and nutritious food, locally sourced and lovingly prepared to satisfy your palate and hunger:

  • Hearty “cyclist” breakfast to get the day started (our local bakery is the stuff of legend).
  • Home cooked healthy evening meals, heartfully prepared using fresh local produce - including beer, house wine and soft drinks.
  • One evening meal out at our award winning local Pyrenean restaurant.
  • Mid-ride mountain coffee stops at our favourite spots.

On the bike fully supported experience:

  • Fully guided rides with Mike and The Col Collective team including professional coaching.
  • Support vehicle on every ride.
  • TORQ nutrition energy products with guidance on fuelling on and off the bike.
  • Numerous and diverse on the road snacks, tailored to your preference.
  • Daily photos capturing the core spirit of your time and achievements with The Col Collective.

A thorough recovery to keep you going longer and stronger:

  • TORQ recovery shake after every ride, plus post ride snacks and hydration.
  • Unlimited daily use of NormaTec recovery “moon” boots.
  • Fresh water swimming pool to cool off and relax your muscles.
  • Post ride recovery yoga and relaxation (optional).
  • Four purring furry friendly cats for extra massage (optional).

Keeping it simple for you:

  • Daily kit wash.
  • Bike valeting service.
  • Workshop, in house mechanic, bike tools and secure storage.
  • Words of wisdom, help, advice and education throughout the week from Mike and The Col Collective team.

The Col Collective mountain essentials premium kit bag!

We are currently working on our 2020 Col Collective kit bag which will include the highest quality mountain essentials gear from our premium partners including limited edition Col Collective jersey, nutrition, lighting, tools and more. In 2019 the value of this kit bag was over €850!

What makes The Col Collective Cycling Tours experience unique?

More than just a cycling tour, an authentic experience

  • Hosting you in our 16th century Pyrenean farm house creates a truly unique and homely environment for you to take a week of relaxation, self-care and incredible mountain challenges. We’re here to share all of our experience with you.
  • Group sizes are kept to a maximum of just 8 riders. This creates a truly personal experience with a 2:1 guest to staff ratio, ensuring that we can offer the absolute highest level of support and service in every area of your week.
  • While the bike riding is an obvious highlight, it’s the before and after that really makes The Col Collective experience unique. From breakfast in our dining room to evening chats in the open air as the sun sets over the mountains, and the scent of our stone baked pizza oven fills the air, we are here as a large family.

More than just a riding event, the experience of riding like a pro without the stress

  • From his childhood, Mike Cotty has lived for the mountains, slowly evolving his passion to become an expert and to be able to share and support you in your own journey to the summit both on and off the bike.
  • Based on his experiences at professional team camps, his connections in the cycling world and with the support of the brands that he’s worked with for many years, we are proud to be able to take care of you like a pro just without the stress of racing. Quite the opposite in fact, we encourage riders to take their time, to savour the moment and let the essence of the mountains run deep inside your soul.
  • Our team will offer you professional advice and guidance on bike skills, techniques, training, nutrition and mental preparation, all tools used by the pros and an increasing part of every day life.

More than just a moment, a lifetime experience to remember forever

  • The Col Collective’s values are deep and simple. We care about health, wellbeing, mindfulness, and nature. We believe that by sharing these with you, we support our guests to become better versions of themselves.
  • Sharing our mountain passion and creating the most personal and well supported experience is our number one goal.
  • Join us to simply share the gift of nature and the great outdoors with each other. We will create this uttermost personal experience for and with you.
  • This is what we believe in. This is who we are. This is what we wish to bring to to you.

What’s new in 2020?

  • All inclusive meals. Package price includes all main meals at the house and when we eat out, meaning you have more for souvenirs!
  • Optional post ride recovery yoga with The Col Collective’s very own qualified yoga teacher.
  • The Col Collective Coaching > Personal training plans to support you in the lead up to your week in the mountains.
  • The opportunity to take your experience to another level with a helicopter mountain sky ride of a lifetime! (an additional fee applies)

What’s not included

  • Your flights and travel arrangements
  • Bike hire. Please contact us to arrange if required
  • Travel and personal insurance
  • Additional sustenance outside of what’s listed above

Itinerary

THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 9 Cols / 500kmkm / 9,500m elevation

Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse airport at midday, bike build and light spin to loosen the legs
Day 2 - One day ahead of the Pros: Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde (final two climbs on Stage 8) > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - One day ahead of the Pros: Col de la Hourcère, Col de Soudet and Col d’Ichere (first three climbs of Stage 9) > 95km / 2,000m elevation
Day 4 - Col de Marie Blanque (final climb of Stage 9) and big cheers for the Pros! > 70km / 1,200m elevation
Day 5 - Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque including Cirque du Litor > 105km / 2,000m elevation
Day 6 - Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur > 100km / 2,000m elevation
Day 7 - Breakfast basking in Tour de France glory, bike packing and (sadly) transfer back to Toulouse airport for 12pm noon drop off

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.

Learn more about some of the climbs you’ll conquer throughout the week here.


Day 1

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 spin. Relaxing by the pool or catching up on recovery after travelling is also an option. Today is an easy day to get you ready for the week ahead. Over dinner Mike will chat through the schedule for the coming days and no doubt a few tall tales will be told along the way.

Day 2

With the buzz of the helicopters and the Tour de France getting ever closer we’ll get right in the thick of the action with a beautiful and challenging 100km loop featuring the final two climbs of Stage 8, the enchanting Port de Balès and classic Col de Peyresourde. I’ll never forget the first time I rode Port de Balès way back in the autumn of 2007 when I was filming a video for l’Etape du Tour. The climb came out of nowhere and as a tiny road unravelled itself I was left in absolute disbelief, beautiful beyond words and with a descent through the Oueil valley that still has me beaming with delight every time! We’ll join the Peyresourde just above Bagnères de Luchon where we’ll have 10 kilometres to climb to the summit at 1,569m. With the road lined with flags and fans it’ll be impossible not to feel the Tour de France vibe in the air. It’s always special to ride such historic climbs and when the Tour’s in town the experience and memories are all the more unique!

Day 3

With the pros following in our footsteps (how cool does that sound?) as they tackle the first big mountain stage in the Pyrénées from Cazères-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle we’ll stay one step ahead of the race as we explore the hidden roads of the Pays Basque, and in particular the final three climbs of Stage 9. Starting with the Col de la Hourcère we’ll ascend for 12km up to 1,440m on roads of Pyrenean purity. A short 5km descent will allow just enough time to catch our breath as we pick up the final 4km of the Col de Soudet (1,540m) just a heartbeat away from the Spanish border, and a 20km ribbon of tarmac awaits that’ll take us back down to the valley for the little 5km Col d’Ichère. To say that we’re excited about this day is an understatement! Although many of these roads may be relatively unknown in comparison to the more famous climbs, every time we explore this area we leave eager for more, more, more! The fact that the Tour is in town and we have the opportunity to showcase the Pays Basque to you is simply genius. Roll on July 4th!

Day 4

Seeing the race in the mountains is absolutely unforgettable and today we’re in for a real treat as we tackle the Col de Marie Blanque just moments before the pros fly up the slopes in hot pursuit of The Col Collective! Just shy of 10 kilometres in length the real kick on this climb comes with four kilometres to go when the gradient rises up to double figures and keeps you pushing all the way to the summit. We’ll find a top spot on the climb to hang out and soak up all the Tour de France atmosphere. Get your catching mitts on and try to hoover up as much Tour de France swag from the caravan before giving it big cheers as the pros race towards the sky! Allez, allez, allez!

Day 5

As the Tour heads into its first rest day, we’ll turn our gaze towards the Col du Soulor. From the north the Soulor is a hidden gem that was featured in the 2019 race and is a climb that always leaves us in awe at its serenity as you start to ascend deep into the mountains, feeling the magnitude and beauty of your surrounds as you do. After a summit break, be welcomed in the Cirque du Litor, one of the most picturesque roads in the world that joins the famous Col d’Aubisque and beautiful Col du Soulor along what appears to be no more than a craggy cliff edge. This stunning road is also steeped in Tour de France history as it first featured in the 1910 Tour during an unfathomable 326km stage from Bagnères de Luchon to the Atlantic coast. Ride in awe at the Cirque du Litor before taking a breather for coffee and Gâteau Basque at the summit of the Aubisque.

Day 6

The final big one and to be honest there’s no other way to finish the week than with the most historic climb in Tour de France history, the legendary Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur. At 19km in length the early slopes can often be a harder battle mentally than physically until mid distance when we’ll hook a right and join the Voie Laurent Fignon (old Tourmalet road) that’s now reserved for cyclists with its faded road markings from past Tour de France battles and an array of wildlife both great and small to keep us company. Keep an eye on the stop watch, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot is the king of the Tourmalet with an eye watering 50 minutes to the summit!! The energy of the Tour may be getting more distant now but the legend of the Tourmalet creates a whole presence of its own. Savour the moment, be proud of yourself, these are the greatest climbs in cycling history and we’re honoured to support and share them with you.

Day 7

A Tour de France breakfast fit for royalty awaits and with mountains and memories to last a lifetime all that’s to do now is 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.


About the house

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:

  • Stretch mats and foam roller
  • NormaTec recovery system
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Hairdryer…..gotta look good off the bike
  • Safe for valuables
  • Towels
  • Soap and shampoo
  • WIFI

Après velo we welcome you to enjoy our 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.


I wanted to thank you and Mike for hosting us I had such a good time, and was pinching myself that I had the opportunity to visit you. You both are such generous and gracious hosts, and the property is beautiful. The evenings around the dinner table were my favorite moments from the trip because we were all together, which is something of a novelty for me. I'm still laughing at some of the stories you told as it seems you've had some interesting experiences! Thank you so very much.
Tina - SAN FRANCISCO
Thank you for hosting our best holiday ever! We had so much fun spending time with you and sharing fond memories of the cols and at the dinner table. We truly appreciate how you welcomed us into your home, your generosity, thoughtfulness and care are amazing.
Matt and Ivy - SAN FRANCISCO
Chez Cotty was an inspiration made by the lovely people in it. The best moment of my life sits 2000m above the clouds at the peak of the Tourmalet. Thanks for making memories of a lifetime both on and off the saddle.
Cormac - UK
I can't even put into words. I can't wait to get back here. I'll be on my bike training away for the next time. People ask me what is was like, honestly words can't do it justice. I can't wait to do it again. Gratitude doesn't scratch the surface. Namaste
Jonathan - Canada
I wanted to thank you again for an amazing week. I returned home recharged, inspired, and ready to take on all my normal responsibilities in life. Your passion and hard work made the trip more than a cycling experience, and something I've reflected on numerous times over the past week. Watching you work together to make a week tour the best it can possibility be for 5 random strangers simply blew me away.
Lance - USA
I just wanted to say thanks again to you, Mike and Jérôme for an absolutely amazing week that I will never forget! It was my first proper cycling holiday and it was far beyond my expectations! Not only the scenery was out of this world but the support on the rides and back at the house definitely played a huge part in making it all possible, even more so as it was my first time in the mountains. I don't think I've ever met anyone more dedicated and more passionate about what they do than you and Mike and so that also was very inspirational. Also I wanted to say thank you again to Mike for that last big ride where he took me on some of his favourite roads and really pushed me to the limit. Thanks to that I've discovered more about what I can do and that you can always push further.
Anthony - UK
I just wanted to thank you both very much for a memorable stay at your lovely place in the Pyrenees. Despite being unable to ride (and I was very sad about that) I still very much enjoyed meeting you guys, imbibing the cycling chat and taking in the beautiful surroundings. Your dedication to cycling raised my spirits, which my pesky illness had been gradually eroding. I was so impressed by the serious work ethic applied to all your endeavours which was inspiring, you made us feel very welcome.
Georgina - UK
Guys, wanted to say a sincere thank you for a great trip. You made us feel more than welcome, it felt like we were staying with friends. The fact that you’re both genuinely great company helped that along! Absolutely love the concept of what you are trying to do, I think you’ve got a nice niche absolutely nailed.
Ian - UK
We had such a lovely time staying with you. I’ve had a few passions in my time (photography and skydiving [short-lived!] being two) and compared to either of those cyclists are just the best (and least geeky)! And you guys are top of the tree!! We must present a proper mid-life-crisis amateur look, but there was absolutely no condescension or impatience from Mike or anyone else. Thank you both again SO much for a truly memorable and absolutely brilliant time. Please give us early notice of next season! We will be recommending you to all our friends, but only after we have booked ourselves…
James - UK
Thanks again to you both for a great few days - you've got a winning formula and am sure you'll have some busy weeks coming up
James - UK
Just wanted to say thanks to you all for hosting us. We had a great time. and the more I sit at my desk, the better the memories!!! You might have a few enquiries come through for next year from some of my friends and colleagues!
Matthew - UK
I cannot thank you enough for your amazing hospitality, your kindness and caring is phenomenal, Maccy has fallen in love with everything. We will be back very soon, massive appreciation of everything
Tim - UK
Hi, please let me know when you have firmed up the dates for 2018. I plan to return for another week with you. I am still reliving my trip and cannot tell enough people what a fantastic trip it was. Perhaps I will have a small contingent of Calgarians joining me.
Alex - Canada
Some of the pics you took are magazine quality, and I'd like to put them in my slide show. Maybe I can get a few of my friends to join us next year? I definitely want to! I think about that week every day! P.S. Please say "hello" to Jerome (I really enjoyed riding with him and his sense of humor too).
Herb - USA
I had a blast and still can't stop thinking about how much fun the trip was. You guys really made us feel welcome and felt like we were with friends not tour operators!!
Jason - Australia
Miss you all after a wonderful week, I feel sad but happy to have met you all! Thank you so much for an unforgettable week with you, Deb and Jerome. Hope to be back soon if possible.
Luis - Galicia
Hope you are having some quality catch up time after the craziness of last week. You really are the best hosts that any cycling enthusiast could wish for!!
Martine - Ireland
We really enjoyed the whole experience. Thank you for spending so much time with and for taking such great care of us. We look forward to joining another tour in the future!
Christine - USA
Deb & Mike!! Thank you so much for a magical week. I am already missing all the great moments we all had together during this last week! Enjoyed every moment on and off the bike. Congratulations on building such a great structure and life. Wishing you all the happiness and success moving forward.
Fabio - Brasil
Your hospitality and expertise was second to none. I've been away a few times on cycling holidays, and none of the trips come close to the standard you guys provided. You really did think of everything, and made us all feel so very welcome. It just felt like such an easy, relaxed, and happy week, and helped me personally in lots of ways. Thanks for encouraging me to keep going!! I'd love to come back again next summer if there's a similar week (don't think I'd manage the advanced weeks yet!!) Keep me informed. I'll be there in a heartbeat!!
Suzanne - Ireland
Thank you for a genuinely wonderful experience.
Sam - USA
I had a fantastic time with you all, what a week my friend, unforgettable, not for a second. I appreciate every detail and all you did for me. I am honoured and proud to have ridden and shared these great moments. Thanks for taking care of me and for all your kindness!
Andreas - Switzerland

Booking Terms

Please complete the below booking request form so that we can start working with you to confirm your Col Collective cycling adventure. 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!

Ride safe,

Mike Cotty

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE OCCASIONALLY ENCOUNTER AN ISSUE WITH OUR BOOKING FORM. IF YOU DON’T HEAR FROM US WITHIN 48 HOURS PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO cycilngtours@thecolcollective.com


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Now in our fourth season, we're proud to bring you all the info on our new 2020 cycling tours. Whatever your level of cycling we'd be proud to share the road with you and help you become a more accomplished mountain rider.

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