The French Pyrénées are a wonderland of exploration and intrigue with many areas often overlooked in search of the more famous cols. Our Undiscovered Pyrénées week is all about heading off the beaten track, taming rugged wilderness and riding in awe at what can so easily be missed. We’ve continually been amazed by what we’ve found when heading into the unknown and now we want to unlock the secrets that we’ve found with you. With full support from The Col Collective let us show you another side to the Pyrénées that’ll continue to enrich your soul for years to come.
WHO’S IT FOR?
This week is for those that may have already conquered the more famous cols and are looking to discover new and untapped areas of the Pyrénées. As with our Grand Cols week a good level of mountain cycling experience is recommended, with the fitness to typically ride 4-5 hours per day back to back. Typically days include 2 climbs, up to 2,500m of elevation gain and are from between 90km to 120km in length. There’s no denying this is going to be a challenging week, but we want you to take your time and enjoy a beautiful and truly rewarding week with The Col Collective.
Due to the continued popularity of this tour we are proud to host two Undiscovered Pyrénées weeks in 2021 with a maximum group size of just 8 riders, and a minimum of 2 support riders, so that we can really support you in true Col Collective style throughout the week.
Mon 28th June - Sun 4th July 2021 (6 nights) - Limited availability.
Sat 4th - Fri 10th September 2021 (6 nights) - Limited availability.
€2,895 per person - based on twin share, includes our ‘all inclusive’ meal package.
€495 - single supplement. As we have limited rooms in our guest house please contact us in advance to confirm availability.
A relaxing environment where we take care of you from start to finish:
Tasty and nutritious food, locally sourced and lovingly prepared to satisfy your palate and hunger:
On the bike fully supported experience:
A thorough recovery to keep you going longer and stronger:
Keeping it simple for you:
What makes The Col Collective Cycling Tours experience unique?
More than just a cycling tour, an authentic experience
More than just a riding event, the experience of riding like a pro without the stress
More than just a moment, a lifetime experience to remember forever
What’s new in 2021?
THE WEEK IN BRIEF > 12 Cols / 585km / 12,000m elevation
Day 1 - Arrival and collection at midday from Toulouse airport, bike build and light spin to loosen the legs and get ready for the week
Day 2 - Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Aspin from Campan > 110km 2,000m elevation
Day 3 - Col des Tentes and Cirque de Troumouse > 90 - 120km / 2,500m elevation
Day 4 - Cauterets, Pont d’Espagne and Cambasque > 90km / 1,800m elevation
Day 5 - Lac de Cap de Long and Col d’Aspin > 120km 2,500m elevation
Day 6 - Col du Soulor, Col d’Aubisque including Cirque du Litor and Couraduque > 115km / 2,500m elevation
Day 7 - All you can eat breakfast (you’ll need it by now), bike packing and transfers back to Toulouse for midday 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 short spin to get the legs turning again after travelling. 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, and what a week it’s going to be be!
One of those unfamiliar faces that caught me by surprise with its unbelievable serenity the first time I rode it was Hourquette d’Ancizan. Memories of that day always put me in a good place so I wanted to share this climb with you all. We’ll start the day by rolling out through the Campan valley where we’ll tackle the first 6,5km 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 for 8km to the 1,564m high summit. Breath deep, the mountain air is so pure it’s invigorating. After a well deserved donkey selfie we’ll momentarily retrace our steps before heading skywards again to the summit of the Aspin, where awe inspiring views of the 2,877m high Pic du Midi de Bigorre and the Louron and Aure valleys await!
Today we head south for one of the most incredible and challenging rides you’ll ever do. A starting point for cols such as the Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden, Luz Saint Sauveur is well versed with cyclists on route to the top of the best known climbs. Often it’s what’s in the other direction that sometimes throws up a surprise or two and that’s exactly the case here as we climb towards the Cirque de Gavarnie’s ancient amphitheatre of rock and eternally flowing waterfalls. Deeply nestled into the UNESCO world heritage site the rugged landscape feels untouched and almost out of character as to what you’d expect from the Pyrénées, with wildlife free to roam the road with not a care in the world. Higher than the Tourmalet at 2,208m the road to the Col des Tentes was originally built to join France and Spain, however the Spanish never got around to finishing their side (mañana, mañana). This makes it even quieter and allows us to appreciate nature, the mountains and the Pyrénées in full purity.
As if it couldn’t get any better, we now head to the largest natural amphitheatre in the Pyrénées for the second half of the ride. Hairpin after hairpin climbing to the Cirque de Troumouse (2,100m) is a true wonder to behold with stunning panoramic views and clean mountain air to make you feel alive. Plus the final 3 kilometres are only open to cyclists so we know we’ll have the whole road to ourselves!
One of the greatest things about the Pyrénées is the diversity of the landscapes and today brings new treasures as we are joined by the white water rapids tumbling down beside us from the Lutour and Ceriset waterfalls on route to one of the most prized sites of the Pyrénées National park, Pont d’Espagne. Passing through the ski station spa town of Cauterets we also have the option to add the testing 5km ascent to Cambasque where a young Miguel Indurain was victorious in the 1989 Tour de France!
Today the Pyrénées hosts a pure masterclass as we start in Saint Lary Soulan to follow the sensational Route des Lacs, another rugged untouched diamond in the heart of the Néouvielle massif. With over 70 lakes, cascading waterfalls and an abundance of flora and fauna the climb up to Lac de Cap de Long (2,160m) is nothing short of a revelation as the aroma of mountain pine fills the air. With no kilometre markings to track our progress we have to rely on the natural landmarks, none so great as the Lacet des Écureuils (squirrels hairpin) with 6.3km to go, followed by the Lacet des Myrtilles and the ancient bends of the Lacet des Edelweiss. It’s here where your heart really starts to pound as the scenery sings and Cap de Long’s huge 100m dam comes into view, making it the highest reservoir in the Pyrénées.
A long descent takes us back to Saint Lary Soulan where we’ll enjoy a moment to recover before tackling 12km of Pyrenean beauty with the Col d Aspin, this time from Arreau. No doubt this will be a challenging day out but one that we’re confident will enrich your soul and instil the simple feeling of freedom and exploration within.
One of our all time favourite roads in the world! The Cirque du Litor is amongst the most picturesque roads imaginable, joining the famous Col d’Aubisque and beautiful Col du Soulor along what appears to be no more than a craggy cliff edge. Although it’s steeped in Tour de France history, first featuring in the 1910 Tour during an unfathomable 326km stage from Bagnères de Luchon to the Atlantic coast, it’s how we get there that makes this ride special. A gentle start will allow the legs to warm up as we head towards what I like to call ‘the forgotten face of the Col du Soulor’. A hidden gem 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. Ride in disbelief at the Cirque du Litor before taking a breather for coffee and Gâteau Basque at the summit of the Aubisque. As if the day just couldn’t get any better we couldn’t help but show you the beautiful 6km Col de Couraduque for a final moment of smiles and big mountain views before we let gravity help us on our way back to The Col Collective HQ.
What a week! All that remains now is a huge breakfast, a little bike packing and shuttle back to Toulouse 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 trim the days down 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 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 vélo 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.
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!
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 email@example.com
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