The Col Collective

Undiscovered Pyrénées

Tour Overview

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.


Dates & Prices

Due to the continued popularity of this tour we are proud to host two Undiscovered Pyrénées weeks in 2020 with a maximum group size of just 8 riders, and 2-3 guides so that we can really support you in true Col Collective style throughout the week.

DATES:

Wed 24th June - Tue 30th June 2020 (6 nights)

Wed 2nd - Tue 8th September 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 or 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 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 > 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.


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 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!

Day 2

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!

Day 3

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!

Day 4

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!

Day 5

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.

Day 6

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.

Day 7

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.


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 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.


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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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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About The Col Collective Cycling Tours

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.

Quick link to our 2020 cycling tours schedule!

We're very excited to announce our cycling tours schedule for 2020 including brand new experiences on the Tourmalet, at the Vuelta and on the mighty Mont Ventoux!

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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 bike race.

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Brand new for 2020, our Taming the Ventoux challenge is for those that wish to conquer all three sides of this mythical mountain in one day to become a member of the prestigious Club des Cinglés.

Tourmalet Celebration

Our Grand Cols Tourmalet Celebration is for those who wish to be part of the grand opening of the Col du Tourmalet while also conquering the most prestigious peaks in the French Pyrénées.

Vuelta a España Experience

With the Vuelta a España set to make a rare appearance in the Hautes Pyrénées in 2020, we're all set for a special week together as we conquer the greatest cols including the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam and friends, with the added excitement of seeing the pros race to a mountain top stage finish!

Go Bespoke

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.