Luz Ardiden had some Tour De France fame — it’s where Lance got his bike snagged with some shopping bag, tumbled, and then powered back to win by some margin back in the day. It always looked incredible and I had it in my mind that I would do the Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden and Hautacam in one day. (12,000 feet of climbing). And when you’re 220 lbs like me, that is no small feat! I think I burned over 5000 calories!
The Tourmalet wasn’t as hard as advertised — that’s another post altogether. Stopped for lunch in Bareges and kept on going for about 15k on a secondary highway that led to a town called Luc St Saveur. Very quaint, very nice but it did nothing — absolutely nothing to prepare me for the final pain train that was to arrive. The Luz climb is 15k (10 miles) and starts out manageable but about half way up opens up with an incredible view of the mountain. Lots of Pain! But lots of beauty even as the road kicked up through countless switchbacks with absolutely zero traffic (not a single car except The Van from Marmot Tours).
I decided that there would be no Hautacam at the end of the day . . . and could only wonder if there might be a small cafe at the top to have a beer . . . it would have helped my motivation immensely!
There was no beer, but it was a fantastic way to cap off a week of cycling the Pyrenees.
(The hotel was nothing special at all!)