Chateau de Pitray
Ride Across the French Pyrenees - Coast to Coast - and Back !
1000 miles, 94000 ft climbing, 12 days riding + 2 rest days
August 27th to September 11th - Yearly.
Not to be believed! When this trip was first planned I thought to myself, are you crazy? 12 days of riding, 7000-8000 feet per day of climbing? The more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it, and so I did. What an amazing trip. As I have said to everyone, it was everything I expected and much, much more.
The Pyrenees were amazing and majestic. It was so cool to see how the environment changed from the Western end, being more humid, to the Mediterranean side which was dryer and hot, but all beautiful!
Having a sag van made all of the difference in the world. All of our food, drinks, lunch, snacks, and bicycle repair items were all readily available and made starting the day simple.
The trip was incredibly well planned by Allan, from the day to day mileage and climbing estimates, to the hotels we cycled right into each day, and the great dinners we had in the evenings.
Thank god for Allan, for being French and speaking French, which made for a fluid sweet trip across the Pyrenees and back.
Jeff Dux, San Francisco, California.
Jeff Dux, day 8, almost out of the Pyrenees.
All you have to do is ride. How cool is that? This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime type experience, for me. I'm already trying to figure out how to make it a twice-in-a-lifetime deal. I can't thank Alan enough for making it happen. I could never pull something like this off on my own.
Alan did a phenomenal job of taking care of everything else, the routes, the lodging, the food, the sag wagon--so you don't have to load up with gear, food and water--the shuttle from and to the airport, and most importantly translating the menus to me, and my order to the waitperson, so I didn't end up with breakfast for dinner.
The riding was the best I've ever done. The roads are immaculate, the scenery sublime, the sag wagon a lifesaver and the group was fun to ride and be with.
I've never worked so hard in my life, or smiled so much, especially during the 25 mile downhill. After each day, I kept thinking that the next day's ride couldn't possible be as fun as the ride just completed, but it always was, for 12 days straight.
Gordon Cavanaugh, Mill Valley, California
Gordon, day 2 only, 10 more to go...nice!
Think about the perfect cycling trip. If it includes beautiful scenery, smooth, little trafficked roads, great food, cool towns, and nothing to worry about (except getting up some serious vertical); well then this is it. All you have to do when you wake up is ride your bike and eat. It doesn’t get any better then that. Allan makes it all happen. Awesome support, knowledge of the country and language, and a love for life. This trip will provide memories forever. My only recommendation is to train before you go; this trip is not for the casual rider. This trip will definitely challenge you, but isn’t that what you would expect of the Pyrenees !
Charles Varela, Mountain View, Arkansas
Charles ( aka - Barnacle ) and Ron, top of Col d'Azet, day 5 of riding - preparing for the next "French attack!"
Allan did a great job with the tour. The routes were really nice....stayed mostly on the wonderful small 'white' roads on the Michelin maps. Hotels and food were just perfect too. He picked an awesome new town to stay in on the Mediterranean...what a highlight! And having van support throughout the day was an added bonus...never been on a tour that had everything you needed pretty much at your fingertips all day long.
Jennie Phillips, California
Jennie Phillips...and just a week before she did the PBP ! Day 2
Behind every photos lies a story, and my trip through the Pyrenees was one of endless stories, most of which I couldn’t capture on film. But oh! – The memories. It was a journey of incredible accents and descents, and riding tempo through the exquisitely lush countryside, dotted with lovely stone villages, church steeples, sheep and other livestock, and the ever present sound of cow bells. Green you say! It must rain a lot? But no, we had very few rain drops and plenty of sunshine. Late August and early September is the best, and so is this 14 day bike journey. I’ll be back.
Ron Sweet, Arizona.
Ron Sweet ( aka - Magellan ), day 1...and 11 more days of riding just like it!
Two of the most fun weeks in tight pants! Allan’s fluent French and attention to detail enabled the rest of our eight high maintenance group to just ride and enjoy some of the finest bicycling roads ever. The historic towns and memorable Tour de France climbs added to the mystique. Cars were almost non existent and not one pot hole in 1000 miles. A once in a lifetime experience and a true debt of thanks to Allan (and Kristal for pulling me up all the climbs).
Geoff Heinemann, California.
Geoff Heinemann and Gordon pose for a shot atop the Col de Pailheres, day 7.
It's not just a bike ride! I didn't know what I was getting into signing up for a two week cycling trip in the Pyrenees with eight guys, but it was fantastic! Having Allen as our tour guide was priceless. His knowledge of France was vast, he was organized to a T, and his sense of humor was always intact..... a must for our group!
The scenery was amazing whether we were in the Pyrenees or pedaling back in the rolling hills through the vineyards. The ascents were long, but so were the descents, both rewarding! The food and wine was our reward at night for all our work during the day.
I fell in love with France and the people, and embraced their way of living.
Would I do this trip again??.... In a heart beat!
Kristal Snowman, Greenbrae, California
Kristal with boyfriend Scott, day 9.
When I first heard about this trip, I thought that it would be kind of a lifetime dream to be able to ride some of the famous Pyrenees climbs that I have seen over the years watching the Tour De France on television. Allan put together an awesome trip, first crossing from west to east, coast to coast, across the mountains, climbing about 8,000 ft. per day. The return trip back to the west “across the flats” was challenging as well. One particular “flat” section encompassed three consecutive days of 100 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing each day. This 12-day trip was by far the most challenging and enjoyable cycling trip that I have ever dreamed of or done. By actually having the opportunity to ride these classic mountains, I have gained an entirely different level of respect for the tour riders. Alan’s knowledge of cycling physiology and athletic training really helped me advance my skills. His knowledge of France was a bonus. Not only getting to see interesting villages by bicycle, he exposed us to other treasures along the way.
Robbie Cotton, Lucas Valley, California
Jeff and Robbie, day 3 and their attitude says it all !
Spectacular, inspirational, magnificent, still fall a bit short in description of a most incredible cycling experience, both for a renaissance of one's spirit, and one's zest for challenging endeavors for enhancing life's nectar.
The Pyrenees are their own reward, views, ascents, and descents as all true cyclists deftly understand, the mantra of suffering is always countered by the syrup of endorphin euphoria. On this tour, the abundance of both was constantly simmering in a marti gras stew of coast to coast proportions.
Make no mistake, the grins never stop, as you (make your way back from the Mediterranean coast) will find yourself reeling from the magnificence of the plateaus to the notoriously envied vineyards (though not ignored by most of our group, who courageously fought back guilt in order to confirm these were truly the source for the nectar of the gods) cobblestone pathways and smooth as Velodrome track alleyways in the French villages you'll pass through, as if they were placed in just the right proportion to embrace you in full French flavor, as if to make everyday, an all day dessert trek.
To say this is an irreplaceable experience, may be a bit premature, as it is not clear as to what other magic our illustrious French guide, and road mentor might be concocting for future endeavors, but let it stand that if you truly want to have the ride of your life, Allen will amaze even the most skeptical, and you will find that riding from one to French village, savoring the flair, and the embrace of the French, only to waken with anticipation of gorging yourself with another days stuffing of greatest riding, and support you will find anywhere on the planet. But if you must choose epic roads, with incredible views, for indelible memories forever.... choose this trek!!!
I challenge you to treat yourself to a more rewarding cycling adventure... anywhere!
Scot Combs, Greenbrae, California
Scot, day 8, and still hoping to "podium."
The ride of my life! By the end of August, 2006, my friend Francis, “The Cisco Kid” and I decided to travel from Costa Rica to meet with six American friends in the best country to practice road biking, which is France.
The original plan was to go from Biarritz, in the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic Ocean to Perpignan in the marvelous Mediterranean Sea. The distance is about 900 kilometers and the journey goes through the Pyrenees and the famous mountain ports of the Tour de France.
I only have to close my eyes to see, just like a picture, the views of the Col of Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin and the many beautiful towns; Oloron, Argeles, St. Girons and Rivesaltes, just to mention some of the places that every cyclist around the world should visit at least once.
I still can feel the pain in my legs, my back and my soul when “damned” Jeff made me go, with my pulse up to 180, up the Tourmalet. I insisted that I was not Ulrich and that he was not Armstrong and moreover that we were not racing the tour. However, our excitement increased as we were approaching the summit and we could see nothing but the names of the professional racers written on the road. This almost made our hearts explode but I dropped Jeff. The reward was to remember that our van, with plenty of food and drinks, was waiting for us at the highest point and that the French, with a quick phone call, could have an ambulance ready for us in a few minutes.
The crazy Americans decided to go back again all the way to Biarritz, another 600 kilometers; but my friend and I decided to go back but in a comfortable rented car at the Blue Coast. That is what I call “seize the day!”
The highways, the views, the people, the food, the cycling culture, the good new friends and above everything, the beautiful girls you can see during the journey, are an invitation to go back more than one time. Thank you for the best bike trip I've ever done!
Alberto Coto, Costa Rica
Alberto, Francis and Jeff.