Day 9 : A real cycling-vacation-day-off
We slept in, because that is what you do on a day off. Afterwards we ate the cookies and nuts that had gotten wet by the rain at night. Around 11 we bought bread at the Vival supermarket before sending some postcards home. I found a nice one for Bram, but he didn't like it.
We searched for a small radio, but they didn't sell any. The food was good in France, except the apples. Of all the apples we ate only one batch wasn't mealy. Many where also completely dried out because of the warm weather.
After eating we didn't had much to do. I started looking at the route of the next few days. I learned that if we would rest today we had to cycle 150 km the next day or the day after to still find a campsite. The easiest solution would be to rest today and cycle 50 km tomorrow, but that wouldn't really be fitting to a cycling vacation. Instead, we decided to cycle the 50 km today, on our day off. That wasn't too bad. The only problem was that those 50 km included the Aubisque.
Around 2 in the afternoon we left. Usually we left at 10:30, so we had at least a 3,5 hour 'day' off. The climb itself wasn't too bad, especially because we didn't have much else to do that day. We passed a few other cyclists with luggage. There was even a guy carrying two helmets. Another guy had a Koga Signature with Rohloff speedhub which looked very nice. You could easily see who was Dutch and who wasn't. Most Dutch people looked nearly the same. Blue or red Ortlieb panniers on the front and back, a bag on their handlebars, and if they had space a baggage roll on the rear as well.
Another cyclist passed us. He was wearing a shirt of the trans-Alp tour, it had a whole list of mountains on the back. We discussed cycling those after finishing the 100 cols tour. Later we looked up the exact route, it turned out to be nearly identical to the Alps section of the 100 cols tour. On top of the Aubisque we spoke with a German guy wearing a green Bianchi shirt. He apparently cycled together with the guy carrying two helmets.
On top of the Aubisque
The descent was different. It was very foggy. I rode behind two cars so I could at least follow their tail lights. After a while we entered an unlit tunnel. It was cut out of the rocks and very wet and cold. I took a few pictures.
Fog on the Aubisque
After a small climb we continued descending through the fog. Then there was yet another col before we reached a village. There we ate some food and watched all the people walking in and out of the store. One guy was wearing pants with the crotch hanging around his ankles. It was a kind of dress that was sewn at the bottom. Later we again went in search for a radio, so we could listen to some music, but of course we couldn't find one.
After the village followed a steep but short climb to the next col, before we reached a serious descent. At the bottom was the village where we had planned to spend the night. The campsite there turned out to be full. Nonetheless, we were still able to get a unofficial spot somewhere in the rear, it was far away from the bathrooms, but better than nothing.
First we showered. The cabin I took was very drafty. Afterwards we realized we still needed to eat dinner. We also needed a receipt with today's date, which meant another trip to the ATM. In the village was no ATM, but there was a restaurant. We first asked if we could pay by card and get a receipt, and then agreed to have dinner. We each had a salad, duck, potatoes, vegetables, and desert. Bram even ate the decorative orange slices, because he wanted to take in as many calories as possible. Before going to sleep we charged our mobile phones in the bathroom.
Distance cycled : 54 km