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So it’s just a week until 12 members of Les Veloistes Gentils set off on the club’s 2009 adventure, cycling 630km from Perpignan to Biarritz. But as this image shows, it’s less the length of the ride which is a challenge, more the height. The highest point on the ride (weather permitting) will be the Col du Tourmalet at a shade over 2,100m. In all, between sea level by the Med and the same on the Atlantic coast, we’ll be climbing (and descending) more than 9,500m. Which sounds like a lot to me.

In addition to the Tourmalet, we’ll be crossing three famous Tour de France cols, the Col de Portet d’Aspet (1,069m), Col de Peyresourde (1,569m) and the Col d’Aspin (1,489m).  I know for a fact that the latter three cols are clear, and while there’s every chance the Tourmalet will still have a decent amount of snow cover, the invaluable local knowledge provided by Chris from Pyractif gives us hope that we might be able to sneak our way over (if the legs keep going). I’m hoping I’ll be able to thank Chris in person as he may well join us for the leg over the Peyresourde and Aspin.
Final preparations are underway here at Les Chapelles. I bought 96 litres of Vittel this afternoon (it’s the water of champions you know), along with numerous cereal bars, sachets of fruit compote, loads of individually wrapped sponge cakes and a huge amount of Haribo. Should keep us going for a couple of days at least.
Thanks must go to holiday company Pure France which has helped with some sponsorship, and sll those people that have already dipped their hands in their pockets and donated money to our two charities, Action for Children and CHASE. You can still sponsor me of course! You’ll find my Just Giving page here.
I’m hoping to post a few pictures and words here during the ride itself – if I can find wireless access – and also tweeting now and again.