Blockhaus , Fara Filiorum Petri story submitted on 5/5/2009
Climbed the Blockhaus in June 2005 from Fara Filiorum Petri on what started as a beautiful summer day. Very difficult after Pretoro needed a lower gear (I had 42*23T)!!
Long slog upto Passo di Lanciano then into heavily wooded part of climb until 3kms from Passo della Maielletta and first signs of snow!
Continued up steep ascent towards transmitter aerials and heavy fog!! Then very steep section on poor road (with faded names of Eddy Merckyx painted on it), which eventually runs out surrounded by deep snow drifts and very dense fog and no signs of life at all, very desolate!!!
Sound of thunder in valley below led to dangerous descent in extremely heavy rain and thunder and lighting, very scary!!!
Back down towards start and on to coast at Pescara were sun had shone all day.
Very good climb pity weather closed in to spoil view of snow fields and Abruzzo coastline. Highly recommend to those willing to try!!
Col du Tourmalet , Sainte Marie de Campan story submitted on 7/21/2007
I love this climb!! Ive climbed it 4 times on the ascent form Ste Marie de Campan. Its awesome and the history that surrounds it for a racing cyclist just added to its mystique for me!!
I left Bagneres de Bigorre to attempt an ascent to the Pid du Midi Observatory at 2977M!!
Id climbed the Tourmalet before and soon settled in to the drag up past Gripp and on to the hairpin after Arizes waterfall. From there the Tourmalet starts to bite, and the long slog begins up to La Mongie ski resort.
Then it really tightens and the road begins to swtichback and the last 4kms seem to last forever especially when your goal is in sight for most of this last section. I broke a chain here the previous day and had to walk 3kms to the cafe at the top, was funny watching peoples faces when they saw a bike at the top of the Tourmalet with NO chain!!!
Anyway, made it up safely and then began ascent to the Pic du Midi..but thats another climb (see elsewhere!!)
Pic du Midi , Luz Saint Sauveur story submitted on 7/21/2007
After reaching the summit of Tourmalet (see my story on its page) I ventured along a dust covered rough track off to the left of the souvenir shop. The guy taking money from cars heading here too, waved me by smiling, I was soon to see why!!!
WHAT A ROAD!!! Rough, bumby and very very dusty especially as a car bumbles past. I soon took my bandana off and wrapped around my nose and mouth like a cattle rustler from a western to prevent being smothered by the dust!!
The road IS very steep and the hairpins extremely hairy. Vertigo sufferers TAKE NOTE!!!
The views are awesome and the Lac Bleu shimmers way below to your left. Soon you pass a sign of the Col de Secours (2375M) and the Pic du Midi looms ever larger in front of you with the TV transmitter and Observatory still seemingly miles above!!
Eventually you reach a shop, yes a shop at the roads end (Les Lacquets) where Coke was 3 Euro dearer than at the Tourmalet!! The ascent had been hairy and long and Id used my 34*26 a lot but beware of wheel spin on the rough ground!!!
To get to Observatory you have to walk up a very steep path, I did it with my bike over my shoulder and a pair of Sidi shoes!!!
Very thin air now made this a terrific effort but was well worth it when you reach the viewing platform ay 2977M!!!! WHAT A VIEW!!!
Again enjoyed peoples faces as they saw a bicycle sitting on top of the world with NO road!!
The descent back towards Tourmalet was not nice and my hands were sore pulling hard on the levers and every bumby hairpin which if missed led to oblivion 100s of metres below, seriously if I ever get here again Im WALKING them!!!!!
So, I managed to return to the Tourmalet summit (2115M) and the guy collecting the monies looked at me with that knowing smile!!! No wonder bikes go free!!
Pico de Veleta , Granada story submitted on 2/10/2007
I rode to the top of the Valeta the day before Ed and managed to see Vuelta too!!
Extremely hot day at the bottom was as Ed said very cold at the top!! But it was awesome!! Highest Ive ever been (apart from flying) and well worth the effort to get up. I stayed on main road and maintained a steady pace upto 2500m. After this point the road is closed to cars and surface degrades somewhat but still rideable on a road bike. Altitude and steepness starts to kick in and its quite an effort. Topping out at 3400m I was surprised to not be alone but had company of numerous walkers/hikers too!!
Very cold descent until around 2000m and then extremely fast descent on main road, WOW!!
Took me 3 hours 20 minutes to complete ascent from my base in village at bottom with gearing of 39*25!! (a bit lower would certainly have been nicer!!)
Any strong rider should attempt this climb its well worth the effort and an experience Ill never forget.