We set off in the rain, only for the leader to have to make a swift retreat to collect his helmet. A pleasant start up the gently sloping ex-railway, and then a tougher section to just before Luz St Saveur, where we started the ascent... it was still raining. The initial pitch (not too strong a word) of the Luz Ardiden climb was tough and steep, punctuated only by stopping to sort Nick's gears out... more to come on this story.
Everyone climbed at their own pace, so there were Corallian's strung all over the hill. As we climbed it got colder. And at the top there were some chilling gusts of wind too. Cows, sheep, red squirrels and a dog provided the wild entertainment in what was an otherwise merciless slog up the myriad hairpins through the mist and rain.
After a brief stop at the summit and before we started shivering, we descended. It got colder. By the bottom we all shivering, so a lunch stop in Luz seemed ideal. From there we could see the Pic de Bigorre at the top of Tourmalet was covered in snow. Prompt pasta bolognese followed, and hot chocolate, so we were ready for rather warmer descent back to base.
The gears. I had a "quick look" and Nick's gears back at the hotel - good job as the cable promptly snapped, leaving a major exercise in replacing entangled internal gear cables. Sorted, then it was beer o'clock.