It rained all morning so we comfort-loaded with coffee and the contents of the patisserie. If Barry says "it looks to be brightening up'' again, we will all kill him.
On cue, the rain stopped, and off we went for a local jaunt up Hautacam, site of a number of le Tour mountain time trials. The guidebook says "Passing through the village of Artalens, there's a wonderful swooping dip: I suggest you enjoy it, as you're about to enter hell" - not quite the encouragement you want to hear.
Every km there is a post telling you the height, distance to go to the top, and the average gradient for the next km. 8% proved to be a respite. Suffice to say, we all made it, did the extra bit to the Col de Tramassel, and cracked on down the descent.
Over a celebratory and much needed bier in Argeles Gazost, where Phil joined us, there was general agreement that the word "brutal" was not overstating the climb. Ouch!