It drizzled somewhat at the start, as we plodded up the col de Soulour. A very short 20% ramp added to the pain, and it was with some relief that most of us did a brief coffee stop before continuing up the col d'Aubisque, which starts with 2km of downhill before a couple of tunnels.
It's hard to describe how epic the panoramic views are from here, so the pictures will have to paint a thousand words. Lunch was most welcome at the summit before turning back to the Soulour, for a wonderful descent down to Ferrieres, where we said goodby to our two lightweights, Barry and Nick S, to take a short cut back home over the col de Spandelles.
Meanwhile, the heavyweights continued down through a beautiful gorge with empty roads, around the edge of the Pyrenees and over a bonus climb that brought out the expletives. Interesting to note that most of the villages we passed through had names beginning with the letter "a".
Before Lourdes, we stopped at a campsite for ice-cream, being served by an over-entrepreneurial Daley Thompson lookalike, who tried to convince us to stay next time at his campsite in ill-equipped cabins with no WiFi, no food, outside showers and toilets, for the same price as our lovely half-board hotel... no thanks!
Lourdes was heaving as normal, and bikes really aren't all that welcome, so we didn't hang around too much waiting for a miracle, and got into the Voie Vert, which is a fantastic tarmac-surfaced ex railway line, all the way back to Argeles. A big day!