The day after the Tourmalet was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax and the threat (certainty!) of wet weather tempered our enthusiasm. Five set out along the railway path on the least hilly of Chris's planned routes just as the rain started. At 9 km in the face of an increasing downpour and strong gusts the retreat was called into a cafe for a ponder over coffee. 25 minutes later we had resolved to continue (at least for a bit) in lighter rain.
Once thoroughly drenched the rain relented and we reached the day's high point and started the descent in low cloud, grateful for gps assistance. On reaching level ground Nick D, demonstrating the value of stick-on spectacle lenses, rode off the side of the road into a ditch. Happily he emerged without injury (except to his pride) or bike damage, and we soon reached the quirky Restaurant La Fayette in Bagneres, an establishment which also clearly functions as a downmarket 70s disco, replete with themed sub-divided zones and a slippery, uneven floor which proved problematic for a few sodden and be-cleated cyclists. A perplexed waitress failed to understand our quirky Britishness (i.e. how John could possibly drink cafe au lait with, rather than after, lunch) but nevertheless provided a pretty decent 10 Euro set menu.
Emerging After lunch into the dry but chilly afternoon we needed to warm up so set off with gusto. The route back followed more minor lanes, often with water-filled leats flowing alongside, and through picturesque villages. On entering the village of his name Barry made the most of the photo opportunity (see below?). Soon we were picking our way through Lourdes and back onto the railway path where John, Nick D and Andy decided to time trial back to Argeles.
All agreed, except Chris and Phil who made friends with marmottes and vultures at the zoo, that it had been a good day out, well worth celebrating with a few beers (after cleaning bikes!