🚲 59.5miles, 2261m climbing, Cols: 🏔 Col d’Ibardin 317m, 🏔 Urtsualdea 550m, 🏔 Collado Anzola 585m, 🏔 Col d’Ispéguy 690m
A la gare
After being dropped off by Dad at Poitiers, we found that the TGV, legendary for its speed and punctuality, was running an hour and 20 minutes late. We managed to book new tickets for a later connection in Bordeaux and, partly due to the quality of Paul hot chocolate, were still in high spirits.
Jen was keen to keep energy levels up, so we were pretty well stuffed with patisserie before we even arrived at the start.
We had chosen the most westerly point in France for our start point: Hendaye turned out to have quite a bustling beachfront, and it was hot!
Tour du Pays Basque
Our plan for the first day was around 56 miles with 2,000m of climbing through the Basque country, going in and out of Spain.
Early on we had a slight disagreement over our respective expectations as to what pace we were going to ride at. We decided to make friends though, seeing as we were going to be spending a fair bit of time together over the coming days.
A good way to tell if your companion is getting tired is when they start pointing out road-kill. There seem to be three distinct states of being on long-distance rides:
- enjoying the scenery (OK),
- trying to calculate distances or metres of climbing to go (getting tired), and
- identifying road-kill (knackered).
Someone in the road-kill phase is not always amenable to discussing distances or scenery. The scenery in the area is stunning though!
The final climb was the Col d’Ispéguy (aka Alto de Izpegi). Due to the train delay and delusions over potential average speeds, it was 8:30pm by the time we got to the top.
We’d booked Airbnb’s with access to a washing machine and a kitchen each night. We had also noted the closing time of a shop near the end of each day. This day it was 7:30pm, so no food, and France was (as is so often the case) completed closed as we completed the last 20 miles or so of the ride! We arrived at the Airbnb just after 9pm and our host Lucile was kind enough to phone ahead to find us a restaurant in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (a few miles down the road). We celebrated our first day with a massive pavé du boeuf and a carafe of wine!
Back at the Airbnb we hand-washed our clothes in the sink, with little prospect of them drying in by the morning…