Col du Tentes
For our second cycling adventure we are staying in France and heading to Hautes-Pyrenees and the less well-known Col de Tentes. This climb is not for the faint hearted and despite being on a par with the breathtaking Tourmalet this massive climb has never been visited by the tour because of its location in the Pyrenees National Park.
Col de Tentes is situated close to the Spanish border and within easy reach of Lourdes, which makes an interesting base for your trip, this stunning climb is 30km and summits at 2,298. Make sure you’ve got fresh legs for this one as the climb has an average gradient of 5 per cent and a maximum of 12.5 per cent. It’s also worth noting that the summit is at least 10 degrees cooler than the valley so don’t forget to check the weather forecast and come prepared.
When you get to the 20km mark you get your first glimpse of what makes this climb so special, the Cirque de Gavine. This naturally formed mountain ampthitheatre was described by Victor Hugo as ‘the Colosseum of nature’ this beautiful sight has peaks which top 3000m. However, once you’ve admired the view you need to keep going to get to the real reward, the punishing last 10km is the steepest with an average gradient of 9-10 per cent.
After a gruelling 30km of up, up and more up you are rewarded by reaching the top of a World Heritage site. Take a moment to get your breath back, take in the view and remember the good news is the only way is down.