14 July 2011

Tour Travel - Tour de France, Stage 12

Hourquette d'Ancizan, Col du Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden
Stage 12 of the 2011 Tour de France today included three of my favorite rides in the Pyrenees. The Horquette d'Ancizan, Tourmalet, and Luz Ardiden. This was the first year the Hourquette was included in the Tour. Last year I specifically stayed in the nearby town of Guchan to ride the Hourquette. I heard about the climb online by other cyclists, similar to myself, that ride and then write about cycling in France. It was on my bucket list. Sadly I remember the hosts of the bed & breakfast where I stayed last year making the comment, "we all hope the Tour de France never discovers our little Hourquette." Oops.

When I read that their local secret would be included in this year's Stage 12 of the Tour de France, I thought of that nice couple in France. I remember fondly their quiet yet-undiscovered (no paint on the road) climb of the Hourquette d'Ancizan. It was a wonderful day in the Pyrenees on a bicycle when I rode that climb last July, (my post from the day: Magnificent day in the Haute-Pyrenees)

this is the summit of the Hourquette d'Ancizan
After you descend the Hourquette d'Ancizan, you may turn right to go up the Col d'Apsin, or turn left to go up the Tourmalet. What a decision!

The big climbs of Stage 12 today
Last climbs in Stage 12, 2011 Tour de France.  click to enlarge

I had a blast this morning watching the Tour de France on TV and on Eurosport (on my laptop) so I didn't miss an inch of reminiscing at every corner and turn of the road through the Pyrenees. Today the riders take on three of the mountains that comprise some of my favorites memories of cycling in France. This is where the epic climbs of the Tour de France are located, where history is made and front forks are forged. 

Let's climb up the Col du Tourmalet, well-known as one of the best climbs in Europe.

Sitting with a coffee, plate of berries, yogurt and granola, TV, laptop, watching the race live, I couldn't be happier. But it is all made more real by the simple act of texting a friend saying, remember when we were there

sitting on a mountain in France
It was a great stage today, now we are talking Tour de France competition! All I have to do now is watch the Tour coverage reruns twice more today and I will be good. Even better, go back to the Pyrenees!

Excellent posts by VeloPeloton, links: 
Tour de France – Arrives in the Pyrenees by Paddy Sweeney
Blog posts by PedalDancer.com: