Jet-lagged and with little sleep the night before, we set out on our first ride to the ski station of Luz-Ardiden.
At a height of 1,715 metres it was a far test first up. we set a fairly cracking pace for the 20 odd kms up the valley to the foot of the climb and I was a bit concerned that my heart rate was nudging 145 for a fair bit of the way. My early fears that I might struggle on the climb after pushing it hard early were realized when my legs started to feel like jelly with 6 kms of the climb still to go. However I gutsed it out and made it to the top to see the spectacular view just before the clouds enveloped everything in white. The descent was exhilarating and I managed to find the rest of the group at a cafe at the base of the climb, for lunch. All up I rode 66 kms in 3 hours 45 mins. My average speed was 17,8 kms/hr, maximum speed downhill was 72.5 kms/hr, average heart rate was 126 (high for me) and my Garmin bike computer tells me I burned 1,670 calories (if that can be believed).