Our Hotel

We are staying at the Hotel Beau Site, a charming old guest-house run by an elderly couple Monsieur and Madame Taik-Colpi. (we refer to him affectionately as Mr Miagi). It (and they) have wonderful character and the meals are great. On arrival we took no time to unpack our bikes and get the ready for the first day’s ride.

 

Our Home in the Pyrenees for a Week

We are staying in Argeles-Gazost, a typical small French town of approximately three and a half thousand people, located close to the Pyrenees National Park and the larger cities of Lourdes and Gavarnie, quite close to the Spanish border. It’s a tourist town with lots of visitors who come to ski, walk or cycle in the Pyrenees in the holidays.

 

Travel and Arrival

After 32 hours travelling (including 10 hours of stopovers in Singapore and Paris our group arrived in Pau in the French Pyrenees anxious to see if our bikes had made the trip as well. Sadly Warren’s didn’t (it’s still flying around around the world somewhere) but all the others arrived unscathed from the clutches of the baggage handlers. Then it was an hour’s trip in our hired van and people movers to our home for the next week.

 

Other Preparations

Learning the Language

To prepare me to converse with the locals as best I could, I attended a Conversational French Speaking Class at Bribie U3A (University of the 3rd Age). Click on the link below to meet my teacher and fellow class members.

My Bike

I’ve had my bike for nearly 4 years now but some changes were needed for the trip. Click on the link for an explanation.

My Secret Weapon

Weight is the climbing bike-rider’s curse and with that in mind, I decided with 10 weeks to go to embark on a weight loss program. Click the link to see if it worked.

Training for the Trip

Training on Mt Mee

Although I ride my bike regularly, the trip to France presented new challenges. I would be riding up some of the classic climbs of the Tour de France and would need to build my climbing strength to cope with these. But Bribie Island is as flat as a pancake, so I had to look further afield. Mt Mee, about 50 klms from home seemed the solution, so with 10 weeks to go, I began to climb it multiple times twice a week. My wife Merryl, scared that I’d crash on the descent or be run over by a crazy motor-bike rider, waited at the bottom for me in the car for a couple of hours. That’s devotion for you!!

If you’d like to see me riding up and down Mt Mee, click on the links below.

Descent

So, how did I get here?

My trip to France to ride some of the classic mountain climbs and catch up with the 2017 Tour de France came about from a chance meeting with Geoff Gibson in January this year when we were both stopped by a red pedestrian light on the Nepean Highway, Blairgowrie, Vic.

We were both wearing our Tour Down Under jerseys and I made the comment that I thought that was the closest thing to the Tour de France that I’d ever witness.

“I’m going to the Tour this year” said Geoff.

“Tell me more” was my response and within days I was part of a group of cyclists mainly from the central New South Wales coast, who were leaving for France on July 1st.