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Port de Boucharo - Cirque de Gavernie

boucharo tentes gavernie

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#1 Velo Peloton

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 09:48 PM

41km from 408m in Gorge de Luz to the Spanish border at 2273m. The average grade is 4.3% and the climbing is approx 1770m gain. The last 10km average 8%.
It is often wrongly said that the Col du Tourmalet is the highest paved road in the French Pyrénées, it is in fact Port du Boucharo which is 173m higher.

You start climbing in Gorge du Luz at just over 400m altitude, about 20km south of Lourdes. Out of the gorge you enter Pays Toy, take a right turn about 1km from Luz, direction Sassis. You will pass the start of Luz Ardiden at Saint-Sauveur, it's steep for 1km, easing off before Pont Napoleon. Pont Napoleon was built in 1860, spanning the Gave de Pau 80m above the river. It is a spectacular sight. In July and August you can bungee jump off the bridge.

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7km from the summit, October 2012.

Through the village of Gedre and it kicks up again with 2 hairpin bends which offer great views back down the gorge. At the top of this steep section there is a left turn for Cirque du Troumouse. From here on it is landscape on a truly epic scale. Through the village of Gavernie you will get the first sight of Europe's highest waterfall, it tumbles 422m down the enormous rock face of Cirque du Gavernie which stands over 1km high. Cirque du Gavernie is a UNISCO World Heritage Site, on account of it great natural beauty and scientific value. Remember to keep right as you enter the village.

The great French writer Victor Hugo wrote of it “You may have seen the Alps, the Andes, all mountain ranges; you may have had the Pyrénées before your eyes for weeks; but, whatever you may have seen, that which you now behold resembles nothing that you may have met with elsewhere….It is at once a mountain and a wall. It is the most mysterious edifice of the most mysterious architects. It is the Colosseum of nature – Gavarnie.” The wall of rock over 1km high bars the end of the valley from the Spanish province of Aragon. The waterfall is the source of the Gave du Pau river.

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Cirque du Gavernie.

To the right is the small valle d’Ossoue which leads to the Vignemale the highest peak in the French Pyrénées at 3298m. There is a vast array of landscapes, habitat and climates between the 380m low point at Lourdes and the glacier on the Vignemale. The Vignemale has a great historical connection with an eccentric Irish man named Henry Russell, he spent most of the second half of the 19th century climbing the peaks of the Pyrénées and lived in a cave he dug near the summit of the mountain. He is also credited with the invention of the sleeping-bag. A statue of Russell can be seen on the left as you enter the village.

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Henry Russell, a mad Irish man. Are they bottles of Guinness?

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Vallée d’Ossoue with the Vignemale across the lake.

From here on the road kicks up to average 8% for the final 10km. At Col du Tentes there is a row of boulders across the road. You can ride around them and continue on to the border 1.5km away at Port du Boucharo. The road is paved but there is rock slides to be negotiated before the tarmac runs out about 30m from the Spain. In the 1970's France and Spain agreed to build a road over the border here. France stoped 30m shore and Spain 6km short, I don't know why.

The descend back is long and fast, about as much fun as you can have on a bike.

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8km from the summit.

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Port du Boucharo looking back into France.

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Cirque du Gavernie in March.

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Profile from a Garmin 500.



#2 Velo Peloton

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 09:49 PM


View Port du Boucharo in a larger map

#3 Velo Peloton

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:57 AM

Comeragh Cycling Club from Ireland at the Spanish border at 2273m, June 2012.

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#4 Velo Peloton

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 01:18 PM



#5 Velo Peloton

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:20 PM

It cold up there now.

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#6 Velo Peloton

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:20 PM

Cirque de Gavernie

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#7 Velo Peloton

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:23 AM

May 2013, 3 km up the climb from Gavernie.

 

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