Raid Pyrenees - Day 2: Evil Mairie, forests, nudity and surprises.


I woke several times during the night to get comfy on my roll mat and listen to Mike snoring for a bit. It was much cooler now than last night and when we finally emerged from the tent to make tea and breakfast just before 7am, it was still dark. Gradually the sun started to rise and we were met with a stunning inversion in the valley below.


It was quite damp so felt colder than it really was and it was about to get a whole lot colder once we descended into the mist en route to St Jean Pied de Port.

It took us about an hour to have a tea, 2 cereal bars (me), 3 packets of chinese noodles (Mike) and pack everything away. The tent, a superlight single skin tarp, was completely soaked from the condensation and the damp air overnight - which made it nice and heavy to drag about on a bike!


Everything went back exactly where it came out and and we were starting to get our packing routine perfectly refined - everything in its place. We took a few photos of our less-than-stealth camp site and got on the bikes.


We were immediately into a chilly cloud inversion but countered that with a lazy coffee and croissant in St Jean Pied de Port.

Today was a steady but lumpy ride with two main climbs: Col d'Osquich and the unrelenting Col de Marie Blanque.


After grabbing more croissants for Mike, we set off with a leisurely Sunday swagger and a Devil-may-care attitude that seemed quite cocky considering we had115km and 1800m of climbing ahead today. We were soon riding in the sunshine though as the inversion disappeared and the sun dominated again.


First order of business was the oddly named Col d'Osquich, which turned out to be a lovely 6km climb to 500m elevation with nice views off into the distant Haute Pyrenees - the big guys we'd soon be forced to climb. There was a small restaurant at the summit with a terrace which had stunning views off the edge of the hill. I took it all in whilst I waited for Mike.

In this area of the Pyrenees the French and Basque population are little undecided on their view on the reintroduction of brown bears in the mountains....