July 17, 2013 at 10:05 pm #15111RadarModerator
Our last but one day on the mountain roads but what a cracker it turned out to be. On the recommendation of one the cyclists we got chatting to (!) we headed out beyond Lourdes today. However we soon found ourselves diverted towards Argeles Gazost and onto Gavarnie (aka ‘Reg Vardys’). Generally the roads were more open and the pace much higher as the riding was more like I had imagined before we set off. But again the impact of the floods and fast melting snow could be felt everywhere as we had turn around several times and re trace our steps.
On the more open sections it was great to get into a high speed flow and on one section of road we enjoyed ourselves as bend blended into bend, we were constantly working the bikes…leaning, braking accelerating…concentrating…This is pure, uncut motorcycling. What it is all about! The climbs and hairpins were demanding and you had to concentrate to keep up momentum right on the apex of the tight severely uphill hairpins.
The Fazer was brilliant on these roads, its’ huge 145bhp power output and bit fat torque curve combined with its’ upright riding position to make attacking these hairpins really good fun. I did part of one this section on the ZX6R and I found this much harder to ride on this type of road, giving me even greater admiration for how Champs had been hustling the old girl along. He tended to go wider on the hairpins relying on corner speed, while the larger bikes could use their shear grunt to hurl themselves out the bends.
The downhill sections were the most fun though as Champs and I attacked them with some verve. God knows how many bends we took that day, how many times I dived hard on the brakes, my discs were taking on a faint blue hue by the end of one particulary demanding series of hairpin bends! I enjoyed watching Champs hit the brakes, the rear end of 6R skipping and going light before he would chuck it the hairpin by the scruff of the neck…brilliant stuff and such huge fun. Thumper and Ses meanwhile were keeping the more sporting bikes honest as the big GS and the allegedly sensible CBF were being hustled along.
More so than any other day, this was purely about the riding for me…yes we still had the views, the vista from the ski station Luz Ardiden will live with me forever…it was spine chilling as you rode up to the very edge of the station to look down on the twisty-turning torrent of a road below that we had just climbed. This is what biking is about.
The run back through Bagnes was quick too and Thumper led the way this time with me playing the role of his ‘wing man’, it really most impressive how he can make that GS boogie.
Back at base we decided over a few beers to hit our fave pizza place again after checking out the only other eatery in Campan….it looked dead. More excellent food, more beer…oh God I hate my life!
Anyway a few pics from the day:
The water is running fast and angry after the snow melt
The road was blocked off, so time for a piccie
A huge avalanche had completely blocked the road
The river is gradually cutting its’ way back through
Time for a bit of a re-plan…again!
I really enjoyed a stint on the ZX6R…it will be great with brakes!
The climb was awesome
Like riding to the top of the world
Once back at Campan it was time to boost local recycling rates again…
Back to our Pizza place agin, but steak this time and it was rather eaxcellent too…sorry about the crap picture Mr.PJuly 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm #66502HippoDronesParticipant
that road looks amazing!July 18, 2013 at 9:44 am #66503ChampsParticipant
This was a great day, loved it. Confidence inspiring grippy roads, nice weather and amazing views (again), as I think back its funny but as humans we seem to adjust to our surrounding very easily. Incredible views that you just won’t see anywhere north of say Toulouse (!) just become ‘another mountain’ or ‘another valley’.
“oh look another fresh water lake 1500metres above sea level, with a snow topped mountain in the background”
When we stopped at the ski station however I managed to grab ‘the’ satnav photo
Haven’t ridden the bike that hard for a while, probably since my Switzerland trip a few years ago. UK roads just don’t openly offer what we had here. I love the tight technical stuff, probably more than the fast sweepers, but it’s a matter of taste I guess.
Back at base camp, I think we filled the recycling bag about 3 or 4 times in the 6 days we were there, I am sure we filled it full on one night alone!July 18, 2013 at 10:14 am #66504imperialdataKeymaster
Wow, stunning roads and a cracking SatNav pic Champs.
“Once back at Campan it was time to boost local recycling rates again…”
Not boosting the local French economy though:
Leffe – Belgian beer
Guiness – Irish stout
Heineken – Dutch beer
Pizza – Italian staple
At least you kept it in the EU. Couldn’t you find any local McDonalds restaurants to roll up to on your German and Japanese bikes?
I’m only jealous and clutching at straws to make my miserable week at work seem plausible, I’d love to have been there.
So it seems like you had lots of roads closed then. They had it really bad out there the last few months with the snow melting.July 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #66505ses310Moderator
Was a truly cracking day!July 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm #66506RadarModerator
Was a truly cracking day!
It really was, only two more installments to go and we can start planning 2014!
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