Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Across the Pyrenees Day 4. (Climbing Col de Peyresourde, Col des Ares, Col de Portet d'aspet)

Across the Pyrenees,
Day 4,
St Lary to Lorp Sentaraille
After yesterday’s climb up the Tourmalet today's ride was meant to feature three more Cols that are TDF regulars although not such famous ones. But first it was time to see how the breakfast croissant at Hotel Pons faired.
An excellent entry for the ultimate croissant 
It proved to be a good one and came out with highest mark to date although it was slightly under cooked in the middle. I’m sure France can still do better.

It was pedals down early as we had a leisurely start down the valley. Last night  Margaret (from Oz) won the vote to become our captain on the road in order to get a peloton organised but I spent the night briefing against her and forced her resignation first thing this morning rightfully giving me the job instead. And we looked pretty damn good.
The excellently organised peloton with only the one gapping gap
It was then time for the opening and longest climb of the day. Col de Peyresourde (9.6km,7% Sv, 11% max, 690m ascent ). This one had dramatic views of the mountains and will feature on the tour this year.

Stunning mountain views on the way up
I was pleased to make it to the top with my maximum KoM points intact (although I seem to be only one counting).
Crossing the summit finishing line 
Leaving the summit I tried to keep pace (and failed) with Andrew on a fast descent to our next stop.
A fast descent down the other side.
Here the cafe scored well as the hot chocolate and coffee was good and had an authentic French feel. 
Today's first stop in a village somewhere in the Pyrenees

However the croissant didn’t really deliver having seen better days.
More average French Croissants
We set off again for the next climb but halfway up we hit the start of a run of bad luck as we found the road had been closed and the rest of the climb was off. As it wasn’t a very steep one, and other members of the group had laid down the gauntlet to challenge my KoM record, I was quite relieved.
Road ahead was closed
So we had to take a detour involving lunch by a small lake or pond as we say in the UK.
Lunch had to be taken by a pond rather than top of a climb
But as we set off round the mountain we got hit by the dreaded freshly tarred road and the ride turned into a hike for a couple of miles as we learnt our lesson from earlier in the week not to cycle on freshly dressed roads (as it ruins your tyres). Unfortunately this approach messed up people’s cleats instead of their tyres and we were delayed for sometime as people had to clean them out.
Walking on freshly topped roads to save our tyres
But with detour over it was off to the start of  our steepest climb this week Col de Portet d'aspet (4.3km,9.5%av,15% max,410m ascent). Not that it’s a race (but it is) I was told that 2 of our group had set off already. Not being a competitive person it was quite out of character as I demanded to know how long ago they had left before leaping on my bike to try and chase them down.
Although the photo doesn't do it justice it was as very steep road
For reasons I've never understood I have always been good at riding up steep hills and as this was very steep I did make it to the top first and collected maximum KoM points (not that anyone’s counting).
Reaching the summit ahead of my rivals (not that they knew they were)
This just left a 25 mile ride to our hotel which was predominantly down hill. Thanks to a breakaway with over 50s team member Paddy (with me in his slipstream) I just snuck into the hotel car park ahead of him for my first stage win, although it’s not a race.
Chasing the group ahead on the way to my first stage win
Despite the disappointment of having to miss a climb we had still covered 84 miles and ascended over 1800m. I had also found the best croissant and cafe to date. Just two more stages and 4 more climbs until we reach the Mediterranean Sea.

Todays Route

Cafe ratings
Hotel du Fronton, Itaxassou. 5.8
Cafe Du Souloe 5.4
Terrace cafe Tourmalet 6.1
Tourmalet summit cafe 5.9
Le Faisan Dore 7.3

Croissant ratings

Venue
 Freshness
 Frenchness
 Flavour
Score
Heathrow
4
3
10.9
17.9
Bellevue hotel
5
4
12.7
21.7
Krakada patisserie, Itxassou
7
7.8
14.1
28.9
L’Auberge de l’Etable, Montory
7.5
7.3
13
27.8
Chez Pierre d’Agos
2
2
6
10
Terrace, Tourmalet
7.8
7.5
16.4
31.7
Top Tourmalet
2
2.5
8
12.5
Hotel Pons
8.1
8
17
33.1
Le Faisan Dore
5.6
6.8
13.8
25.9
10
11
12
13
15

Stats

 
Miles
Av Speed (MPH)
Time on Bike (H:M)
Metres climbed
 Day 1 
81.9
15
5:27
1751
 Day 2
71.5
13.37
5:20
2010
 Day 3 
60
11.4
5:05
2499
 Day 4 
84
14.7
5:55
1836
 Day 5 
 Day 6 
 Overall
297.4
13.65
21:47
8096

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