The title of this post might be a little misleading, so apologies if you’ve stumbled here actually looking for a list. Funny story, though…
John and I were on the first day of our ‘bikepacking’ (whatever that is) trip to Andorra, Spain and back to France, and we were having a beer outside our hotel, shooting the mierda, as you do. I knew that there were pros living in Andorra and decided to do a Google search to see who might be around. The first name on the list was Joaquim Rodriguez (Purito, the Alaphilippe of the Aughts and a bit beyond). While we were talking about his exploits a little, I glanced over at a table 3 meters from us and there he was. After much comparing between Google Images and Reality, John decided that we needed to say hi, which he did, only to find out that Purito doesn’t speak English. We didn’t try French, but shook his hand and said something lame, I’m sure. He still looks a lot like this:
Apart from our run-in with cycling royalty, we learned a few things about any potential tour we might run in this part of the Pyrenees:
- It will not be climbing up to Andorra. There are only two roads going into the country and both host all sizes of vehicles. Not dangerous, per se, but we wouldn’t bring clients on them.
- Spain is no France when it comes to shear choice of roads. We knew this already, but it was immediately evident when we crossed back over on Day Three. The people are nicer, though 😉
- The Ariège Pyrenees in France have some seriously good and challenging cycling. We feel a tour coming here soon.
- I’m in dire straits only two weeks away from Haute Route Pyrenees, but that’s okay. I’m learning to live with my inadequacies.