Why the Col de Peyresourde? It’s a climb that literally begins just blocks from the center of Luchon. After hopping on our bikes in front of “Le Patio”, we’ll zigzag through a few charming, old-Europe village lanes for 2-3 minutes, make a left onto the main road and begin climbing! You can warm-up with a few loops around the village beforehand, but you can also warm-up on the beginning of the climb; I just turn easier revolutions in my lowest gear for the first few kilometers. The Col de Peyresourde is also a classic of the Tour de France, showcasing both spectacular views and a crêperie/bar/café at the summit! In addition, there are two waysdown, so we’ll make it fun by taking little used alternate we know.
Who can do it? Including a warm-up loop around town the ride tothe top and back is only 22 miles, so a patient, steady pace on the climb makes the summit available to everyone. And there are plenty of places to stop along the way for water, snacks, a picnic and great pictures, so there’s no rush either – this will be a climb to enjoy!
How far and how high is it? Less than 22 miles round trip, with the climb itself being about 9.5 miles. The average grade is 6%, the total elevation gain is 940 meters, (or about 3100 feet) and the altitude is 1563 meters, which is a little over 5100 feet.
Take special note of the altitude, only 5100 feet. This is one feature that makes this area of the Pyrénées such a great range of mountains for cycling – beautiful peaks fully saturated with oxygen! Even Superbagnères, the highest of the nearby peaks that we climb, is only 1800 meters, or 5900 feet. Oxygen difficulties typically begin to emerge with physical activity above 2500 meters.