Why a Spain Loop? Because we can! It’s not too common to ride across the border between two countries, let alone doing so at the top of a 1300meter mountain pass, so why not. The ride passes through several picturesque villages, we stop for lunch across the border in Spain, and there’s a town line (so to speak) on the way back worth quadruple points!
Who can do it? The Col du Portillon is the smallest of our five (5) major climbs and a great way to prepare for the bigger ones. It won’t be easy, as few climbs worth doing in the Pyrénées are, but it comes at the end of the 2nd day of riding, you will be well warmed-up, and it’s a mild, consistent climb that rarely gets over 8%.
How far and how high is it? The entire loop is about 36 miles with very little grade until the final climb. We ride north from Luchon, then east, and then south, crossing the border into Spain just beyond the halfway point. We’ll stop in the Catalonian town of Bossost for lunch and/or coffee, then finish off the ride with the 8.5 km climb to the Col du Portillon, which rises to 1293meters (about 4250 feet) from a starting elevation of about 700meters, and then descends directly into Bagnères-de-Luchon.