Despite feeling knackered, I can't help but feeling slightly more alive having being pushed slightly closer to the edge.
Marmot Tours is no stranger to the Raid Pyrenean: we support over 200 people a year to achieve the 100hr Raid from the Atlantic to the Med. However, we also wanted to offer the route in the opposite direction, from the Med to the Atlantic. The climbs are just as stunning and the challenge is elevated (you have only 4 days to cover the distance) so the sense of achievement is even greater!
Following the official Cyclo Club Béarnais route you have an average of 177km with 3200m of ascent per day (akin to 4 TdF stages!). This is for fit cyclists with sportives, multi-day events and a Raid or two already under their belt.
If you have done the 100hr Raid Pyrenean you will be surprised at how very different this one feels, though the quiet roads and stunning scenery of this mountain range will be familiar to you. You will love the ride, the country and the route, enjoying some great banter along the way. We leave no stone unturned in preparing for your holiday and making it the best it can be. Which is why you just have to eat sleep and turn the pedals….
It is important to us that you book the correct holiday so do download and read the Essential Information for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel…
Departure Dates & Prices
Day 0: Travel Out
We offer included transfers from Toulouse Airport to Cerbere (3hrs).
Our pick up times are when we will be leaving the airport, all being well. Please don’t book flights arriving later than suggested below (in brackets).
Pick up: Toulouse Airport 17:30 (for flights before 17:00)
Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Essential Information document.
Meet your guides, assembly and test out your bikes and come along to the welcome briefing followed by a hearty dinner.
Day 1: Cerbere to Ax Les Thermes (186km with 3850m ascent)
Its worth a 07:00 start from the Mediterranean- you have a way to go! Undulate along the scenic coastline before turning inland to climb gently to the town of Prades. You have reached the foothills and the road heads up out of the drier scrublands, through pine forests to the Col de Jau (1506m). Recover on the descent before the abrupt Col du Garavel (1262m) and the subtle Col des Moulis (1099m). Already you have 150km on the clock but the Col de Pailheres (2001m) still awaits you before your fabulous descent to the spa town of Ax les Thermes.
Day 2: Ax to Arreau (192km with 3000m ascent)
Gently descend 20km from Ax to the start of the very pleasant Col de Port (1249m) with the far reaching views back up the valley from the summit. Swoop down to St Girons for a carnet stamp before a long steady ascent to the base of the infamous Col de Portet d’Aspet (1069m), and on to the top. Pause on the descent to pay your respects to Fabio Casartelli before enjoying the beautiful climbs (and gentle gradients) of the Col de Buret (603m) and Col des Ares (797m). There is a bit of a grind to Luchon and the base of the gorgeous Col de Peyresourde (1569m). Your motivation for this climb is the delicious pancakes served in the col top cafe! All that is left now is to roll down the valley to your hotel in Arreau.
Day 3: Arreau to Laruns (133km with 3500m ascent)
You will love the Col d’Aspin (1489m) in the early morning but watch out for cows in the road on the descent. You will have hopefully warmed the legs up sufficiently for the infamous Col de Tourmalet (2115m) which looms up next. Don’t forget the photo at the top! Descend to Argeles Gazost and then head straight up into the Col de Soulour (1464m) and the cliff hugging road round (and up) to the beautiful Col d’Aubisque (1709m). You will love the exhilarating descent down to the market town of Laruns where you can stop for the day!
Day 4: Laruns to Hendaye (195km with 2500m ascent)
First up is a ‘nip’ up the Eastern side of the Col de Marie Blanque (1035m), a much respected climb. Take the descent carefully (its steep!) and be thankful you are doing the Raid in this direction! Just 2 small cols left to do; the Col d’Osquich (500m) and the Col St Ignace (161m), plus some fabulous back road riding through rural Basque lands with their burgundy shuttered houses and red chillies hanging everywhere. You need to finish by 18:00 today to have successfully managed the challenge and will have earned your celebrations tonight!
Day 5: Travel Back
Our included transfers drop you at Biarritz (30mins) or Toulouse Airport (4hrs).
Our drop off times are when we will be arriving at the airport, all being well. Please don’t book flights leaving earlier than suggested below (in brackets).
Drop off: Toulouse Airport 13:45 (for flights leaving after 15:45) or
Drop off: Biarritz Airport 15:30 (for flights after 17:30)
Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Essential Information for full travel details.