I thoroughly enjoyed the Raid although it was a very tough challenge (though Merv kept calling it a holiday: Trades Descriptions people have been informed!). Never before have I been so relieved to see a Transit van than on the Paliheres! I wouldn't change a single thing about my experience of the Raid with Marmot (other than perhaps 28 degree heat on the Tourmalet!) and wouldn't hesitate to book another trip through you.
The Raid Pyrenean is a ‘must-do’ ride for any road cycling enthusiast. In the 1950’s the Cyclo Club Béarnais were looking for a challenge: they created a route across the Pyrenees, keeping as close to the Spanish border as possible (on surfaced roads!) The sting in the tail was the 100 hours given to participants to complete the traverse.
It is a chance to ride most of the famous cols in the Pyrenees, including beasts such as the Tourmalet and Aubisque and to cycle along the quiet and beautiful back roads and passes of France’s southernmost mountain range. The scenery is stunning, the road surfaces good, and the car drivers are generally extremely courteous and respectful of cyclists.
For a decade now we have been supporting cyclists in achieving their goals. We are passionate about our product being the best it can be, and we help over 200 cyclists a year do the official Raid Pyrenean route. The expertise and experience of our team really shows. We provide two highly customised support vans per group, our guides are attentive and energetic, and we know that this is not just a cycling challenge – it is also a holiday, so we keep it fun! It is also about your goals and aspirations and we pride ourselves on our individual customer focus from your first enquiry to the last moment of your holiday.
It is important to us that you book the correct holiday so do read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel… For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Departure Dates & Prices
Day 0: Travel Out
We offer included airport transfers from Biarritz airport (30mins) or from Toulouse airport (4hrs) at an extra cost, taking you to the start hotel in Hendaye.
Full travel advice group airport transfer arrangements (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.
Day 1: Hendaye to Lurbe St Christau (160km with 2200m of ascent)
Dip your toes in the Atlantic then your 100hours starts at 09.00am! Pass through picturesque Basque land with a couple of small cols as a warm up before lunch, probably in the historic town of St Jean Pied de Port. The Col D’ Osquich (500m), is the main climb of the day before you descend and undulate on quiet roads through small villages to the hotel (with pool) in Lurbe st Christau. If you still have some energy there is the optional climb of the eastern side of the Col de Marie Blanc (1035m) that can be done, adding 700 very steep metres of climbing! With 2 carnet stamps today you are well on your way.
Day 2: Lurbe St Christau to Aste (140km with 3530m ascent)
The route today is infamous – over the beautiful Col d’Aubisque (1709m) and sister col (Soulor) in the morning, then after a refreshing stop in Argeles Gazost, taking on the mighty and feared Tourmalet (2115m). The ascents may be gruelling but the descents will reward you for your efforts!
Day 3: Aste to Massat (170km with 3110m ascent)
Starting with the gorgeous and peaceful climb over the Col d’Aspin (1489m), you then take on another infamous col, the Peyresourde (1569m). Don’t forget to try the pancakes at the great col top cafe before possibly the best descent in the Pyrenees, all the way down to Luchon. The afternoon will see you undulating over some quiet and very pretty cols before the slightly terrifying 14% inclines of the Col de Portet d’Aspet (1069m)! Still 70kms to go at this stage but there are some gentle gradients and it is worth cycling with a few others so you can help each other whizz through the kms to the hotel in Massat.
Day 4: Massat to Prades (145km with 3400m ascent)
By tonight you will have passed over the Atlantic – Med watershed and will be able to almost smell the sea air. But first you have to tackle the lovely Col de Port (1249m), the seemingly endless Col du Pailheres (2001m) with its sting in the tail gradients near the top, and a couple of other cols besides! Despite a busy section of road in the valley of Ax, today includes some stunning riding and the final descent to Prades from the Col du Jau (1506m) is magical.
Day 5: Prades to Cerbere (98km with 620m ascent)
The end is in sight – well, almost! Some typically coastal undulations (ie quite steep!) to take on today once you hit the coast road in Argeles sur Mer. Pass through the great historic holiday seaside town of Collioure before reaching your destination at Cerbere. The only thing left to do today – celebrate your incredible achievement and enjoy some fabulous paella in our charming seafront hotel.
Day 6: Travel Back
Our included transfers drop you at Perpignan airport for flights to Stansted, or at Toulouse if you have booked our Toulouse package.
Full travel advice and group airport transfer arrangements (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.