So we had a few options to ride for the day while we stayed another night here in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port. There were some routes that had some steep climbs. And I mean steep. Then there was a small loop just north of town that went through a small town that was recommended for lunch. The option we went with was to do an out-and-back up the Col d’Ispeguy to the Spanish border. The skies were clear and the temps were on the rise, plus we are getting a bit run down after all the days of riding. We stopped and grabbed a couple pastries in a small town before the actual climb and a few clicks away from St. Jean, but then headed up.
Kristin had done some looking on the web to get a better sense of what the grade of the road was, and found things that said it was an average of 3-4%. Well, I think she got info on the wrong col. The signs and my Garmin all said an average of 6-7%. It wasn’t too bad though. I knew that it was going to be a shortish day and that we only had one more decent ride to go, so I shot out of the gate hard and smashed away on the pedals to the top. The knee felt much better and I was able to just get in a groove with the steady grade of the road. As I was motoring up, I started to get worried that Kristin was going to be cooking in the warmer temperatures, so I ran into the shop at the top and on the border to grab a bottle of cold water. I sucked down a few big gulps of cold agua, and stuffed into my jersey on my back and headed back down to see if she needed a cool down agent. But when I got there, she was happy as a clam, and we rode up to the top and chatted with Peter, Galen and Ella for a bit. Then we rode over the to the Spanish side a couple hundred meters just to see what the road down the other side looked like. It was winding and seemed to go down pretty fast, so we decided to head back to the hotel and go for a swim in the pool instead.
On the way back, I was pretty hungry and knew that we should stop for lunch while we could. Since restaurants are only open 12-2pm and all. We grabbed some pizzas and I got a beer. Both were fantastic. Then we decided to make the slog back to St. Jean. The heat was getting a bit warmer and there was a fairly steep couple sections of road to get back into town. Along the way though, they were repaving a section of the road and we had to get off our bikes and walk to avoid as much sticky tar and asphalt as we could. Then we rinsed off quick back at the room and jumped in the pool. There were several folks at the pool hanging out and taking in an easy day for a change.
Then at dinner, they tried to poison me a few times with shellfish. It was all a bit of a mess when four different servers were bringing out plates and none of them had gotten the memo about my allergy to crustacés. There was mussels, clams, crab, shrimp and just in case, escargot. Kristin actually liked the snails. Oh, and if the food allergy wasn’t enough of a curveball, the vegetarian thing was. So instead of a shrimp appetizer, they brought out a pork fried mini-roll. It was all rather funny and entertaining for the evening. I still managed to eat something and have some awesome desserts and wine, so I was still ahead in the end.
Well, better get to sleep. One last ride tomorrow back to Pau. A bit of a long one at 68 miles and we’re doing one last col out in the middle of everything. Hopefully it doesn’t get too hot after today’s episode.