A quick ride in the countryside this afternoon armed with a bit of "local" knowledge and half a plan.
I'd told KKB that I'd ride out to Mauleon-Barousse then up Port de Bales, and turn around after 45 minutes. I didn't like the idea of just riding to nowhere so thought of another plan - to ride up to Saint Bertrand de Comminges, a town which boasts a massive cathedral, high on a hill.
Because we'd been there a few times on our last visit I thought it'd be straight forward, but it didn't turn out that way. I went back to Plan A - Port de Bales... a road to nowhere.
As I turned up the climb from Mauleon-Barousse I immediately noticed new asphalt - a telltale sign that the Tour would be here next month.
It was a lovely climb through thick forest. A few ks up the road there was a turnoff to the right, to a village called Ourde. The sign also pointed out the town's church, which I presumed must be a point of interest.
I could spot the village, just up through the trees so thought that'd do me for my 45 minutes - and at least I would have ridden to somewhere!
I don't think they get many visitors in Ourde. It was a tiny little town with very narrow alleys.
I got a bit freaked out when a random dude drove past me looking a bit shifty and I realised that noone really knew where I was (as this was Plan C) so took a quick snap, didn't venture any further to see the historical church, and scooted out of town. I was greeted with a spectacular view on my descent from the town - a narrow country road and an outlook across to mountains near and far.
After not too long I was back down to Siridan, the neighbouring town to
Salechan where we were staying to a typical view from the Pyrenees:
mountains (usually with clouds resting on their summit) and churches.
I started out on a ride to nowhere, and ended up really somewhere. That's what I like about riding a bike - every ride gives you the chance for a mini-adventure as you explore new places. It's a real luxury in today's hectic world.