Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Saturday 6 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 22 - Cauterets (3) - Trophee du Grand Vignemale

We walked about 4 km today, with about 200 metres ascent                             

Weather: sunny and hot

You might guess from the above statistics that we didn't actually participate in the 'Trophee du Grand Vignemale'. I don't think 'on the day' entries were permitted. In any case it would have counted as gross abuse of a rest day. A shame really, as it looked quite fun. 

After a very lazy start during which the first two hours of the day were spent acquiring and consuming a selection of croissants, we did a few chores, spent a while in the café society, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. 

The 650 participants of the 'Trophee' had set off at 8am. Their 45 km (28 mile) trip up Vignemale, and back by a different route, involved over 2700 metres of ascent. The first man arrived back at 12.49pm. I'll leave you to work out how long that took him. The last of the 414 finishers, including just 8 women (perhaps they have more sense!) arrived at around 19.00 whilst we were enjoying beers with Pierre and Yolaine. The remainder either dropped out or failed to beat the cut-off times at the checkpoints. 

In the meantime we had gone a little way back along the 'Trophee' route and had spent a couple of hours cheering the competitors as they climbed a final short hill just above Cauterets. (From where the view is pictured above.) They seemed to appreciate the encouragement. There were long intervals between them. 

Back at base, my sleeping bag problem was resolved with Graham and Alpenstock's assistance.  Hugh at Alpenstock sold me 720 grammes of Deuter Treklite 250 goose down, in the form of a bag that Graham has kindly offered to collect and personally courier to me in the Pyrenees.  What a star!

Meanwhile I read a rather entertaining book, 'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared'. A black comedy - recommended. 

The TV in the background appeared to show a defining moment in this year's Tour de France cycle race as Chris Froome hoisted himself ahead of the competition on a steep climb further east in the Pyrenees. 

Then it was beer o'clock. Before we knew it! 

With the generous Yorkshiremen now gone ahead, we thought we'd have to buy our own beer.

But Pierre and Yolaine, who had spotted us after arriving from Refuge d'Ilhéou at lunch time,  appeared in the nick of time.  This time however they didn't adopt the cunning Yorkshire ploy of paying for everything, so we were able to at least partly pay our way!

Then we returned to our comfy base at Hotel le Lys for an excellent supper from our private kitchen. 

Last night the Tour Aventure team alerted us to a few problems ahead, but we think they will be more seriously affected than us due to their luggage transfer requirements being thwarted by closed roads. Local information also indicates that the Tour Aventure snow warnings are out of date and that with a few adjustments the GR10 route to Luchon should be viable, which is good news if it's true! 

We are ready for anything. ..

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

2 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

You paint a vivid picture of your activities. It just seems to be getting better and better. I'm looking forward to you being on the move again. I'm off myself tomorrow for five nights all pre-booked in hotels and b and b on the Kennet and Avon Canal (see the blog), but should have no problem with gadget charging so I should be able to follow you easily.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Conrad, we are just off on the next stage of our trip. Sounds like the UK weather this week will make your own trip most amenable.