Raid Pyrenean

The most famous of all cycling challenges, the Raid Pyrenean (or Raid Pyrenees if you prefer) sees riders cross from the Atlantic coastal town of Hendaye to the Mediterranean coastal town of Cerbere, via 18 mandatory Cols and approximately 720k of riding, all within a strict cut-off of 100 hours! The Raid is a true classic cycling tour and one that Le Domestique Tours feel every dedicated cyclist should attempt during their riding career.

We have guided a huge number of riders through this challenge and as a result have an unrivalled knowledge of every aspect of it, from the training challenges that it presents, through to the overall Raid Pyrenean experience. To this end we have prepared a range of Raid Pyrenean Training Resources, along with our very own dedicated Raid Pyrenean Website, which contains full descriptions of the route, every climb, the history, kit lists, the logistical requirements of the challenge and a huge amount of additional Raid knowledge.

In addition to the scheduled dates listed below, we have a range of dates available for private Raids of 4-22 riders throughout June-October 2016. These dates are always extremely popular (see the FAQs below and our Private page for further details and to find out why), so if you are planning a Raid Pyrenean in 2017, please get in touch with us via laura@ledomestiquetours.co.uk and we will be happy to help you plan the perfect package.

“I booked my Raid Pyrenees trip with Le Domestique Tours because I was looking for a suitable way to celebrate my 50th birthday.  The trip was extremely well organized with great attention paid to all the finer detail e.g airport transfers, help assembling and tuning the bikes, and help with punctures on the road etc.  Someone was always in the right place to provide more fluid, food or encouragement.  I would recommend LDT to anyone planning such a trip.  Coincidentally my official raid certificate arrived on my actual birthday along with all my birthday cards, a very fitting end to a fantastic trip”

Andy G, UK – Raid Pyrenean September 2015

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Dates & Prices

10 - 16 June 2017 6 Nights - Twin Share £949pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
10 - 16 June 2017 6 Nights - Solo Occ £1149pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
1 - 6 July 2017 6 Nights - Twin Share £949pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
1 - 6 July 2017 6 Nights - Solo Occ £1149pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
12 - 18 August 2017 6 Nights - Twin Share £949pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
12 - 18 August 2017 6 Nights - Solo Occ £1149pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
2 - 8 September 2017 6 Nights £949pp - £300 Deposit BOOK NOW
2 - 8 September 2017 6 Nights - Solo Occ £1149pp - £400 Deposit BOOK NOW
Private Groups Dates Throughout May-Oct 2017/2018 From £949pp BOOK NOW

Itinerary

Day 1 - Collection from Toulouse/Biarritz

Arrive into Toulouse on the morning flights (served by BA and Easyjet from Heathrow and Gatwick), or the afternoon arrival into Biarritz (served by Ryanair from Stansted) before transferring to our hotel at the start line in Hendaye, where we build the bikes and receive our welcome briefing, before a big dinner and early night.

Day 2 - 160km - 2200m - Hendaye - Gurmencon

Setting out from the Atlantic coast town of Hendaye, the route follows the incredible Corniche coastal road before we wave goodbye to the Atlantic ocean turning inland into the foot hills of the Pyrenees. Day one eases riders into the challenges ahead, via three Cols, the Col De St Ignace (169m), Col De Pinodieta (176m) and Col d'Osquich (500m). This is a fantastic introduction to the next four days, with our hotel for the night placing us in the foothills of the Cols that have given the Pyrenees their incredible Tour de France reputation.

SEE STRAVA ROUTE

Day 3 - 169km - 4800m - Gurmencon - Louron

The day opens with a flowing ride through the forest on route to the incredible Col d'Aubisque (1709m), followed by the Col du Soulor (1464m) via the spectacular Circle of Death! Following a descent into Argeles-Gazost, we head due south to tackle the (in)famous Col du Tourmalet (2115m), 18.6km at an average 7.6%, before a long descent into Campan St Marie where we begin the climb of the short side of the Col d'Aspen (1489m). We end the day on the awesome descent of the Aspin.

SEE STRAVA ROUTE

Day 4 - 170km - 3200m - Louron - Tarascon-sur-Ariege

The first climb of the day is the beautiful Col de Peyresourde (1569m), followed by a long descent to our favourite coffee stop on the Raid in Luchon. The Col des Ares (797m) and the Col de Buret (602m), two beautiful climbs are up next and give a chance to recover from the morning's exertions. These are followed by the much feared 18% inclines of the Col de Portet de Aspet (1069m) and a lunch stop before a long valley road section that ends the day with the Col de Caougnous (942m) on route to the Col de Port (1249m).

SEE STRAVA ROUTE

Day 5 - 135km - 2300m - Tarascon-sur-Ariege - Prades

The official Raid Pyrenees route follows the N20 from our overnight stop, through Ax les Thermes (site of stage 8 of the TdF 2013) and on up the seemingly endless Col de Puymorens (1915m). After descending the Puymorens we tackle the triple-header of the Col de Llous (1345m), Col Rigat (1488m) and the Col de la Perche (1570m) followed by the monster 35km descent to our hotel in Prades. Certain groups opt to detour the Puymorens via a sanctioned detour which uses quieter roads, which we of course can accommodate.

SEE STRAVA ROUTE

Day 6 - 90km - 900m - Prades - Cerbere

So close, just 60km of flat riding followed by the lumps of the stunning Mediterranean coastal road (Col Saint Pierre (185m) and Col de Ternere (233m), but you will have to be quick (and avoid the vineyards and degustation options on your way) as you have to get your finisher stamp in Cerbere by 13:00. After completing the Raid and enjoying a well-deserved beer and lunch we'll pack up the bikes and relax on the Mediterranean coast in our fantastic Spa Hotel.

SEE STRAVA ROUTE

Day 7 - Return to Perpignan/Toulouse

After a free morning to splash around in the sea and relax, we return to Toulouse or Perpignan for your flights home.

FAQ

  • What's Included?
    • Airport transfers from Toulouse or Biarritz airport to the start line in Hendaye and from the finish in Cerbere back to Toulouse or Perpignan, in modern air-conditioned vehicles, based on the below suggested flights (to be booked separately by you):
    • BA – LHR/Toulouse
      • 07.40 – 10.30 – arrival
      • 17.40 – 18.35 – departure
    • Easyjet – LGW/Toulouse
      • 08.25 – 11.10 – arrival
      • 17.25 – 18.15 – departure
    • Six night’s accommodation in 2/3* Pyrenean hotels on a twin share basis.
    • Five three course dinners and six breakfasts supplemented with LDT’s special blend of muesli and other items, perfect fuelling for days on the bike.
    • Fully guided and pro level supported riding on all days from two vehicles driven by senior LDT guides with total familiarity and local knowledge of the Raid Pyrenees routes and wider area, mechanical support and assistance, supplies of on the bike snacks (crisps, sweets and cookies, but not dedicated sports nutrition), water top ups and a crate of coke cans to be shared between the group.
    • A digital album of stunning photography to document your Raid journey.
    • Full Package Travel Regulations compliant financial failure insurance coverage which protects the funds paid by you to Le Domestique Tours, ensuring peace of mind when booking with us.
    What's Not Included?
    • Flights.
    • Lunches.
    • Travel Insurance.
    • Alcohol.
    • Dinner on the final night.
    • Incidental expenses/purchases.
    Kit
    • The mountains can be extremely fickle and it is therefore difficult to predict the weather on any tour. Please therefore ensure you have a mix of kit to cover hot through to cold, along with wet weather. A definite must for packing is obviously a wind/waterproof gilet or jacket and full finger gloves, which are a good idea for the descents and mornings. Arm and knee warmers are also great as they are easy to adjust on the fly and help us keep things moving on the road. We also recommend that you bring your full wet weather kit in case we encounter any particularly poor weather.
    • We recommend that riders bring enough kit to cover the duration of their tour. Due to the nature of the Raid route and the daily schedule, it is not possible to provide a nightly laundry service, so while riders can hand wash kit in their rooms at night or utilsie the nearby launderette on Day 4, we recommend packing at least three sets of kit to ensure you can cope with any wet weather days.
    • We have a tool kit with us which contains the usual allen keys, pedal spanners, chain whips, cassette tools, chain splitter, track pump etc etc which guests are welcome to use throughout the tour. If you have any unusual bits on your bike such as proprietary bottom brackets or older/Campag group sets then you may want to bring your own specific tools as we can’t guarantee that we will have the correct tool in case of disaster. Due to their fragility we are unable to provide a torque wrench and therefore recommend that you bring your own if you require one for assembling your bike.
    • We recommend that you carry at least one spare inner tube along with a mini pump/co2 and a multitool with you at all times as a minimum so that if you do suffer a mechanical we can quickly take care of it. We have supplies of threaded Co2 canisters which you are welcome to borrow for the duration of the tour and either return unused, or if you do have to use them we charge ?2 per canister.
    • The Raid route takes us through several poorly lit tunnels, which require all bikes to be fitted with front and rear lights and we also regularly encounter low visibility due to low cloud or fog, so please ensure that you have both front and rear lights with you for use in these circumstances (simple LED commuting lights are sufficient). Failure to carry lights can result in a fine from the police and also risks drivers not seeing you, so please do not forget to bring/use them.
  • Supported Riding
    • One of the main benefits of choosing Le Domestique Tours, is our pro-level supported riding service, which is an integral part of all of our packages. However, unless you have ridden with us before, it can be difficult to understand the benefits of this service, so for more information please follow this link –What is Supported Riding?
    • We do not enforce an average speed requirement during our tours and will always strive to allow riders to cycle at their own speed (our two van support policy gives us the ability to provide our incredible supported riding service for 99% of the riders on our tours), however if there is a large speed differential between you and the rest of the group, we may require you to depart earlier/later, miss extended stops or in very extreme circumstances, complete sections of the route in the LDT support van.
    • Equally, if you are an extremely fast rider in comparison to the others in your group, or someone who does not like to stop during the course of your riding, we may have to adapt the level of support that we can provide for you. If you are at all concerned about your ability level (whether quicker or steadier than average) prior to signing up to this tour, please contact us in advance of booking and we will provide further guidance.
    Fitness and Gearing
    • The Raid Pyrenees is a challenging yet accessible tour that requires riders to be comfortable with long days in the saddle tackling the incredible Pyrenean mountain range. As a result we always recommend that riders ensure they are comfortable riding the distance required on each day on a back to back basis and have experience of, or have trained for, sustained climbing.
    • Further guidance on training for your Raid can be found on our Training blog pages, while we also offer a full range of bespoke coaching options through Le Domestique Training.
    • While some riders do tackle the Raid Pyrenees on a standard double chainset (53/39), we generally recommend that riders opt for a compact chainset (50/34), accompanied by a 27T or 28T rear cassette. This gives a good spread of gears to cover most eventualities and ensures that you have a low enough gear to keep the pedals turning. Some riders do utilise triple chainsets, however in many circumstances this does not provide a lower gear than the ratios suggested above.
    Need More Information?
    • For more information on everything to do with this incredible cycling challenge please visit our resource site at www.raidpyrenees.co.uk.
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