France Bike Tour August 20 - 27, 2021.


Your Next Adventure?


Dates of trip: 20-27 August 2021 (Friday through Friday)

Arrival City: Biarritz, France || Departure City: Carcassonne, France

It is not a stretch to say that the Haute Pyrenees is one of the World’s greatest bike rides. We start in the Basque region on the shores of the Atlantic. We ride 90 to 160 km per day on famous mountainsides and through lush green pastures in some of the most remote regions of Europe. We end on the sands of the Mediterranean after 5 and a half days on the road. We will ride many of the Tour de France ‘regulars’ such as the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Aspin and the Peyresourde.

We start with a couple of minute ride to the beach for a photo of all of us on our bikes on the Atlantic coast, and we ride coast to coast, repeating once we reach the Mediterranean Sea. 700 km of the best cycle routes in the world! The route detail links are below.

You’ll enjoy some of Europe's premier cycling roads, stay in charming hotels carefully selected for their rider-friendliness and convenience to the best cycling routes, benefit from superb rider support & daily baggage/equipment transfers.

In essence, we help take the hassle out of riding across the Pyrenees, leaving you to concentrate on the scenery, the camaraderie, the local cuisine and the small matter of propelling yourself up and down the mountains.

Minimum number of participants: 4

Maximum number of participants: 12

Since most riders will take a full week's vacation for this type of trip, this trip relaxes the pace a little from tradition Raid Pyrenees treks and takes you on a pure 'riders route.' We ride on a '5-day + 4-hours schedule', but the 'stages' remain challenging and all the most iconic climbs are on our course as you'd expect.

Questions can be sent to jeff@thresholdacademy.com



Day 1: Arrival Day (Friday Afternoon): Meet at hotel in Biarritz for pre-ride briefing, bike assembly and fitting and dinner. If you leave the states on Friday night, you should be able to book flights that take you to Biarritz by Saturday early afternoon.

Day 2: Start/finish: Biarritz – Montory. Distance: 145km Elevation gain: 2745 m. I picturesque first day, taking in a selection of Cat 2, 3 and 4 climbs, notably St. Ignace, Otxondo, Ispeguy and Osquich. Ride can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7422850

Day 3: Start/finish: Montory – Luz Saint Sauveur. Distance: 120 km Elevation gain: 3757m. Into the truly high mountains with the challenging ascents of Col de Marie Blanque and Col d’ Aubisque on today’s menu. Epic by all measures. Ride can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7423104

Day 4: Start/finish: Luz Saint Sauveur - Bagneres de Luchon. This day is also called "Tourmalet Tuesday," as we hit the Ultimate Pyrenee. Distance: 94 km Elevation gain: 3656m. The “big ones,” with Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde following in rapid succession. A whopping 5 flat kilometers for the entire day. A memory maker. Ride can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7423164

Day 5: Start/finish: Bagneres de Luchon – Foix. Distance: 139 km. Elevation gain: 2656m. A nicely balanced day with some easy leg-spinning flat sections to afford you some recovery from the recent climbs. Ride can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7423264

Day 6: Start/finish: Fiox – Prades. Distance: 143 km. Elevation gain: 3117m. Quiet roads and two of the longest descents of the week. Beware the sting of the tail with a 19 km climb up the Col de Jau. Once you crest the Jau, it is downhill nearly all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Ride details can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7423331

Day 7: Start/finish: Prades – Argeles sur Mer. Distance: 68 km. Elevation gain 498 m. Last half day, with a (typical) tail wind assisted cruise to the sea. Well earned respite after the previous 5 days of climbing. Dinner as a group in old Carcassonne. Ride details can be found at https://www.strava.com/routes/7423032


For details of the individual rides, please click on the Strava links below.


Sunday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7422850


Monday Classic Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423104
Tuesday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423164
Wednesday Classic C2C Pyrenees: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423264
Thursday Classic C2C Pyrenees: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423331
Friday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423032


What does the trip cost?


Price of this trip is $2,095 for each cyclist. This is a cyclist only course, based on shared room.

Trip prices are based on accommodation and guides for duration of the trip. All trips will have an orientation (in person if geography suffices) for all guests approximately 4 weeks before departure.

Deposit Requirement: A deposit is required immediately with each booking request. A booking cannot be guaranteed without a $500 deposit.

Trip Costs: This trip must be paid in full 90 days prior to the start of trip. If trip fees are not paid within this time-frame, trip deposits will be forfeited. Cancellations made more than 90 days before the start date receive a full refund. Cancellations made 60-90 days from the start date receive a 50% refund. Cancellations made less than 60 days before the start date receive no refund.

You can make your deposit payment here: https://www.paypal.me/thresholdacademy

-Breakfast and Dinner on most days, with dinner on the last day excluded. Lunches are done with group collections for grocery store purchases.

-All lodgings

-Threshold Academy guides’ knowledge and support

-Mechanical support

-Daily route support plus detailed route maps w/ profile data

-Ride support vehicle accompanies Tour

-All necessary transportation and luggage transfers during your trip

-Threshold Water Bottle

-Threshold Academy Cycling Jersey (you will need to provide your size)

What is NOT included?

-airfare to and from departure/arrival cities.

-alcohol

-specialty cycling nutrition, like gels, salts, bars and shakes.

-bike rentals

-personal items purchased during the trip

-excluded aforementioned meals (typically at least a few)


Can I bring my Plus 1?


No. This trip accommodates cyclists, only.


How hard is this trip?


This trip covers about 450 miles and includes more than 54,000 feet of vertical climbing. This assumes that you have done several hard rides before booking the trip, so you know what life is like when you ride long and hard. We also suggest that you aim to be riding 3-4 times per week (indoor training ‘counts’ on this scorecard) in the 3 months leading up to the trip. The cumulative duration of those rides should build up to at least 10 hours per week in the last 4-6 weeks of preparation. And you should be building in some intervals or ‘efforts’ of 15-30 minutes duration to 2-3 of your weekly rides. Give attention to your descending skills as well as to your ‘base fitness’ and climbing ability. It is very valuable on any of our trips to be able to descend safely and confidently. If you’d like any more personalized advice on training & preparation, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your own circumstances in more detail.


What meals are not included?


All breakfasts and included and all but one dinner. However, lunches are not included on this trip, and we typically collect a small amount from each person that we use to buy grocery store food each day to be consumed at lunch. Over the course of a week, this amounts to less than $100. Our last meal in Carcassonne is also not including.


Do I need to take out travel insurance?


Yes. You need an adequate travel insurance policy. As a minimum, that policy should provide extensive health/accident/hospitalization cover AND substantial provision to cover your personal liability in the event that you are deemed to be at fault in any accident. We will ask to see a copy of your policy document (electronic copies will suffice) before you commence riding, per French law. Most policies of this type will have some cover to protect you in the event that you need to cancel your holiday e.g. in the event of sickness, so we recommend that you take out the cover as soon as you book the trip, not just as a ‘last minute’ action immediately prior to travel.


How does tipping work?

Tipping is not expected for any Threshold Academy employees, owners or staff; however, wait and in-country support staff may be tipped, upon guest discretion.

What training should I do for the trip?

It is somewhat difficult to give a generic answer that is true for all cyclists. All Threshold Tours have a physiological demand built into their agenda and require greater fitness and endurance than a typical week at home. For an ‘average’ rider signing up for a Threshold Tour, we suggest that you aim to be riding 3-4 times per week (indoor training ‘counts’ on this scorecard) in the 3 months leading up to the trip. The cumulative duration of those rides should build up to at least 10 hours per week in the last 4-6 weeks of preparation. You should have at least one session of no less than 80 miles, and you should be building in some intervals or ‘efforts’ of 15-30 minutes duration to 2-3 of your weekly rides. Give attention to your descending skills as well as to your ‘base fitness’ and climbing ability. It is very valuable on any of our trips to be able to descend safely and confidently. If you’d like any more personalized advice on training reach out to either Jeff or Alex, and they will be happy to discuss your own circumstances in more detail. If you need a detailed plan to get your ready, Jeff is a certified coach and available for hire, with a 3-month minimum coaching commitment required.

What gearing do you recommend I ride on the big climbs?

Inevitably, the answer to this one is going to be entirely down to your strengths as a rider. Stronger/lighter riders may well be content to ride a standard 53/39-tooth or ‘semi-compact’ 52/36-tooth chain set – usually couple with a rear cassette ranging from 11-25 or 11-28. Those of you who find the climbs that bit tougher or prefer to ‘spin’ a gear will find a compact 50/34-tooth chain set more suitable and may opt to match that with an 11-32 cassette to give yourselves a true ‘bail out’ option that will keep you pedaling on even the steepest sections. If you’re still not sure what will be most suitable for your specific trip and riding style, email us and we’ll be happy to advise.

How do you manage groups to cater for a wide variation in rider experience and riding speed?

A key ‘success factor’ in enabling this to happen is that we need all riders in the group to take an efficient approach to all of our rest breaks, meal/café stops and col-summit regroupings. Your ‘job’ during a break period (as well as relaxing, eating, drinking, taking your photos & celebrating your successes) is to make sure you are properly prepared to move on when we ask you to.

On some mornings, we will give ‘head starts’ for the steadier riders in the group, sending them off a few minutes before the faster participants after each refreshment stop or col-summit regrouping. The composition of the ‘lead group’ may vary from day to day (if fatigue starts to play a part) or even on individual sections of the ride depending on terrain (some steadier climbers may be excellent descenders or very strong on flatter / rolling roads). The real key to the success of this approach is collaboration within the group – the faster riders showing some patience in allowing a head start to accumulate and the steadier folks being sufficiently well organized to get ahead when we ask them to.

How do you handle food/nutrition on the trip?

Every athlete has their own beliefs, education, and perspectives on nutrition while riding. Regardless of which type of diet you adhere to, you will have a need for a lot of calories on our rides, and we do our best to make sure you get enough to be successful. We often rely on our hotel partners to provide either breakfast or dinner for our riders, and lunch is often addressed by our support team, as we eat from coolers and grocery store purchases at lunch time. If you have special food requirements that can’t be addressed at either grocery stores or hotels, please bring with you what you need (special energy bars or energy drink powders, for example). In general, there will not be stores on our tours that are stocked with cycling specific nutrition. We do spend efforts to keep everyone hydrated, reminding everyone to drink, often.



How is it possible to recover and go hard day after day?

Jeff has studied this and attended seminars on this. Without question, the most important factors that you can control to make sure you recover are nutrition and sleep. We get up early every day, so we encourage and strongly suggest that you are in bed with the lights out early enough to get all the sleep you need. Since you will be training hard, we encourage adding no less than 2 additional hours of sleep at night.

I don’t want to ship my bike. Are rental bikes available and what is the quality?

We cannot control what the airline does with its handling of your bike, so it is commonplace for rental requests. We partner with local vendors to provide you a carbon framed bike with climbing, non-aero wheels. You should provide your own pedals, helmet and riding gear. We will provide assembly and basic bike fitting for you. If you do rent a bike, we will ask you to provide three measurements from your current bike to get your seat and handlebars in a near equivalent position before you arrive.

How many guides are on a tour, and what kind of support is there on the road?

Depending on size, all rides have at least one guide and one support vehicle on the road with you. For rides with at least 5 riders, there will be a pair of guides and a support vehicle. The support vehicle will contain packages snacks, water, basic repair tools and parts to assist you with minor bike repairs on the road.

If I am travelling alone but am not paying the single supplement, will you assign me a roommate?

Our tour pricing is based on double occupancy. We will assign you a roommate of like gender, but we can’t guarantee that we will be able to do so. If we are not able to assign you a roommate, then a tour specific single occupancy supplement will be assessed.

How do I get to the start of each trip?

Detailed information about starting and ending times and locations, airport and hotel van transfer locations and transportation options will be included in tour information emailed to you. If you wish to make airline reservations before receiving this information, please contact us for times and locations of your trip start and end.

Each trip begins and ends in or near a town accessible by mass transit as noted in individual trip descriptions. If you wish to drive to the trip start, please review the trip information emailed to you or give us a call for departure times and parking options.

How do refunds work, and do I need travel insurance?

Once you place your deposit, you are agreeing to pay for the cost of the trip, in full, no less than 60 days before departure. Based on when you cancel, you may forfeit your payments.

In the event you must cancel either before of during the trip and not able to receive a refund from Threshold Academy, travel insurance represents your next fall back. We encourage and recommend the purchase of travel insurance for all Threshold Tours.

Is the trip guaranteed to run?

Threshold Tours have a minimum number of participants required for the trip to run and the published price. For 2021, we need at least 6 to run the Spain trip, 4 for the Blue Ridge Parkway trip, and 6 for the Pyrenees trip.

In the event that we do not have enough participants, we will offer you the ability to pay additional amounts to keep the trip. If a trip is cancelled due to a lack of participants, you are eligible for 100% refund.

In the event we have too many people sign up, we will split the trip into two different weeks, allowing the first who sign up to pick which time frame is best for them. We will always keep the original published week as one of the options. For those who are unable to make either week and who sign up late, there will be a full refund of 100% of the amount you paid.

Can my school aged children come on this tour?

There will be other high school aged children riding their bikes on our routes. However, children less than high school aged (less than 13 years) are not allowed on our trips.

What documents should I expect to receive?

You will receive a guest confirmation the same day that you make your deposit. An itinerary and info sheet will quickly follow which gives the route and lodging information for yourselves and those at home. A week prior to your trip start you will receive an email about our start meeting location, time and any last-minute information that you will need to know before your first day. Daily briefings while on guided tours are given as well as info guides and daily maps or cue sheets, allowing you to ride with complete confidence that day

Our Gift to You


As a participant of our trip, you'll receive one of these fabulous Threshold Academy biking jerseys and a water bottle with the same logos.


Maps of our rides

For details of the individual rides, please click on the Strava links below.


Sunday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7422850


Monday Classic Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423104
Tuesday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423164
Wednesday Classic C2C Pyrenees: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423264
Thursday Classic C2C Pyrenees: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423331
Friday Pyrenees C2C: https://www.strava.com/routes/7423032

 
 

Until France Tour 2021!!!