James Thinks

writing is a kind of thinking

As I set off on the Trans Pyrenees Race I thought I'd share some of my route planning for this first section. I've given it a lot of thought and spent a lot of time staring at maps with the help of RideWithGPS and Komoot.

I need to average about 230km per day in order to make it to the finish in time to qualify for General Classification.

There should be about 11 hours of daylight each day during the ride. I know I'm faster during daylight, even though I have good lights, so I'm aiming to be moving early to make the most of it. As I probably need to ride at least 12 hours every day, I will have to do some crepuscular cycling as well. I'm planning the trickier sections for during daylight hours.

Start Parcours

For the first 26km, everyone has to follow the same route. This gets the race safely out of town without too much hassle.


From the end of the Start Parcours, it's about 42km to CP1 at the top of the Col d'Ispeguy. There seems to be a single obvious route to take here, so I don't expect much deviation from that, unless I've missed some daring shortcut!

It's a significant climb to CP1, so this will be a good test of the legs ahead of the much larger ones later in the race. Still, I'm not used to climbs this long. The longest climb I've ever done is probably 625m up Great Dun Fell as part of the Knock Ventoux 300km audax.

The control closes at 3pm which should be enough time for everyone to get there.

CP1 to Parcours2

This is where it gets interesting. It's over 200km to Parcours2 and even with the limited roads through the mountains, there are at least two very different options. One route goes directly East, through France then South over the spine of the mountain range. The other heads South through Spain and mostly follows the valley until the last few kms. The French route is 24km shorter, but has about 1500m more climbing.

I've chosen the Spanish route which is much flatter. I'm hoping this will be quicker and less demanding. It will be interesting to see which riders choose which route.

I'm planning to stop on Friday night about 26km short of Pc2 in a place called Biescas, where there are plenty of hotels and places to eat. My route puts that 262km from the start, so I'll have a fairly long first day. Starting at sea level, it will involve more climbing than descending which will also slow me down, but I hope to get to bed early enough that I can set off before dawn the next day.

Category: Cycling
Mugshot of James cycling on a road in the sunshine.

James Bradbury

I write about whatever is on my mind. I do so mostly to help me think more clearly. If other people find it interesting that's good too. :-)