About the challenge
This challenging, memorable ride takes us from the beautiful fortified city of Carcassonne through the rolling
hills of Cathar country, before reaching the mighty Pyrenees. Here we tackle the long twisting climb of the Porte d’Envalira (2408m) in the tiny mountainous kingdom of Andorra; as you reach the top you’ll have emulated the pros from the Tour de France and Tour of Spain – a huge achievement.
More challenges await in the stunning Catalan Pyrenees before reaching the sights of glorious Barcelona.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|27 Jun 2017||6||Open challenge||Spaces||£149||+||£1850||Or||£925||Book now|
|25 Sep 2017||6||Open challenge||Spaces||£149||+||£1850||£925||Book now|
|26 Jun 2018||6||Open challenge||Spaces||£149||+||£1950||£975||Book now|
|18 Sep 2018||6||Open challenge||Spaces||£149||+||£1950||£975||Book now|
Magnificent scenery through French and Catalan Pyrenees
Conquer highest paved road in Pyrenees through Andorra
Descend out of mountains to iconic Barcelona
Hotels in historic towns en-route
Day 1: Arrive Carcassonne; meet group
Days 2-3: Rolling French foothills through Cathar country; long climb into Andorra and descend into Spain
Days 4-5: Beautiful rural scenes through Catalan Pyrenees; more rolling terrain to Barcelona
Day 6: Free time Barcelona; depart
What makes it tough?
Cross the Pyrenees (high point 2408m)
Cycle 55-80 miles each day
Long ascents and some steep gradients
Almost 3000m of total ascent on Porte d’Envalira day!
All accommodation is included as well as transfers to/from airports, and all meals except as specified in the itinerary. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics. Support vehicles are with the group all of the time and carry your luggage to the hotels.
The tour cost does not include flights. Personal travel insurance, two meals as specified, and a bicycle are also not included, nor are entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions you may wish to visit. Bear in mind that airlines are likely to charge a fee for bike carriage. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
We do not arrange flights for this challenge. The best deals are usually open to those who book early, but bear in mind that we do need a minimum number for this trip to run, and booking your flight before you are advised the trip is guaranteed is entirely at your own risk.
Accommodation and Food
We stay in comfortable 2-3* hotels, picked for their proximity to our route, on a twin-share basis. Standards may vary between the hotels.
All food is included except where specified in the itinerary; this is often dependent on your flight schedules. Lunches are buffet-style with plenty of energy food to keep you going! Dinners are generally eaten in the hotel. Please let us know any dietary requirements well in advance.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
Support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. Bikes can be transported on flights in bike bags or – a much cheaper option – cardboard bike boxes: ask your local bike shop if they have any. You should also bring a small daypack or waist-pack to carry items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Our route varies from predominantly flat valley roads to ascents of low- to mid-range mountains, and a very challenging climb. Traffic is relatively light most of the time but be vigilant for traffic and other cyclists, especially in poor visibility or on narrow mountain roads. Distances are fairly moderate, averaging 55-80 miles per day; it is the terrain, rather than the distances, that make this such a challenge. Road bikes are the most suitable on this trip. This is not a trip which should be undertaken without specific training. We supply a thorough training guide on registration.
It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.
We strongly recommend that you ride a road/racing bike (rather than a mountain bike) for this trip due to the long distances involved on well-surfaced roads. It’s really important that you ride the bike you have been training on so you are used to it. Although training in the gym is useful, there is no substitute for getting out into all weathers and really getting to know your bike – especially the range of your gears as you climb.
There will be a range of spares in the vehicle along with a full tool kit. However it is impossible for us to carry spares for every eventuality so it is vital that your bike it is in good order before departure. It is a condition of travel that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with the straps done up.
Clothing & Equipment
We could be exposed to bad weather at any time even in the height of summer so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures and remember that conditions can change quickly in the mountains. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list, and you are entitled to useful discounts as a Discover Adventure customer.
It can be very hot! Rain is always a possibility and it may be windy in the valleys. The weather and temperature can change dramatically with elevation; higher up it may be foggy, cloudy or much colder. The weather can change rapidly. Average summer temperatures for this region range between 14-32°C.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential for travel in France and Spain and must be valid for at least 6 months from entry. Your passport must be carried with you at all times in the mountains. There is no visa requirement for UK citizens or other EU members. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with The Conversation Volunteers and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at http://www.tcv.org.uk/volunteeringor call 01302 388883.