A rather uneventful day to be honest as this day was originally planned to be a short recovery day ride from Bagneres-de Bigorre to Rébénacq. However, since we didn’t cross the Tourmalet, we decided to ride from Laruns to Pau instead and then back out to Rebenaq. We had ominous clouds hanging over us the whole day, but didn’t get wet on the way to Pau. We did get to see Ryder Hesjedal and the Garmin team out for the rest day ride en route. As well, we, or at least I, got laughed at by Sylvain Chavanel and his quickstep buddy on the way in and I’m still unsure why. We had just left the Boulangerie and I was standing around in flip-flops and had constructed a make-shift rear fender from a plastic water bottle, so I guess I gave him lots of ammo. I paled in comparison to the attention I got for having 600grams of cheese in my bottle cage the day before.
Once in Pau, there was the pro-tour-team presence everywhere. We saw a couple of those Eastern European long-haired Astana guys Iglinsky and someone else. We also saw the parking lot of the hotel which housed Rabobank, Columbia and Garmin, but it was too much of a circus to bother exploring. But mostly we just saw much of Pau, which is quite a beautiful city in many ways.
The ride back out to Rébénacq was fast and dry but we had to battle loads of traffic. I’m pretty sure every cycling fan in the region decided to bolt for the best spots on the Marie-Blanque at exactly the same time we did leave for the tiny village of Rébénacq.
We stayed with Mark, our host in Rébénacq, who was a very interesting fellow who spoke fluent Esparanto (the world language) and was a de-growth advocate. We had an interesting conversation about a sustainable society, bike design (he builds recumbent bicycles), and composting toilets. He also informed me that Cima Coppi is just the kind of company that the world wants, from a de-growth perspective. Which he meant, and I took, as a compliment.
I had hoped to try his recumbent, but after dinner it rained harder than I had seen in ages. There was also a heap of thunder and lightning and we started to get very worried about the ride the following day over the 1680m Col du Somport with thunder and lightning and torrential down pour. We slept nervously that night, and hoped the weather would clear.