The race forms a loop which will be divided into sectors. Think along the lines of the ' Ronde van Vlaanderen ' or ‘Paris Roubaix’....but on steroids.
The start and finish is at Gaudiès, which is on the plains of the Ariège next to the L’Hers river bordering the Aude. L'Hers is great for wild swimming.
The race traverses Departmental and National borders. We will go to Andorra and Spain.
The ride south to the mountains will be virtually all free routing from the start, the rider heading to the first of the sectors.
There is something special when you see the mountains in front of you, knowing that you are going into them, going up. Riders will be asking themselves what it will be like. The weather, the terrain and their own personal fitness.
Each sector will have a name and a number. The racers will have to complete the sectors numerically.
For example ‘Dead Tree Sector 02’.
The Ariège and the Pyrénées have ancient roads, some lost, some only known to La chasse ( Hunt ) and Les bûcherons ( lumberjacks ) but they are ours to use in our season.
We will find lost Highways. Lost into woodland, some are buried under leaves and in others we see the work of hands from another age. There are remains and ruins of mines, forges, homes and roads that will never return.
The Ariège is less populated than it was before World War one. The land use has changed, meadows have been lost to the woods and roads eaten by nature. The wild has returned.
To travel a byway that was once an important route is quite magical, if at times very hard work.
In the next couple of months, we will be regularly up-dating on the different sectors. The mountains start where the tarmac ends.