Pyrenees May2019

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nick.murphy
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Pyrenees May2019

Post by nick.murphy » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:22 am

Hi,
Firstly - Thanks Simon for putting together some amazing routes!

I am at the planning stages of a weeks tour of the Pyrenees. The plan is: myself and my son will van our enduro bikes down to Cadeques where I have a mate whose place I can leave the van at.

Then we were going to do what I imagine will be a 5 day loop taking in as much of the eastern pyrenean routes as works.

Would anyone recommend the sections that they think would work best|?
and..
We plan to camp (ideally some wild camping) ... are we being optimistic camping in the mountains in May?.. or might there be other sections that would keep us dryer.. and warmer...

Any opinions welcome as it will inform my planning.

Thanks Again Nick
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WillS
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Location: Haute Pyrénées
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Re: Pyrenees May2019

Post by WillS » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:44 pm

We did the TET from Carcassonne South to Spain then West across the Spanish Pyrenees in May last year. We camped on campsites, most were open. Wild camping at altitude in May can be very cold.
Only problem we found on the route was around Andorre, impassable due to snow, all other sections were ok. We have had heavy snow in January and so far none in February, only warm sunny weather!! But how long it will last!!
Weather was good last May, and the trails were very good.
It's a great ride with some fantastic trails.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did..
Good luck.
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Simon_100
Linesman
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Re: Pyrenees May2019

Post by Simon_100 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:16 pm

Hello Nick,

Good to see you here on the Forum and to know your plans - in fact I'll be doing the same route up from Colliure in mid-May too if all goes to plan - and if I survive a 1,000 km in four days blast to get there!

I think from Colliure you could try to do the 'loop' of Sections 1, 2 and 3 as far as it intersects with Section 15, which passes out of Spain west of Andorra to rejoin the French TET. But you'd have to travel long and light - and have some luck! - especially bearing in mind you are on enduro bikes and can't simply head back on roads as you could on an 'Adventure' bike proper, which is what I usually advise people doing the TET from the ferry ports ate Bilbao and Santander. So you should plan to think on your feet as it were and cut back at some point, probably just east of Andorra.

Maybe a more realistic plan would be to make a 'loop' using Special Section C, the winter route, and stay in Spain. until you head back - there's not much hope of finding trails back to Colliure on the Spanish side east of the TET as it stands.

But there are developments in the offing in Andorra, where we now have a Linesman who along with me has devised a long distance trail within the Principality and crossing several times back into Spain. However the situation there is more complicated as the Andorran government is reviewing the extent of its nature reserves, where trails are totally off limits, so we won't know what is feasible until this is done, probably in April. Having said that our 'man' is actually part of the consultation process so we'll know at least a bit in advance what is likely to happen.

Regarding wild camping, as I hope you will have read in my blog the rules are pretty straightforward, but I don't like to encourage it as the spirit of the law is that people should only bivouac out of necessity, which is a bit hard to justify with a motor vehicle to hand. But regarding the cold it's all pretty much of a muchness as until the summer it's often colder down in the valleys than on higher ground - just last week it was well above freezing - about 10º at Espot @ 2,500 m whereas down in Sort it was -7ª!

In general, May is a lovely month but the weather is changeable, not only day by day but we also have different weather patterns year on year. As that chap above pointed out there can be snow still in May but that's not usual - back in about 2014 it snowed down to 1,800 m, as late as May 25th, blocking all of the TET trails for about two days. But a more important risk is the effects of late snow blocking the trails with fallen trees, which was the case in 2017.

Just a thought, if you are only travelling five days - fours nights? - on enduro bikes why not just stay in accommodations, which is not only nearly as cheap as campsites, especially if you share a room but you also save several hours a day - note that it's not easy to find good pitches, with water, etc., for wild camping - time that could better be spent riding - or repairing your bikes :) Booking.com works really well here in Spain and many riders book using the App when they are just a few hours before they feel they've had enough, usually coinciding with diverting from the trails for fuel.

Just a final point on that - never, ever, ever, ever, ever light a fire!!!!!

Enjoy

Simon
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