The Tourmalet, at 2,115 metres, is the highest of the Pyrenean Cols. 19 kilometres of accredited climbing is part of the story, but starting the route with the road up the valley to Luz St.Sauveur adds a fair stretch more!
An early start in the Val d'Azun is recommended, enjoying some smaller villages and lanes before getting on the larger roads to the Tourmalet.
The Tourmalet is as much a pilgrimage as the city of Lourdes at the other end of the valley, salvation here comes through suffering, the climb is long enough and hard enough to guarantee it.
Be prepared to pay a premium for refreshment at the summit, there's also no drinking water available, so pay or wait to La Mongie.
Off the top the road twists to one of the Pyrenees' less picturesque spots, La Mongie, a ski resort of resourceful ugliness.
Out of the village the road is wider and faster, with strong car chasing potential.
Follow signs to Bagneres de Bigorre, and then take the road straight out of town.
The first road turning left which is signpost to Lourdes, at Montgaillard, is the one you want. This more minor route affords incredible views of your day's adventure and offers premium road in the footsteps of pilgrims.
From Lourdes there is a Voie Verte, a cycle track, on the old railway - up to Argeles Gazost - then climb out and round the town, back up to the start.
Tourist prices are the order of the day for most of the route - and most villages have coffee shops or other sources of refreshment. In Trebon, just south of Bagneres de Bigorre, there is a boulanger right on the main road, a handy stop - but possibly with unpredictable opening hours.
Don't short change yourself for this ride, it drains the energy and needs plenty of fuel and water to get round!
Please Note: due to mountains interfering with the satellite the start of the route will have some strange readings - simply follow the road down from Bun to Arcizans-Avant and St Savin.
Told her it was a sheep, didn't want to alarm 'er. Sorry.