Pyrenees Raid

Looking for the next awesome cycling challenge? Want to spend four or ten days cycling some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pyrenees? Want to cycle from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean climbing and descending the hardest peaks in the Pyrenees? Want to join an alumni of just 3,244 people who’ve completed the challenge?

The Grand Raid Pyrenees is the ride for you.

The Pyrenees Raid (Le Raid Pyrénéen) was established in 1950 by five zealous cyclists from the Bearnais Cycling Club based in Pau. They plotted a route across the Pyrenees which has been covered by just a few thousand cyclists in the 60 years since. The Club is still the official organisation behind the Raid, charging just a 16 euros entrance fee.

For that sum, you get the route to follow, a Grand Raid Pyrenees identity card to be stamped along the way at designated points (cafes and shops) and a medal at the end to say you’ve completed the route.

For considerably more, you can join one of the several cycling companies in the Pyrenees who will take you on an organised group ride. They provide the support vehicles with crew, kit, luggage, food and other supplies. They also organise accommodation en route and do all the associated admin.

However, if you’re prepared to carry your own kit, you have an appetite for independent touring and you have the disposition for tough climbs and descents while carrying baggage, the Raid can be completed entirely independently of any group, cycling club or organised ride.

There are two route options. The first follows a 720km route over 18 cols in just over 4 days. The second follows an 800km route over 28 cols and has to be completed within just 10 days.

Raid Pyreneen Randonneur

  • Must be completed in 10 days
  • Distance: 800km
  • 28 cols
  • 18,000m of climbing

Raid Pyreneen Touriste

  • Must be completed in 100 hrs
  • Distance: 720km
  • 18 cols
  • 11,000m of climbing

The timed cycle challenge can be completed in either direction (east to west or west to east) with the start and end towns being Hendaye on the Atlantic coast and Cerbère on the Mediterranean. It can be completed at any time between 1 June and 30 September but even during these months some of the higher cols can be closed due to bad weather; so riders have to check road closures before setting off each day.

The 10 day route passes over 28 cols:

Location Altitude (m)
Hendaye (Control) 0
Col Saint Ignace 169
Col Pinodeita 176
Col Budincurutcheta 1135
Col Bagargui 1319
Col de Marie-Blanque 1035
Col d’Aubisque 1709
Col du Soulor 1474
Col des Borderes 1156
Col du Tourmalet 2115
Col d’Aspin 1489
Col de Peyresourde 1569
Col du Portillon 1293
Col de Mente 1349
Col de Portet d’Aspet 1069
Col de la Core 1395
Col de la Trappe 1111
Col d’Agnes 1570
Port de Lers 1517
Col de Marmares 1361
Col de Chioula 1431
Col de Pailheres 2001
Col de Moulis 1099
Col de Garabel 1267
Col de Jau 1513
Col de Palomere 1036
Col Xatard 752
Col Fourtou 646
Col Llauro 380

The 100 hour route passes over 18 cols, although riders can also include the Marie Blanque:

Sequence Location Altitude (m)
1 Hendaye (Control) 0
2 Col Saint Ignace 169
3 Col Pinodeita 176
4 Espelette (Control) 58
5 Col d’ Osquich 500
6 Tardets-Sorholus (Control) 286
7 Col de Marie-Blanque **Optional** 1035
8 Col d’Aubisque (Control) 1709
9 Col du Soulor 1474
10 Col du Tourmalet 2115
11 La Mongie (Control) 1750
12 Col d’Aspin 1489
13 Col de Peyresourde 1569
14 Col des Ares 797
15 Col de Buret 602
16 Col de Portet d’Aspet 1069
17 St Girons (Control) 392
18 Col de Caougnous 947
19 Col de Port 1249
20 Col de Puymorens 1920
21 Col de Lious 1345
22 Col Rigat 1488
23 Col de la Perche 1570
24 Prades (Control) 354
25 Col Saint Pierre 185
26 Col de Ternére 200
27 Cerbère (Control) 0