[ blog » 2023 » 09_South-West ]d06: Occitanie ( by Philipp Gesang, location: A hotel room with a view of the Pyrenees )


Good news, I made it through the boring flat part in a single day! In the morning it was all downhill out of Aveyron until I climbed out of the Tarn valley to head on to Toulouse, from where it was all uphill again to about the same altitude as I started on. Which imbues the elevation profile of this ride with a satisfying symmetry. I reached Albi before the bulk of the tourists crawled out of their hotels so I could do some sightseeing on mostly empty roads in the center.

Not quite as hot today as the past few days, the temperature maxed out at just 35 degrees. Strangely enough the sun did not overly scorch this region today as the sky was veiled in what looked like a thin, translucent layer of clouds at high altitude. Sahara sand maybe? The wind did come from the south all day at least.

Toulouse in the early afternoon again was bursting with people, thus it was time for slalom in its narrow streets. The town is as stunning as ever, a marvel composed of red bricks and pebble stones from the Garonne; it only got more radiant since my last visit. Since I know Toulouse reasonably well I didn’t intend to do any extensive sightseeing and soon crossed the Garonne on the Pont neuf and took the road to the south. Unplanned but very welcome was the sight of the Thales Alenia facilities and a parked A380 on the airport across the road from it.


After bottoming out at 120 m above sea level the road finally went uphill again! Amost unnoticably so but still the Garmin sure picked up the gained meters. Also I started crossing paths with cyclists again which I hadn’t since I left the Tarn. The headwind subsided as well after bugging me with gusts for most of the morning.

Another day, another visit to Roquefort. Well there’s not much to see in Roquefort-sur-Garonne and I don’t think they make cheese there either; one wonders though how it got that name considering the surroundings are rather lacking in the rocks department. Not far from there the village of Aurignac is located which lends its name to that prehistorical era. Apparently they have a museum there but that is a visit for another time. At the end of the day I’m still in the Pre-Pyrenees, if that’s a thing.

218 km with a surprising 950 m accumulated altitude gain. So not pancake flat after all. In any case I’m happy I got the boring part out of the way and can focus on climbs again.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail