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Pyrenees Fitness Week (Grade 3-4)

Guided Road Bike Tour




8 days

Prices from

$1,685 P.P.
Your base is the picturesque medieval village of Chalabre, situated in the foothills of the stunning yet demanding Pyrenees. Chalabre is located a mere 45 minute drive from the historic city of Carcassonne: a fortified town that is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
You'll enjoy riding out on a daily basis from a pleasantly appointed 16th century French house, where we will take you out into the surrounding hills and mountains for a series of unforgettable training rides. The region is steeped in Cathar history with a network of quiet, almost traffic free roads through fruit orchards and vineyards. In addition to spectacular riding we can offer a custom made week long programme, specific to your needs, in a friendly and relaxed environment. The idea is to provide instruction, guidance and encouragement for riders of every level without the intimidating and overly competitive atmosphere often associated with training camps.
The grade 3-4 Fitness Weeks are designed for reasonably experienced cyclists with a decent level of fitness and stamina. Whilst the programmes are not extreme these weeks are not recommended for novice riders. Less experienced riders should consider our grade 2-3 alternatives. It is important to understand when reading the following example itinerary that each fitness week is tailored to the individual requirements of the group, so the itinerary for each fitness week will vary.


  • Spending your week in a period 16th century French house
  • Training on many of the climbs often used in Le Tour de France
  • Personalised training regime to suit your individual requirements by a ABBC qualified coach
  • Cycling through traffic free rolling countryside, experiencing the beauty and tranquility of rural France
  • Coming home to a home cooked feast every evening, freshly prepared by your coach’s wife, Toni
  • Sampling the delicious local wines of the region

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I learned an awful lot and Dave is very patient! The accommodation was amazing – full of character. We really felt like a part of the family for the week. Worth going for Toni’s cooking alone!

Emma, UK


Day 1
Arrival: Carcassonne
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Dinner

On arrival at the airport in Carcasonne airport (depending on your chosen departure date), you’ll be greeted by our training coach for the week, who will transfer us to his period 16th century house in Chalabre. The house is full of quirky nooks and crannies and is in fact a converted shoe factory.

Once we’ve unpacked and settled into our rooms we will gather together for our first evening meal of the week. Here we will have our first taste of the healthy, tasty training food made from local produce and prepared daily by our very own trained chef.

We will also have the opportunity to enjoy a glass or two of locally produced Midi-Pyrenees region wine, and a chance to get to know each other and chat about what might be in store for us in the week ahead.

Day 2
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

After a hearty breakfast, our coach will spend time with us showing us how to put together a specific and targeted yearly training plan, and how to break this down into monthly and weekly periods. Each training plan is designed with personal goals, targets, weaknesses and limiters in mind, with a view to demonstrating over the week how to put these training sessions into action.

Once the finer points of creating an annual training plan have been discussed, and how periodisation works, it will be time for our first taste of these French roads!

Our first ride will be an opportunity to see how to ride within the zones described in our training plans – for example a 2 hour ride in zone 3, developing our aerobic capacity and endurance, followed by a 1 hour ride in zone 2 for recovery and base training.

At the end of every day our coach will discuss with us the reasons behind the type of training we have covered, what systems the training develops, and how, when and why we would incorporate this type of training into our annual training plans. We will also be told how to recover, how to test for results and what results to expect.

Day 3
Long Distance Ride with Climbing
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Our second day in the saddle represents the first real challenge of our Pyrenees Fitness Week, as we will enjoy a medium paced 100km plus ride from our base at Chalabre to the summit of a Cat 2 climb, such as Col de Port for example. This ride will allow us to get used to spending long periods of time climbing in the saddle using moderate exertion, and a chance for our coach to advise us on our selection of gears, climbing technique and bike position.

At the summit of the climb there will be a short break for food and drink, and to chat through the finer points of descending a col. We will then descend before using the return leg to Chalabre to spin the legs in zone 2 and recover from climbing your our first French Col of the week. Once back at Chalabre, we will deservedly tuck into our delicious home cooked dinner, basking in the glory of our day’s achievements out in the Pyrenees.

Day 4
Recovery Ride
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

With any training plan, recovery is just as important as the training itself, as it gives the body an opportunity to adapt, replenish energy stores, flush out the lactic acid and repair damaged tissues. Without recovery, there can be no further training without risking illness or over training. With this in mind, we will enjoy a gentle paced recovery ride at an easy pace to the historic town of Carcassonne. This will give us an opportunity to take a more relaxed look at the vast and varied French countryside, and just enjoy being out on the bike. At Carcassonne we will have the opportunity to take in the beauty of this fortified town, sample local cuisine and tradition, before heading back to our base at Chalabre where we can relax and prepare ourselves mentally for the challenges that lay ahead for the rest of the week.

Day 5
Power, Recovery & Descending
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

As in Le Tour, a rest day is usually followed by what is referred to as a ‘selection’ stage. This is where the true contenders for the overall classification show their hand. For us, it will be a chance to ascend an ‘Hors Catégorie’ (beyond categorisation) climb.

Today’s ride will allow us to work on our power and recovery, as we climb our col, group size allowing, riders will be shown how to take it in turns to attack in short, sharp bursts off the front at high intensity exertion and then allow the group to swallow them back up. Whilst riding in the group, we will be riding at medium to moderate exertion level. We will take time to work on climbing position, pedalling technique, how to accelerate out of the saddle on a climb, and how to recover in the group.

After a fuel break at the summit, we will descend the mountain, with the intention of improving our technical ability and develop our descending skills, learning how to tuck into the aero position, brake for the corners, and then to attack out of them before returning to the tuck position.

Day 6
Pulling Everything Together
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Today we will have an opportunity to put into practice all the training methods we have learned so far and our final big day in the Midi-Pyrenees. Leaving our base at Chalabre, we will head out at a medium pace, past meadows and lakes before contending a light-hearted sprint. With the fun and games over, the serious business of tackling a col or two begins. Descending the other side will be the opportunity to use the knowledge and techniques from the previous day.

We will then ride our final climb as if we are setting the pace at the front of the peleton, attempting to drop all our nearest rivals, riding in zone 5, with the final km of the climb to be ridden as close to the maximum (or zone 6) as is sustainable. Once at the top, we will have time to eat, drink and recover, before being taken back to our base at Chalabre.

Day 7
Adaptation & Recovery
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Similar to riding day 3, today will be an opportunity for us to spin the effects of the weeks training sessions out of the legs and kick start our body’s adaptation and recovery processes. After our exertion on all of the climbs we’ve been treated to, we will be offered a leisurely recovery ride over some of the less challenging roads on offer in the Aude Departement. It will give us an opportunity to truly enjoy the picturesque French countryside without having to focus so much on the training specific elements of our trip, and also a chance to talk with our coach on the road about the finer points of the training sessions and techniques we have covered during our Pyrenees Fitness Week.

We will once again make a stop to sample some of the local cuisine and enjoy a glass of locally produced red wine before heading back to our base at Chalabre for an opportunity to wind down after our week of training, and sadly, start packing for our return home.

Day 8
Departure: Carcassonne
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

After our final home cooked breakfast of the week we will transfer back to Carcassonne airport (depending on your chosen departure) for the journey home, hopefully feeling fitter and stronger and brimming with confidence!

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The Cycling


Riding in the French Pyrenees is not without its challenges. Depending on group requirements our routes may include a number of significant cols and a fair amount of climbing, with steep and challenging sections. Road surfaces are generally good, however caution should be exercised, especially when descending, as occasional potholes and gravel patches do occur. Descents are as frequent and as long as the ascents and many feature tight bends and switchbacks.


Road Cycling Grade

Grade 3 - 4: Moderate/ Challenging

Distances between 50-75 miles / 80-120km per day

For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time

Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re an enthusiast. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cylo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols, or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dave was a great leader with lots of knowledge and experience. His enjoyment and enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone!

Suzanne, UK

Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a $250 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

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8 days
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Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin/double rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in First Aid

D) Assistance in establishing fitness goals and help with building training plans

E) Nutritional guidance, on and off the bike

F) Individual fitness assessment and coaching advice

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Carcassonne airport (CCF)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Carcassonne airport (CCF)

I) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en-route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday.

We ask that you fly into and return from Carcassonne (CCF).

All transfers will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedules. We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to make sure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.


For this trip we will stay in a period 16th century French house with twin share rooms. It is important to note that if you select the single room option this might be in apartment style accommodation, where you might share a bathroom and a communal relaxation area. It is possible to do a small amount of laundry on request. Wi-Fi is available.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to rent.

These bikes are typically Giant TCR or equivalent, great bikes with good quality components.

If you do decide to rent we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when booking.

If you ride with clip-in pedals please bring your own pedals along with you.

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