Cycling Col du Pradel and Col du Marmare from Comus
This ride began in Comus, where I was staying at the family home of a friend and neighbor of mine from Boulder. Comus is situated in the Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon, region in the midi-Pyrenees. This little village is at 1240 meters of altitude and is bordered by the department of Ariège in the south-west.
We cycled to Ax-les-Thermes, where we had some errands to attend. Ax-les-Thermes is the starting point for Ax 3 Domaines, a ski station often used in the Tour de France. We will ride that another day.
We spend much of the ride on pretty remote roads, too small to attract the Tour. The upside to cycling not-famous roads is there is no traffic at all. Just us and the cows.
- The Col du Pradel starts in Niort de Sault and is 12.6km at 6.6%.
- Col du Chioula starts in Ax-les-Thermes and ascends 16.2 km at 4.5%.
Chances are you have never heard of these climbs – I had not before this day. Neither climb was hard and the riding was lovely.
To Ride or Not to Ride
If you happen to be in this area, especially if you find yourself based in Ax-les-Thermes, then this is a great route. While your first impulse may be to climb Ax 3 Domaines from Ax-les-Thermes, this is a much more interesting route. The roads are tiny, scenic, and quiet.
If you wish to add more to this route you can turn from the Pradel and climb the mighty Col de Pailhères, which is 18.6km at 6.9% from the Ax-les-Thermes side. We ride the Col de Pailhères twice from the other direction later in this trip, once during L’Ariégeoise XXL and once for fun.