And especially Pyrenees. Pros used to say the Pyrenees are challenging because the elevation differences are more important than the Alps, and there is no time to rest from one pass to the other. There is no wide flat-botommed valley like in the Alps, everywhere in the Pyrenees is "V"-shaped. And yes, the architecture, the gastronomy... they are unique ! I miss them..
Well, if there is also such good food, then it's a must. Though one important ride I really would like to return to is the route in Campo Imperatore in Italy. That 27km each way, I did twice in one day (54km of ascent), though as time has passed by I now actually wonder if I really did that twice in one day. Ah, the mists of time! No, I'm certain I did. But I guess the only way to be sure is to go and repeat it. I would like to do it 3x in one day. Surely no one has ever done that. The good thing is that the resort at the top has excellent pasta, so I can regain the lost calories after each circuit. Hmm, food for thought!
Food and mountain passes, you'll find that in the Pyrenees too. Look at that restaurant on top of Tourmalet ! On Col d'Aspin too there is the Payolle resort so you eat. And col d'Aubisque you get the Gourette resort. Ride the Pyrenees instead of riding 3 times where you've already been ! ;)
Please do ! Never imagined that a New-Yorker like you has been around here ! I had once started an area page about the Pyrenees but somehow postponed it while realizing how huge is the work and how little I know (by bike at least; while hiking significantly more). If you've got some material about your experience of 2005 I'd be very pleased !