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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-19-12, 04:12 AM   #1
1855Cru
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Ventoux has been mounted!!

Ever since I arrived in Provence, Mont Ventoux has been beckoning me to ride up her. No matter where you are in the area, she dominates the landscape. Although the peak is just 6,210ft, there are no other mountains close by that are within 4,000 ft of that so Ventoux looms large.
https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...14744818512978

There are 3 roads that access the mountain, one each from the towns of Sault, Bedoin and Malaucene. The climb from Sault is the easiest but the longest at 16.2 miles and an elevation gain of 4,002 ft. The Malaucene route is 13 miles and 5,151ft climbing and Bedoin, regarded as the hardest, is 13.4 miles and 5,282ft climbing. The Bedoin route is the one used in the Tour de France and is regarded by many to be one of the hardest if not the hardest used in the Tour. The reasons for this are not only the length and grade of the climb but also the weather conditions. At any of the starting points it can be very hot, often well into the 90's by mid morning and then there is the wind. Ventoux derives it's name from the french for windy and the wind almost always blows and blows hard. Wind speeds over 200mph have been recorded on the mountain and it blows at more than 56mph over 240 days in the year on average.

After a month of training on some of the local mountains, I decided it was time to give Ventoux a go. As I was going to cycle there from my house which is 26 miles away, I decided to try the Sault approach. It was a smart idea. The road to Sault from Menerbes is virtually all uphill save the last few miles, so by the time I had arrived in Sault 2.5 hrs after leaving home, I already had more than 3,200 ft of climbing!

After a swift breakfast and recharging of water bottles, I set off up the mountain. I will be writing a blog article of the adventure in the next day or two but essentially I made it to the summit in a shade over 3 hours with a few stops for photo ops and a café at the famous Chateau Reynard before the last brutal climb to the top. When I arrived at the summit I had cycled just over 44 miles and gained over 7,200ft!!

Here I am at the top! https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...14790408300146

After lunch I had a long but enjoyable ride home, arriving 10 hrs and almost 90 miles later, exhausted but elated. I plan to ride up one of the tougher routes next before tackling my ultimate challenge, attempting entry to the Club des Cinglès, which requires climbing Ventoux by all three routes in the same day!!! Stay tuned

For those interested, I'm currently 230# and rode my Cervelo R3 with compact 50/34 and an 11-28 cassette.
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Old 08-19-12, 04:26 AM   #2
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Nice write up!
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Old 08-19-12, 07:26 AM   #3
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I saw a video of a guy who did all 4 routes (apparently there is a dirt fire road too) on a fixie one day. That is one cool set of climbs. Glad your having fun over there, and bet you are glad you took your bike.

Now, how about some wine tasting notes!

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Old 08-19-12, 07:36 AM   #4
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That's awesome and a very nice write up as well. Wow, could you imagine doing the descent with a 200mph tail wind? Sign me up for that one! lol
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Old 08-19-12, 07:45 AM   #5
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That's simply amazing man!! great job.

It really does look like a moonscape as it is always described. Which of the 3 routes has the memorial to Tom Simpson?
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Old 08-19-12, 07:48 AM   #6
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That's awesome and a very nice write up as well. Wow, could you imagine doing the descent with a 200mph tail wind? Sign me up for that one! lol
I didnt mention the descent but it was a bit of a nightmare. The road was so bad, full of cracks, holes, ruts that it made for a very dangerous descent. Add to thatthe wind that was blowing across and it made things hairy. Normally I love to descend fast, frequently going more than 50mph but on this descent I really had to work the brakes and rarely got over 40mph. At times I was really concerned that I was going to break a spoke. By the end of the descent my hands an wrists were sore from having gripped the bars so firmly.

On a smooth road this would have been a phenomenally fun descent.
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Old 08-19-12, 08:01 AM   #7
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That's simply amazing man!! great job.

It really does look like a moonscape as it is always described. Which of the 3 routes has the memorial to Tom Simpson?
Paisan,

Both the Sault and the Bedoin routes share the same last 6 km of the climb from chateau Reynard. Tom Simpson died just a few hundred yards from the summit, I stopped at his memorial on the way down and took this pic. https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...35354444769586

Yes it is very much like a moonscape, very weird having climbed through a forest for nearly 20 km. Here are some pics from my ride that day.
https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...G3ka3s5KrzhAE#
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Old 08-19-12, 08:17 AM   #8
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There's the one picture with Ventoux looming waaaaay out in the distance. I'm just trying to think how It must have felt looking out and there's Ventoux staring down at you like a bully with their arms crossed just daring you to attempt it. Great pictures and again, great job man.
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Old 08-19-12, 09:04 AM   #9
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There's the one picture with Ventoux looming waaaaay out in the distance. I'm just trying to think how It must have felt looking out and there's Ventoux staring down at you like a bully with their arms crossed just daring you to attempt it. Great pictures and again, great job man.
Paisan,

She's been looking at me and I've been looking at her every day since I got here. You cant miss her as she dominates the skyline from anywhere in Provence. She's called the Giant of Provence for a reason
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Old 08-22-12, 07:58 AM   #10
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Allan, Thanks for posting about your ride. I spent some time reading your whole blog and looking at photos. Some day, I'd like to do the same. How did you choose the town you are staying, how did you find a place to live, and what is your book about? Thanks, and hope to read more.

Á bientôt!
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Old 08-22-12, 09:48 AM   #11
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Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-22-12, 10:07 AM   #12
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Allan, Thanks for posting about your ride. I spent some time reading your whole blog and looking at photos. Some day, I'd like to do the same. How did you choose the town you are staying, how did you find a place to live, and what is your book about? Thanks, and hope to read more.

Á bientôt!
Thanks! I knew I wanted to get away somewhere to finish writing the book and a friend of mine happened to have a house here that he was willing to rent to me so I just lucked out really.

I apologize for being very slack on the blog this month, I have been really in a groove writing and doing a lot of biking too and the blog has been ignored a bit. I actually have half a dozen articles half written for it so hopefully I can finish and post those soon.

I can say that I'm having an absolutely fantastic time over here and it is one of the best decisions I ever made.
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