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.
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.