As part of my training for a go at qualifying for the Clube des Cinglès later this month, I thought I'd try to climb Mont Ventoux again. This time I chose the route from Bedoin which is regarded as the hardest of the three routes up the mountain and is the one that they use on the Tour de France. Many regard it as the hardest on the Tour itself. All I know is it's BLOODY hard!!!
The gory details: 5,807ft climbing in 13.74 miles which is an average of 8%. I did it in 2hrs 30mins ride time. Total time for the ascent was about 3hrs 15mins which included a stop on the way up at Chalet Renard for some food and water refills. Like an idiot I had forgotten to bring any food with me so it was water only on the ride up.
It is a heck of a climb even on a benign weather day like this one which had hardly any wind and only modestly hot temps. The entrance to Bedoin is really cool, at the main roundabout before town there is a statue of a cyclist climbing the mountain and you can see the actual summit right behind it, it really gets you going and also tells you this town knows how to treat roadies Here's the view. https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...24105974080450
The parking lots were all full of cyclists getting ready to climb, I must say it was a cool feeling to be one of them. I got underway and the first 3 or 4 miles were pretty smooth sailing with modest grades of 4-5% max. Then the fun started. The next 6 miles were brutal with grades averaging 9-10% for the entire way. Grades never dipped below 7% and there were quite a few 12-18% kickers. It was relentless with very few places to stop lest you couldn't get underway again. It was a slooooooow grind, I was averaging 4.5-5mph the whole way and had to stop about 4 times. I finally got to Chalet Renard which is about 10 miles into the climb and stopped for about 30 mins to eat, drink and rest. When I got underway again the last 3-4 miles were also brutal. Although the grades were not quite as steep they still averaged 7-11% but the road is completely exposed to the elements and though it wasn't very windy that day it was getting quite warm. I had to stop twice on this last part but finally made it to the top.
Here I am at the summit https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...23998019709522
Here's the total ascent readout on my Garmin https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...24045588295234
After spending some time at the summit chatting with other cyclists and taking pictures I was off on the descent. This was a lot of fun!! Unlike the descent from the Sault side I did a few weeks ago this road was in very good condition and I cautiously bombed down in about 25 mins, now that I know the road better, next time will be a lot faster I'm sure
It was great riding back into Bedoin, people smiling and nodding at you because they know where you've been and what you have done. It was a priceless feeling. A really great but tough day. I'm not at all sure I'll be able to do the three ascents in one day but I'm going to give it my best shot!!
Here's my Garmin data from the ride. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220846290