Its Sunday- So it must be Ventoux. Pity I did not pick a campsite nearer to the Mountain but It was only 60 miles away. Did not get away too early- around 10 am after a breakfast of Croissants and bread and anything else I could put away that was not nailed down. I had decided that I would do the easy route from Malaucen as it had a steady climb that averaged out at 7.5% for 21 kms as opposed to starting at Bedoin that had an average of 7.5% for 21 kms. My main problem was that my wife and daughter and her Fiancé would have to do something for the hours before they would travel up the hill to meet me somewhere near the top. I can assure you that Malaucen has plenty for the tourist to look at so if you have this problem of non-biking people- leave them here- preferably without a credit card.
Took the Camelback filled with energy drink and a Bottle of pure water. Also took a couple of granola bars- but gave up on these after the first one- and 3 gel packs. 12 a.m. and I was on my way. Noted the number of riders in the town as I left- Literally hundreds and I could not tell if they were on the way up or down. Either they were slow riders leaving after me or they had already done the ride. Stopped about 200 yards into the ride for the Sign telling me how high and how far and then on again. This was not too bad. Gentle easing into the hill and there was even a café after about a mile where I could have got a drink- but it was a bit early. Then just after the café it started. 9% and continual. The road itself though was very good tarmac and the right hand 4-ft of the road was cordoned off as cycle track. No need to worry about the cars coming up or the plenty of big Motorbikes racing----And I do mean that---Racing up the hill in excess of 100 mph on the straight bits. The cars that were going up were in the main just tourists going to the top of the mountain. Plod on and the only time I came across bikes was when they passed me- going downhill and there were plenty of them. I was riding head down and all I heard was the Squish of the tyres as they went down at around 40 to 50 mph. At 8 Kms-I stopped for a granola bar and that was the only one I took- they are not for me- very dry and crunchy and difficult to swallow. Took one of the gel packs though and carried on up. At around 10K I had a rider come past me. She was Dutch on a lightweight Hybrid-with mudguards and boy was she spinning. I reckon she had a 20t front sprocket and a 34 rear. She stopped to meet her Husband who was in the car and he proudly told me that he did not ride a bike- He had more sense. Especially if it involved travelling all over Europe-which he did not mind- to find bloo*y great big mountains to go up. He took a photo of me with my camera for me, as this was one of the Viewpoints for the tourists. I also took the Time to put on a Bandanna as the temp was bout 85 F and sweat was running into my eyes. That cured the problem but I paid for it, as I now had to restart on a 9% that was going to get steeper.
Ok plod on and I have to admit that for the next Few K’s it was just a turn of the pedals. I was beginning to think that 20/34 would have been a good idea and found I still had another gear. Somehow-the cable had loosened and I was not in the 28 I had put on at the rear. Quick turn of the cable and I was comfortable- I nearly said Flying but I don’t think that was possible on this ride. Carry on and just as I Saw the Café at Mt Serein- the wife passed me in the car. She got a couple of photos that are here and she stopped at the café- By the time I met her- I had the helmet and Goggles off and the camera was already to pass over to her. I felt that at 5 mph- I could take a couple of chances and lose the weight of them. Kept the Bandanna though, as it was still hot.
Just after the café the wife passed me and she said that she had stopped for a loo stop and most of the riders there had just ridden from the bottom and were turning round here. She also warned me of Fog on the Mountain. Lots had warned her of that. There was fog- and it got thicker the higher I went- Obviously cloud but When I met the wife at 18K and took a couple of cakes and had another gel pack- She said the fog was getting too thick to drive- She drove on for another 1 K or so and stopped- I could not see across the road and all the cars coming down were warning me to turn round. No way- I may not have been able to see safely if something came down fast but all the time I could turn the legs I was going on. Turning the legs was not a problem but Boy was I getting hot. I finished the Camelback and still felt hot- Took the water bottle and poured it over the head. That woke me up and gave me a bit of life. Then I realised that I was going downhill. I had reached the top and did not realise it. Then I saw a building but just my luck- it was closed. No coffee at the top. Then I started Feeling cold. A wind had come up and as soon as I stopped- the sweat, and the water bottle, took all my body warmth away. On with the Pertex and start on the way down. Another rider appeared and he was on his way down. I had reached the top and the Café was a bit further down the track. I could not be bothered though as I had made it and the wife was waiting for me. I went back to the car without the computer, as I wanted to take a photo of the time. No helmet- No glasses and only a thin Pertex. I went slowly and by the time I got to the car- I was frozen. The temp on the car said 5 deg C- just on about 40 f. Bit different to the 85 at the bottom but I did not care.
Still waiting for better pics but some are attched. As you approach Ventoux, even from miles away- It stands out. Yes-- Its the one with the cloud over the top. As you can see from the attachment- Malaucen is Cyclist mad and if you have non cycling companions- Is ideal for them from a tourist and sight seeing point of view.