|Its steep near the summit!|
After an overnight at Beaune just off the motorway, north of Lyons, in the Burgundy region, we made Bedouin, at the foot of Mont Ventoux, late afternoon, and even had time to stretch our legs on a brief cycle along the first section of the route up the mountain. On the way, we met Roland Hurtecant, who said he too was climbing the mountain tomorrow. He was 72, and it would be the 156th ascent on the bike. He was one of the pioneers, who encouraged a return to the love of cycling up this mountain, after a lull of six years following the death of Tom Simpson, during the Tour de France, when people shied away from attempting the climb. In recognition of his enthusiastic efforts to revive interest, he explained that there is a monument to all those ordinary humans who cycle the mountain, and he and several others names are listed on the monument. It seems he is also known as Monsieur Mont Ventoux! An extremely nice Belgian man! We said our farewells and hoped to see him tomorrow.
Back to the van for a pasta fill, but a rubbish night's sleep, with French disco music blaring from the site snack bar until 1am, to be followed by the local mutts barking loudly and setting each other off!
|Le Mont Ventoux|
The weather had been perfect so far, warm, cloudy, and still, with even a helpful wind near the top. Then the bad weather was on it's way, with cold mist swirling around the lunar landscape and weather station, emblematic of this mountain. Right near the top, a steep section right into a stiff wind, but then that was it- the summit, and it was brilliant. Just one stop at Chalet Reynard all the way up the 23k climb, and I'd felt great, finally starting to see what this cycling thing is all about! Ian ascended in an excellent 1hour47mins, with me nearly one hour later! Next time, no stopping at the Chalet! But that's for next year, Then a chilly cycle down to Malaucene on the far side of Ventoux, and a delightful climb through vineyards, peach orchards and almond groves, to the top of Col de Madeleine, and then all the way down to Bedouin. An absolutely stunning journey off, ending with a pizza and a couple of beers in a bar in the village. 36 miles, 6000ft ish ascent, 4hrs 25mins in the saddle, and a stiff back! But well worth it!
By mid afternoon, the weather had deteriorated to a full-blown thunderstorm and heavy rain, so time for a rest!