Friday, 15 June 2012

Mont Ventoux 3!

3 times to the top!
Mont Ventoux 3! Well, you just have to, don't you? If there's three ways up and you've done two, you've just got to do the third and final way up. Fortunately, although a long day, it's the easiest way up the mountain. Unfortunately not a great day for the weather. So far we've been lucky, with rain, wind and stormy weather during the night and late afternoon, but today started of dry but cold, with a keen wind. 15 miles from the campsite to Sault, through the little village of Flassan, and a pleasant climb over the Col de Notre Dame des Abeilles, and then on to Sault. Past the lavender fields, and time for a coffee before the start of the climb. It's a lovely climb up to Chalet Reynard, 7km from the summit,but the weather was looking grim and it was getting colder. On up the grey final ascent, which still hurts, no matter how many times you practise! A cold mist was engulfing the summit, and it was starting to rain. The photographers weren't plying their trade, they'd given up and gone home. There's no cafe on the top, but a shop selling souvenirs. So I could buy a plastic cup with my name on it, but nothing to put in it! Absolutely freezing, but thrilled to have finished the climb, and being photographed by a coach load of Japanese tourists!
Gorges des Nesques
I had to stop twice on the way back down to Chalet Reynard, to get feeling back into my fingers for braking! Finally at the cafe, it took me a good ten minutes before I could stop myself shaking and order a coffee and a crepe, which arrived in seconds, as the bar man explained he was experienced in speedy service to distressed cyclists. It was a good half an hour and another sugary crepe, before I could face venturing outside again. Some Dutch guys followed me of the summit, and I was staggered to see them order a celebratory drink of cold beer! A cold descent all the way directly to Bedoin, with weather deteriorating. I was surprised to see cyclists still starting the climb, but don't think many people got to summit later that day, as the rain came down, again. The following day was brighter but very windy. We felt fortunate that the weather had not really interfered with our plans, although the experience could have been warmer! Really chuffed that we'd managed to do all three ascents in four days!

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