…I didn’t do much research, apart from looking at the height of the top
My thoughts were, it’s just a hill…it’ll be fine…I can do hills…we live in Dorset…we’ve got hills!
And do you know what… I can do hills 😀 (& continental hills are not that bad really) – not when you ride them like me anyway!
So, mid-May saw 18 of us heading towards the village of Bedoin in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of south-eastern France to ride up Mont Ventoux – at a mere 1911m high & famous because of Le Tour de France.
Also famous because it is where Britain’s professional cyclist Tommy Simpson died in 1967. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Tom_Simpson there is a memorial on the mountain, but I didn’t visit…. Couldn’t have stopped if I’d wanted to…would never have got going again and I was so close to the top 🙂
It’s uphill all the way – I know it’s a bizarre thing to say, but with this ascent from Bedoin, it’s just steady all the way (a few days later we rode up from Sault & there are flat bits and even a downhill stretch)
I set off a bit quicker than I would normally do, but everyone was phaffing & I just wanted to get going – I soon calmed down and settled into my plod – lowest gear – keep the pedals turning – don’t look up – just keep going
Don’t laugh – it works for me – the not uber-fit super human.
The boys shot off – did I mention one of our party was a GB athlete?
It was a beautiful day – warm & barely any wind. It made for a hot start & every piece of shade was a blessing. I’m grateful for the company of Ian whilst riding through the forest section – he had the patience of a saint to just keep me chatting & plodding away. We met a walker – took ages to overtake him this gave Ian plenty of time to explain the life-cycle of the cuckoo (which we’d just heard) to this poor unsuspecting German (I think that’s what he said – I was a bit behind when they were introducing themselves) – all credit to both gentlemen, Ian for explaining in several ways and for the walker who politely listened and responded 😀
FINALLY I managed to overtake – it was getting embarrassing ….
We met Nancy who was taking a gel break – she needed a bit of a push-off from Ian & Dave (who’d rocked up to see where I was) I kept plodding by!
I stopped at some point – needed some energy – can’t remember when that was, though I think it was before café Reynard which is about 6k from the top…. Pretty sure Nancy had passed me again by then!
At café Reynard I didn’t stop – I needed to keep going – the last bit is horrid – it’s very exposed & there’s no getting away from the fact that you can pretty much always see the top – I don’t like to see the summit – it messes with your head …. And it did…. I began to wonder if I could achieve it.
I lost Ian at Café Reynard – he stopped to see if Nancy & Maneerat were ok (I think Nancy was a bit wobbly) I’d picked up Dave again by now & he kindly rode with me the rest of the way – I think he’d already made it up to the top – and came back for me…I know …aww… 😀
A load of people who’d already made it, were heading down to round up us stragglers – the group photo at the summit was important….
I smiled for the various photographers plying their trade at various points…
Then….well I’m not sure what happened – I suppose I panicked – I looked up – and had to stop – there’s a view point – probably 500 meters from the top (I know)…. I couldn’t go any further – I was shaking and I just looked up & thought – I can’t do this… how stupid…. But I really couldn’t make my legs work…all my muscles were twitching
Dave was FAB – I could hear people calling my name, I couldn’t see them – it’s a bit busy up there! Anyhoo, I had a Power Bar wafer & had some drink (pretended to look at the view) and then got back on the bike.
I swear that last 500 meters or so, were the hardest. But I did it – bloody hell – I DID IT
It was quite emotional – thank God for Dave – he’s always there when I need a hug – and boy, did I need a hug xxx
Group picture – achieved once Van managed to catch us up – Unfortunately Tracey’s knee wouldn’t let her get past 6½ miles. So Van went back to the campsite with her & then came up. All credit to him as it wasn’t too much longer after me!.
The walker came up, probably ¾-1 hour after me & came over & shook Ian’s & my hand – which was kind – obviously provided him with enough ‘in-flight’ entertainment to get him to the top!
I love the downhill bits – it’s the only reason to go. Photo taken & it was down to Malecene & back to the campsite….
We had another 3 days to fill – one thing I knew for certain – day 2 wouldn’t involve a bike for me – I was off to Avignon to look at the bridge & Papal Palace – I’ve not quite entered the world yet – I still have to do ‘normal’ stuff as well!!
The others, well…. they were riding up 3 times in one day…
I know…. 😀 😀 😀 bonkers xxxx