I went there not really knowing…..

…I didn’t do much research, apart from looking at the height of the top

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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… 😀

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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…

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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

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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!.

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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!

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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

 

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3 thoughts on “I went there not really knowing…..

  1. Pingback: Today I rode to work… | My Middle-aged Meanderings

  2. Great blog. I climbed Ventoux a couple of years ago. It was my first big venture into the famous Tour de France climbs, and all the reading, reasearch and psyching up can’t prepare you what it’s like. Great achievement!

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