As with most great ideas, this one was born over a beer. Cycling buddy John and I were trying out a new micro-brewery in Nîmes last week and one of us brought up the idea of climbing Ventoux together. Up till that point I had not an ounce of desire to ascend that monster again this year, but since it was John and since I was drinking at the time, we agreed it might be nice thing to do.
And it was, believe it or not.
We ended up being a party of three, with John’s friend Mark joining us in Beaumes de Venise for our warm up. Here they are enjoying the wonderful paysage of Provence, and trying to avoid the sight of Ventoux straight ahead.
John, before the climb really started ramping up. How do I know this? No way I could ride and shoot at 10%!
I have to say that you never know how things are going to go on a ride like this. I haven’t done much more in the way of training than before, and I carbed up yesterday by drinking 750 ml of beer, with a two-glass-white-wine chaser, i.e. not very smart. Somehow though, I was full of energy and I never really hurt the whole way up. This, as you may remember, is in marked contrast to my last attempt at le Geant, where I met The Man With the Hammer somewhere up the hill from Malaucène. This time I felt strong and I had enormous (for me) amounts of stamina. If this is my peak, I hope I can hold on 3 more weeks till the Etape.
I am happy to report that I was only passed by these guys the whole way up.
A word on my fellow grimpeurs today. John, who has about 4500 fewer kilometers in his legs than me this year, finished right behind me, and Mark, who according to John has ridden even less, made it to the top in a respectable time as well. Hard men.
Click here for a YouTube playlist that Mark somehow had the energy to make.
It was blowing hard today and the wind was out of the north, which means frigid usually. We stayed up top till our teeth started chattering then descended down to Malaucène, on the north side.
Other than my personal best on the climb, I had my personal fastest on the descent, a wind-aided 79.3 kph. I had no idea I was going that fast till I glanced at the computer. I’m not sure it’s wise to be able to ride that fast on a bike.
The ride was not quite done when we hit the bottom of Ventoux, since the car was parked back in Beaumes. This meant another little climb…