I have fully recovered from my Transcontinental Race sickness (…well maybe not my disappointment, but physically recovered) so time to get back on the bike!
Yesterday, I took on the classic cycling challenge of climbing all three routes up the notorious Mont Ventoux in Provence, southern France in just one day. By climbing the mountain from Bedoin, Malaucene and Sault, all in a row, you can join the ‘Club des Cingles du Mont-Ventoux’. Approximately 134km and 4200m of climbing, you view the GPX file here.
Mont Ventoux is truly one of the great ‘classic climbs’, having featured in the Tour de France so many times. Famous for its barren landscape, unrelenting heat and often the wind!!
I would recommend starting early from Bédoin. I completed this challenge on a hot August day, so set off at 6 am in a bid to get at least one of the climbs ticked off before the main heat of the day kicked in. The route up from Bédoin is the ‘classic’ Tour de France climb. It’s 21.5km long with around 1610 metres of ascent. You can think of it in 3 parts…the first 6kms are relatively easy and offer a great warm-up. This is then followed by a pretty brutal 10km of steep twisty road up through the forest. You will then pop out at Chalet Reynard where there is a final 6 km of switchbacks up the unique lunar environment to the top. It can sometimes be pretty wind on this section, making it feel like a long slog.
From the top descend down to Malaucène ready for your second climb. The stats are similar to the classic Bédoin climb, 21km in distance and an ascent of 1570 metres. The toughest part of the climb is the middle section near the Mont Serein ski station, but its all pretty tough to be honest.
The third and final ascent is from Sault. This is a longer climb but a more genteel gradient and is often seen as the ‘easy’ option. It’s 26km with only 1220 metres of ascent gained. By this point in the day, I was very grateful for the gradient to allow me to spin rather than grind up the mountain. The road is also narrower and quieter, with few cars or cyclists.
I should also add there is also a 4th route up the mountain, which is for mountains bikes… just saying! 🙂
Feel free to ask me any questions, happy to help where I can.
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