Our first day in Carpentras in the region of Provence saw us tackle what many say is the hardest of the classical Tour de france climbs – Mont Ventoux. Our leader, Andrew, said it would be the toughest climb that we will do and he wasn’t wrong. 21 kilometers of climbing to 1,912 meters elevation with an average gradient of 7.5% (but many sharper pinches), I found it tough going but made it to the top to get the prized photo under the sign. My Garmin tells me we did 90 klms that day in 5 hours riding time, so it wasn’t as long as the Col du Torbalaine day, but it was certainly a tougher climb. My average cadence was 59, average heart rate 115 and average speed 17.8 klms/hr.
Mont Ventoux has featured many times in the Tour de France, most recently last year when the Tour winner, Chris Froome, crashed into a camera motorbike which had been stopped by out of control spectators and was forced to run up the mountain with his bike until he could obtain a replacement bike. Fifty years ago, English cyclist Tom Simpson died ascending the mountain from a combination of heat exhaustion and drugs.
Not many photos today, but I hope the video will give you an idea of what the climb and descent was like.