Ahhh. My. Ventoux. The big one! The one every serious cyclist aspires to climb! Or not! 😀
So – we had an early breakfast . .. all but Laurie, who did not sleep much due to her worsening head cold . . 😩. 8:00. The plan was to be off by 9:00. We were pretty close . . Headed off on the lawn towards the back gate. It was a pretty funny scene. The 7 of us in our bike gear, pumping up tires, adjusting mirrors, and getting ready to ride. Behind us, all the other hotel guests were having breakfast or a second cup of coffee at the tables all set up in front of the hotel . . . Wonder who was going to have a more active day . . . 😙
Off we went along the narrow roads around Pernes-la-Fontaine – across some dreadful gravel roads (Tom’s route . .) and then along the main road to Mazan. Six miles or so. And then it was another six miles to Bedouin, the town that sits at the base of Mt. Ventoux. This section was all gradual uphill. Cyndy wondered if her brake was rubbing as the pavement looked like it was heading down hill but it was NOT! 😩. I was thinking how wonderful it was going to be as we headed back to the hotel at the end of this major day of cycling . . 😀. Always a positive to consider as you ride along . .
Once we reached Bedouin, we knew we were in a major cyclist area! Large groups of cyclist, often going very fast. . (Unlike the Jojo). Usually dressed identically! Bright pinks and yellows. Aquas. Very colorful. All there to cycle up this famous mountain! Fun!
We stopped at a roadside cafe for an espresso – extra power to climb that hill! Then, we took off in groups. John left first but he got lost in very short time – so he joined Tom and Dave. The girls were relaxing and people watching. We did not plan to summit this mountain – but to climb up as far as we wanted just to get the flavor of cycling Mt Ventoux. Getting smarter in our old age. The word was that the entire distance to the top was 12 miles. Starting out at 5 to 6 percent gradient and quickly hitting 10 to 12 and literally staying that steep all the way up. No break from the relentless climbing. 😳
Finally, we headed off, out of town, following other cyclists who were clearly there for the same reason we were. It was really rather enjoyable knowing that there was no way we’d get ourselves to the top and that whenever our legs started to say, “no thank you,” that we’d head back down . .😀. Colette, Cyndy, and I just pedaled along at an easy pace – enjoying the scenery wondering how far we’d feel like going . . . All good!
So . .. the men . . Dave kept plugging along and plugging along . . Stopped a few times for water and food. There was a ski chalet around mile 8, where lots of people stop to catch a breath. He stopped there and then kept on going. Finally, his knee was really hurting and there were at least two miles to go to reach the summit and he decided that enough of this fun and games was enough. Maybe at age 73, he’s getting smarter . . 😀.
Tom and John rode to the top. They admitted that it was very hard . . . 😜
Meanwhile, Cyndy, Colette and I had turned around about a third of the way up that beast. It had started to reach 11- 12 percent and it wasn’t all that much fun anymore. We knew it would never get any easier . . . We could have slogged it out. But we knew we weren’t going to the top and we decided that going down might just be more fun . . Besides, there was shopping awaiting us! 😀. Loads of bike shops in Bédoin!
Cycling down was just an experience! The road was narrow. There were literally hundreds of bikers heading up. Some alone. Lots of groups. Other cyclists literally zooming down! Cars and motorcycles sharing the road. Sometimes there was hardly enough room for all of this activity . . 😢. It was nerve wrecking at times! We took our time and took lots of pictures. It was really fun.
We all met in Bédoin. John biked right through as he wanted to hook up with Laurie, who had spend the day back here – not feeling like she could tackle Mt. Ventoux. We had lunch and then spent an hour or so shopping for bike gear. We all need more cycling clothes . . 😏. It is fun to have something from each place we’ve biked . . At least that’s what we tell ourselves . . 😀
We’re now all cleaned up, done the laundry, and were waiting for dinner . . Eating here tonight as Saturday night they serve two different options We’ll see how that goes . .
Tomorrow we head to Gordes. Transfer day . . Then maybe another hike . Lots of biking . .