Lyon to Ventoux
Start 10:00am End 2:00am – 16hrs ride time including breaks
3299m climbing – generally flat but a little jaunt up mount ventoux at the end
I surfaced at 8, staggered down for breakfast at 8:30. I was worried about looking weird being in grubby lycra, but there was no one else eating. I paid and got out the hotel by 9:30, got lost again getting back to my route, then stopped straight away on the river bank, sat on the river wall to apply sun screen and chamois cream
I. am. broken.
Yesterdays ride destroyed me. My right knee hurts, my right achillies feels broken. I am empty. (in hindsight, not eating enough did not help)
So I reconsider – my new plan was an easy ride south, just with a high cadence as I could no longer push a big gear due to my knee.
It was finally Monday so I found a Carefour after 30 mins for water and snacks (seemed to spend an hour there), then a McDonnalds again for a mcflurry, and big Mac meal and double coke. I started bumping into people, and realised I had ridden from the back through the field into mid pack.
I bought some nappy cream – that really saved my arse over the following days
Some one at the McDs mentioned ventoux tonight
But I am broken…..
As the day got on I felt better and better. Accross the river, then Ventoux appeared for the first time
A nice tailwind helped as I circled the bottom of ventoux, so did a pizza at 7pm, and an icecream. What to do? I was low on water, and felt really scummy. I found a water fountain in the village of caromb so filled bottles and the 2 spares in my jersey pockets, and had a quick wash…. I got to Bedoin at the base of Ventoux at 9:30pm. Campsite, hotel? I have nothing booked. Instead, I eat an enormous bowl of cherry icecream and up we go. In the dark
Image stolen from a better blog than mine
Fuck that was hard
Nice easy rhythm in my bottom gear, with occasional standing for 4 pedal strokes. 9%
Repeat for 16 k.
It was warm, calm, serene at the bottom
I had another interview with a guy on a Brompton, about night riding etc, then met the tcr Volvo heading the other way. They mentioned it was windy up top – that tailwind I had had for a day
It levelled off for a bit to 7% – that felt easy.
Then my crank fell off. Ok, it started clicking so I stopped and sorted it. Adjusting your bike as it slips backwards down the arnco was novel
Adjustments made it worse so stopped again
And again when I heard the wind howling through the last of the trees – Arm warmers, knee warmers, waterproof jacket, autumn gloves and on we go
It was Fucking windy!!
Only got half blown off once, but the switch backs into the wind, at 9% were a killer. Out of the saddle, max effort, 4 pedal stroke per white line, 68 lines up the incline to the hairpin then out of the wind again.
I set off at 9:45 and got to the top at 1:10. There was a bit of relief up the last stretch towards the radio tower, in moonlight. Parked up and popped into the red camper, with 2 mad, tired volunteers in it. Got my brevet card signed – I was 80th or so so was pleased by that. Swapped my jersey for a dry one then off for an easy decent (apart from the bike shaking due to me shivering) for 20k
Got to the bottom, and I found a field to sleep in, about 600m from a village – Sault, that had loads of riders in hotels in it
Thought of the day
This ride is total madness
It makes you do things you do not think you are capable of. You see someone in just as bad a state as you are still pushing on, so what excuse do you have?
It’s only 9:30 pm – its a bit early to stop. Let’s nip up a 1900m mountain
It’s only another 200k…
Day 1 was my longest ride ever, day 2 was longer. Day 3 finished off with the biggest climb I have ever done
You get the idea
I am loving it
I’ve seen sun rises, sun sets, and still I ride
I just hope the body survives
I can always back off a little if things get really bad
I think this is the new ironman…