I first climbed Ventoux (pronounced mon von two) in September of 2006 and at that time was with a couple of my regular riding buddies from Boise so for all intents and purposes, it was a bike race. As a result, I did not see much scenery and after it was over, the climb was all but a blur! By the way, my buddy Tommy won that bike race like he wins all uphill bike races. The finishing order was identical to our usual finishing order on the local Boise climb every Tuesday morning so why we had to race up Ventoux, I don’t know!
Today was different however, I had my camera and all day! The climb starts out fairly mellow for the first few kilometers, rolling through the vineyards and small villages outside of Bédoin.
About 2 kilometers in, you hit this corner and get your first view of the top…..the pain begins!
It is really difficult to pick up the true nature of the slope in photographs but I can tell you that it is steep, somewhere around 11 percent for quite a while. It is just relentless!
Soon, we were riding into some very sweet fall colors!
Then, they got sweeter!!!!!
Famous names on the road!
Famous team names on the road! This climb is one of the top competitive climbs in the world and has been climbed by every famous bike racer for the last 70 years. It is a historic place and you can feel it when you ride here. Remember Chris Froome hitting the camera bike and running up the mountain? That was somewhere about right here. Check out this link for more info on this mountain: https://www.bikeraceinfo.com/kom/europe/kom-france-mont-ventoux.html
Also not helpful are these road signs which tick down the kilometers to the top, also showing your current elevation.
Occasionally, the summit pops into view, still very far away!
Here, Rich is SMASHING the climb! Notice that he is peaking at the summit, if I had a thought bubble, it would be: “Rich smash climb, why summit get farther away???”
Oh, did I mention is was cold? We kept seeing signs that the road was closed at the Chalet but we got there and it seemed open to us, so we rolled on.
Occasionally, the clouds would roll in….now it was really cold!
Then the sun came back out! Notice the cloud deck below?
Then sure enough, these dudes were closing the gates and putting up a sign that said closed until May 5th.
Back down the hill and more photos of the foliage! You might notice that there are lots of photos of this adventure! Yes, I did enjoy the climb this time and although I came up a couple kilometers short of the summit, it was a good day!
Finally, one last rare image of your’s truly. Photo credit to Rich. Today, I was the winner of the George’s Master Cycling Team race to the finish!