In an effort to avoid the heat of the day, my brother David and I set off around 7am for the few miles over to Bedoin. A quick stop at the boulangerie for a freshly baked pain au raisin and we were on our way on the famous route from Bedoin to the Mont Ventoux summit. Bedoin is an excellent little town with lots to offer, a good place to make ‘your centre’.
Out of Bedoin the route is fairly flat with some minor drags for a few kilometres, but as soon as you hit the forested section, the road ramps up to 10% or so. I knew this was coming but I didn’t realise that this would remain a typical gradient for the next 12km or so. It is manageable at first but it does start to wear after a while. As the trees start to dwindle the flies arrive and cluster in their hundreds trying to make friends with you. My speed at this point was so slow I could not escape ! This combined with the sun climbing higher saps the energy.
Finally the road starts to ease, the flies disappear and Chalet Reynard comes into view around the corner. A much needed cafe au lait stop and we are on our way once more. Now its only 6 or 7 km to the summit, but we are fortunate with only light winds which are refreshing. The road still feels steep to tired legs, around 7-8% gradient. I have watched two or three stages of the Tour held on Mt Ventoux and the television coverage and speed of the riders makes the road look flat. It is anything but !
We pass Tommy Simpson’s memorial in the final kilometres and pay our respects and complete the steep approach to the weather station. This years Mt Ventoux souvenir cycling jersey is a little gaudy but does use the words ‘legendary climb’. I’d go along with that, it is a much tougher climb than I had anticipated with views to die for from the top. I have also ridden Alpe d’Huez a couple of times but it doesn’t compare with the Mt Ventoux climb.