Mont Ventoux and Alpe D'Huez Accommodation

by Tinternet_tim   February 12, 2014  

Evening,

Although I hate the phrase 'bucket list', I am looking to tick off a couple of cycling challenges this year, those being Alp D'Huez and Mont Ventoux.

Does anyone have any recommendations for accommodation near the 2 locations.
It is going to be a bit of a rushed trip as we plan to drive down and spend 3.5 days cycling before heading back so want accom near the base of the climb.

Mont Ventoux
I have search for similar forum post for accom and spotted one mentioning about staying in Veloventoux house is located in a village called Faucon (for MV), however we are thinking of staying a little close to the start of the climb and thinking of either Bedoin or Malaucene.
Does anyone have any recommendation in these areas. We aren't looking for anything really expensive or flash, just somewhere quiet with secure bike storage as we are taking our own bikes.

Alp D'Huez
The same requirement as MV in terms of price & bike security. Obviously staying in AD is an option, but as we are having a few days here, we thought it better to stay lower down the mountain so we only have to do the climb once.
Google has come up with a few options, but I was hoping for someones personal experience for a recommendation.

Also, those who have cycled both, how tough are the climbs. I managed honister last year with a head wind...it was tough at the top but just about managed. Are there any gradients similar or do the challenges come from the length of the climb?
I currently have Compact (50/34) with a 25-11 on the back. Are recommendations to keep to 25 or up it to 28 (would rather not due to additional expenses). I know this is very much down to the individuals preference, but I am just trying to get an idea.
Has anyone got any good links to GPS routes in the region of AD. We plan on doing the climb once but also spending a couple days cycling the lower slopes.

Thanks in advance for recommendation on accom and cycling the 2 summits
Tim

10 user comments

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I can help with the Alpe d'Huez leg anyway.

You should probably aim to stay in Le Bourg de Oisans, the town at the foot of Alpe d'Huez, and just a couple of k's from the start of the climb. The whole town is geared up for cycling!

For the last 2 years I have stayed at a superb family run b&b called 'Les Petite Sources', if you google it you'll find it no problem. Lovely hosts, totally set up for cyclists (last year they had added a new building for bike storage and cleaning) and great value. For 2 of us sharing a twin room it worked out around €50 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast. It's located on the outskirts of the town in a very quiet area, but a 3 minute ride to the Alpe.

The same folk return every year which speaks very highly of the place, and we ate there every night for the good food and company - typically french, all sat together at long tables. We've made some lifelong friends there.

In terms of the climb itself, it is of course a fairly relentless monster with the worst gradients coming right at the start, particularly the first 3 or 4 ramps. The gradient eases up quite a bit in the last third of the climb once you pass the village of Huez itself, so the key to climbing it well is not to go crazy at the start!

I was not in great shape the first year we went and I rode a 34x29 gear most of the way up. It is really hard to know what to tell someone else what they will need because we cannot judge your fitness and stamina. That's the thing with an alpine climb, it's the sheer length that can get get to you in the end, not necessarily the gradient. This year I was in a bit better form, but still used my 26 & 28 cogs more than anything else. It's probably not high enough for altitude to be a factor, but after an hour of climbing you will definitely want a gear you can spin easily so I would recommend you consider a 28 cog, as a back-up if nothing more. Given the added altitude of the Ventoux plus the wind factor, I would say that applies even more there.

I would urge you to spend as much time around Bourg as you can. From there you can access a huge range of classic Tour climbs by bike, such as the Croix du Fer, Col du Glandon, Les Deux Alpe, and if you are feeling strong a bit further out to the mighty Galibier (and Telegaph). There are also some very pretty but less known climbs such as the Col d'Ornon and the climb to the village of Oulles (not one for vertigo sufferers - no barriers!). That barely scratches the surface!

You won't need a GPS. When you get there go to the tourist information office, they have cycling guides giving suggested routes to all the climbs, plus ways of linking them up (ultimately to Le Marmotte if you're feeling crazy). They also contain distance and gradient info.

posted by sorebones [96 posts]
13th February 2014 - 0:01

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I have to agree with sorebones in regards to huez , I've ridden it a few times and I've had 11-25, 12-28 and even a 12-32 on the rear I climb everything by spinning and for me the 32 was the best option but I'm no racing snake and you have to remember alpine climbs are like nothing in the UK .

The ornon is also a lovely climb and you can really open up on the descent

As for bourg there are so many campsites etc you are actually spoiled for choice and any should be sufficient if all you want to do is cycle

posted by chiv30 [595 posts]
13th February 2014 - 7:16

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Something you can spin is better for the knees. As Sorebones says without knowing your weight, power output etc who can say, but given that you seem up for the challenge you must be in reasonable shape. If you're riding a compact a 28 on the back is about all you need. But as to whether you do 60 or 90 rpm is down to your fitness.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
13th February 2014 - 9:17

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I did the Ventoux and alpe d'Huez last summer riding compact with a 27 on the back. Sorebones' advice is pretty much spot on but i would absolutely insist that you do the col de sarenne decent (See pic). The ride between alpe d'Huez and sarenne is spectacular and so is the decent back to bourg, but you should take it very cautiously as there's nothing stopping you tumbling down the side the mountain.

If you've finished all the great tour climbs mentioned above and you have some time left, maybe try the old route up to les duex alpes. Its steep at the start, but your rewarded later with cliff edge roads with some great views. type the following into google maps and use street view: "Le Ponteil, Mont-de-Lans, Rhone-Alpes, France"

As for Ventoux, probably the best cycling experience I've ever had!. We stayed in Bedoin (apparently pronounced Bed-do-ahn [said quickly]) and camped in the playing fields. It was during the tour so we had few options available. Bedoin is a great little bustling village with plenty of restaurants, plenty of bars for post ride counselling, a huge market during the day and has a good bike orientated buzz about it, even after the tour moved on. More importantly its where the classic tour climb starts from and if you fancy it, you can descend dBuyown the northern side of the mountain and loop back round the west side of the mountain back to Bedoin. There is a camp site in bedoin, but you might have to look further out for an available B&B.

Points to consider
- The ascent on the lower parts of the climb can get hot. My Garmin registered 38 deg C for a few kms! I actually found it more comfortable with my helmet on to shield the sun!
- Must do the ascent from the south like they do on the tour. There are three ways up, try the others if you have time.
- Buy loads of Ventoux wine for post ride recovery moral boost and souvenirs. We found a few bottles for 2.50 Euros in the local supermarket.
- Make use of the chalet reynard and the cafe at the top of the mountain.
- visit the Tom Simpson memorial.
- Buy a fridge magnet on top of the mountain
- do a bit of research on the slope gradient of the climb. The middle sections get steep (average around 10+% for about 5km). Being aware of this helps and knowing it will get easier further up makes the climb a little less daunting than it already is!

photo.JPG photo1.JPG

posted by Scoob_84 [105 posts]
13th February 2014 - 11:43

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I've camped in Bedoin and Malaucene before, but would now go to VeloVentoux every time. The ride from Faucon to either of those is beautiful and a really nice warm-up for the main event!

posted by andyp [633 posts]
13th February 2014 - 16:02

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I should add that reading these posts is making me very envious. I'm not heading to the Alps this year due to the arrival of our first born, apparently going on my own isn't the done thing!

posted by sorebones [96 posts]
13th February 2014 - 16:42

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Andy is right, the ride from Faucon (VeloVentoux) is just about right to warm you up. And the village is pretty, with a good restaurant at the end of your evening stroll. The house has secure bike storage and excellent, if somewhat untidy, workshop facilities.

The ascent is not over-steep, just never ending. I rode it in early May and, although it was a balmy 14 degrees in the valley, the temperature at the top was barely above freezing with the wind howling around our ears. Have a good look at the weather forecast before you set off and carry a spare jacket just in case.

We saw some riders in short-sleeved jerseys and fingerless mitts and they were so cold they couldn't operate the brake levers on the descent. One or two were walking down the mountain because they couldn't trust themselves to get to the bottom safely, which is not the way to finish a memorable ride.

Best of luck.

Mike

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posted by mike the bike [98 posts]
13th February 2014 - 16:42

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I stayed in Borg d'osaint in a Chalet at the very bottom of the Alp D'Huez. About 10 seconds to the slope. With a few mates it was very nice, very secure and not too expensive. About £320 for the week, which I felt was ok, for the convenience at least. May of been less, I forget.

As for the climb, I did it on a lowest gear of 39-25 and it was killer especially in the heat. On a slightly cooler day I managed it in an hour. I would highly recommend a lower gear! Good luck! I want to do it again.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [112 posts]
14th February 2014 - 6:27

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Thanks to all of you for responses...and a big thanks to sorebones, scoob and mike for such informed and detailed responses...this is why I love this forum. Real advice from actual experience.

I have dropped a few of the place some of you recommend e-mails to see if they have availability, fingers crossed.
Just in case I get responses where they don't have availability, if anyone else has accom recommendations, then please keep them coming.

I like the idea of camping, but due to health problems it's probably not really an option at the moment....basic creature comfort are good Smile

Also thanks for the recommendations on gearing. I kind of know deep down that the larger the gear on the back the easier it will be as I will be able to spin. I am just trying to keep cost down a little. The plan is to get some serious hill session in around Crich, Belper and Wirksworth and make the decision a few weeks before heading down to france.

After reading your comments, I am really starting to look forward to it. Just been looking on youtube and there are some pretty cool vids and some crazy descents! As I descend like a "insert own analogy", think I'll make sure i have a new set of brake pads!

2014 Ride100 London Sportive
http://www.justgiving.com/Sponsor-Tim

posted by Tinternet_tim [73 posts]
14th February 2014 - 21:35

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Good luck with your trip. The funny thing is, these trips don't tick a box and allow you to move on, they are infectious and just make you want to go back!

posted by sorebones [96 posts]
14th February 2014 - 23:21

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