Club Cingles - any advice for the day?

by Colin Peyresourde   May 21, 2014  

I'm heading off to do the triple ascent of Mont Ventoux in just over a week. I feel that I'm in good shape and my previous experiences with long mountain rides suggests that I can do it. The Ventoux is a very different beast though with a massive difference between the start and the top, giving rise to problems of heat (at the bottom) and wind (at the top).

I'm aware that the best approach is Bedoin, Malaucene and then Sault (hardest to easiest routes), and that it's best to start out early so that you can avoid the heat of the day for the last ascent. To that end I will likely take a fair few hydration tablets and make sure I take on plenty of fluid.

I will also take arm warmers for the summit/descent. But I was wondering if there were any other tips people have for
tackling the challenge (and before you get there, no Boris bikes and no Choppers). Where are the best places to get water? Any mistakes to avoid?

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Fantastic Smile

I've done Malaucene-Bedoi-Sault both times I've attempted it (one DNF with heatstroke and one success). I'd rather ease into it that way than hit Bedoin from the outset. But there's not a great difference between the two.

Heat of the day for Sault really shouldn't be much of an issue. It's nice and steady, it's well-shaded. You want to avoid it on the second one more than anything else...the forest section of Bedoin is just stifling.

Obviously...pace is key. Break it up into 6 sections mentally - Bedoin to Chalet Reynard, CR to summit, Malaucene to Chalet Liotard, CL to summit, Sault to CR, CR to summit. Makes it mentally easier than 3 'longer climbs'.

CR and CL are great places to stop and eat/drink/fill bottles. Even if CR is shut depending on the time you reach it, there is a tap outside.

There's also a little shop at the top for food/drink. They sell beer, which is critical for that third summit Smile

Try to use real food where possible... apparently the best way to do it is to get two climbs in and have a colossal feed at CR on the second descent, so that you're fuelled up for the third. Sault is easier, both on paper and on the road...but don't underestimate it at the end of all that!

Finally...enjoy, get your stamps and look forward to receiving your certificate from M. Pic.

chapeau in advance Smile


posted by andyp [1368 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 9:18


Windproof gilet? The tales of people shivering so much they think they're going to lose control at speed on the descents has to be at least as risky as the other hazards.

Stretching exercises for the upper body perhaps - I'm thinking about shoulder tension from long periods descending.

Sounds awesome - good luck.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3704 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 9:29


Good shout on the gilet and good to know about the water stops.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1574 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 20:07


The weather is the main issue with it.

I have ridden Ventoux many times and done the Cingles just the once (although I do plan on doing the Ventoux Masters in the near-ish future), and either the wind or snow or heat have been the main battle of the day.

Start reasonably early, I started at about 8am, but have experienced people starting at 5am to get ahead of the weather, only to be so cold that it caused them to stop before the final ascent.

You're going to have to ride through the mid-day heat anyway, so no need to get off too early.

Pace is obviously critical, but if you have trained then you know your pace anyway.

Water is available from Chalet Reynard on the Bedoin/Sault ascent and Chalet Liotard from Maulacene, but both are within 6km of the top, and there is a snack and gift shop at the top that is open during usual shop hours.

I rode Bedoin, Maulacene then Sault, but always remember that although Sault is fairly easy, the last 6km from Chalet Reynard are an unwelcome effort at the end, so try to save a little, as the wind will probably be up by the time you get there on the final climb.

Also worth having a decent breather at the top before the last descent, as that is down the Bedoin route, and is by far the best decent so worth being in a state to enjoy it.

Food in Chalet Reynard is good, but I stopped for a feed in Sault before the final climb, and just snacked on the other two climbs.

Any of the hotels and bars will stamp your carnet, so don't worry about waiting until the Tourist Office opens.

It is a brilliant day out, I loved every second!

Edit to add #3055

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [690 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 11:03


Thanks for advice guys.

I attach my Strava details below. It was epic, but well worth it.

By an amazing stroke of coincidence I met a friend of mine in Chalet Reynard on my second assent. He gave me some great words of encouragement and set me on my way. Just what I needed, as my ride partner had fallen sick and so I had to do it alone.


posted by Colin Peyresourde [1574 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 10:23


Super stuff. Overall pace must have been healthy, judging from your average. Have you got a stamped card then?

Is there a cingles emblem? For something that so few people have done (climbing everest is so common, but not this), you need a tattoo on your calf...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3704 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 11:12


I had contemplated it. But there is just so much for a tattooist to get wrong Wink

posted by andyp [1368 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:33


I've never had a tattoo, primarily because there is nothing that I'd still want etched onto me 40 years from now. That, however, would qualify.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3704 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:45


Chapeau Applause . I've been contemplating attempting this next year, so your Strava details were very helpful - now have an idea of what I'll be facing.

posted by allezrider [91 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 15:40


I'm all set for doing it in August, a little worried about the heat, but plenty of hydration tablets and pacing it should be ok.
Good luck Colin

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

zzgavin's picture

posted by zzgavin [208 posts]
4th June 2014 - 22:55


did the Cingles Tuesday last week
problem wasn't the heat but the cold especially on the first ascent. Left Bedoin at about 8.30 and entered the cloud and the wind as soon as we left Chalet Reynard. I was so frozen by the time I got to the summit I couldn't talk as my mouth was frozen and couldn't unpeal a banana because my hands were ice blocks. Lets just say the descent to Malaucene was interesting. I only had a rain jacket on for that descent. For the next two I got a gillet, arm warmers and leg warmers out of the support van but was still shivering uncontrollably on the descents.
As well as bars and gels while ascending I had a quiche in Malaucene and hoovered a massive slab of lasagna in Sault - I need real food as well
Took it real easy all day, never pushed it anywhere near the red line and while the ascents all took more than 2 hours I finished it feeling quite okay
Well worth doing and the adverse weather only made it more memorable - at least it wasn't raining. Of course the next day it was clear as a bell and the temperature was in the teens (celcius) at the top.

posted by Hymie [1 posts]
5th June 2014 - 0:49


I had good weather for it. Low twenties and not too much wind. It did look to threaten a bit of rain, but nothing transpired. I wore a short sleeve top, but packed a gilet, arm warmers and full-finger gloves for the descents. You will always get cold at the top and sweaty on the way up.

Hydration tablets were good for me. I had a twinge of cramp as I got to Sault, but a croque monsieur saw me through. For me, I would do the ascent from Bedoin early because going through the forest when it is cooler is better. Also, the ascent from Malaucene will always be slightly shaded as it sits partially on the North Face. I did mine on a Monday and there seem to be a thriving market in Bedoin town which made the practicalities of eating and drinking with a bike a bit harder.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1574 posts]
5th June 2014 - 9:33

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