Mont Ventoux next weekend

by al10587   May 12, 2013  

Hi there,

I'm going to be in Bedoin next weekend and early next week on a business trip and as luck would have it I've got a conveniently placed hotel bang on le route de mont ventoux, approx 22km from the summit!

Seems rude not to take my bike and I have a few days free, so I'm going to do a bit of riding and obviously attempting Ventoux.

Firstly, anyone else around there fancing joining me? I'm a track sprinter so by nature I'm not going to be setting any endurance records - I'll be going up there at a super slow pace.

Secondly, this is my first time up there so has anyone got any good tips in terms of preparation (gear, weather conditions etc)?

Look forward to your replies.

Alex

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Hi Alex,

I went up Ventoux (up from Bédoin and down to Sault) last Thursday. We then completed a loop from Sault around the Eastern side of the mountain. The ascent from Malaucène is only now open after they have cleared the grit and stones left bhind after the snow-melt.

I rode a compact 50/34 with 12/25 cassette. The first 5km of the ascent from Bédoin are quite friendly - so don't go off too fast! Wish I'd had a 27T though for the 10km forest section (average gradient 9% with very few flatter sections where you can recover). After Chalet Reynard, the last 6 km are very exposed to the elements but almost seem flat by comparison to the forest. That said, the weather station at the top never seems to be getting any closer...the last 500m-1km then get steeper again.

It was warm enough for shorts and short sleeves most of the way up, but I put arm warmers on for the last 6km after Chalet Reynard. I then wore a rain/wind jacket and gloves for the descent to Sault. Would probably have got away with a decent gilet and no gloves though. It was a little chilly at the summit and we were lucky that there was almost no wind up there, although the mist was coming in quite fast and we didn't hang around for too many photos. The next day was very different apparently - the Mistral was in full effect!

The descent into Sault is longer than the route back to Bédoin (26km v 21km) but is not steep - although the road surface is not the best.

It took me just over 2 hours to get up (with a 10 min stop at Chalet Reynard for a Coke and to refill water bottles and then a 5 minute stop to have a chat with Tom Simpson).

We stayed in Vaison la Romaine - about 20km north of Bédoin. Our route is here: http://app.strava.com/activities/53455009

Good luck - enjoy! I want to go again as soon as possible...!

Cheers

Jim

CommutesClubRunsandtheoddSportive

jsouthor's picture

posted by jsouthor [35 posts]
13th May 2013 - 7:11

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Sorry to hijack the thread, but I'm planning on riding up from Sault in the first week of June. I like the sound of the easier gradients from that side. What's the decent back down to Sault like? I've never descended off a mountain before and the rough surface you mention sounds a bit hairy.

posted by pjay [228 posts]
13th May 2013 - 9:30

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pjay...the surface isn't 'rough'. It's just not mirror-smooth. The descent to Sault is a nice fast one through the woods and into the lavender fields. Beautiful.

Alex - you'll have a great time. Just pack for all eventualities, it might be nearly June, but it's a mountain. Had heatstroke in May, and freezing cold fog in July when I've been out there. Take a windproof if nothing else, and some cash for coffees at Chalet Reynard on the way down.

Enjoy...and start planning your return Smile

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
13th May 2013 - 10:36

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Thanks Jim & Andy, appreciate the advice. Will definetly have a coffee or two on the way up or down, or both, that's a given!

As I'm around for a few days I might try two different routes up, one each day, depending how ruined I am after the first effort.

If anyone else is around there next Sunday (19th) & Monday then feel free to reply on here as I'd be happy to have some company on the ascent!

Cheers
Alex

posted by al10587 [3 posts]
13th May 2013 - 12:33

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Thanks for the advice Andy. I will take my Rapha wind jacket.

Is there only one way up from Sault? There seem to be several roads on Jim's Strava link. I have a Garmin 800 and would like to put the route in as I get lost very easily.

posted by pjay [228 posts]
13th May 2013 - 13:35

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Oh, if you can, you must ride more than once. Malaucene is *roughly* as hard as Bedoin but very different. The views are stunning. And there's a beautiful place to stop for coffees around 6km from the top...meadows nearby and a great view of the Alpes Maritimes in the distance. Lovely stuff.

OTOH if you have a bit more time, I'd ride Bedoin one day and the 'Tour du Ventoux' the next (approx 100km rolling circuit around the beastie, including the Gorge de la Nesque.)
Anti-clockwise best: Bedoin - Flassan - Villes sur Auzon - D942 Gorge de la Nesque - Sault - D942 towards Montbrun les Baines - D72 - D41 - Col des Aires - Col de Fantaube - D5 Mollans sur Ouvez (essential coffee & G&T stop on the bridge) - Entrechaux - Malaucene - Col de la Madeleine - Bedoin - Beer.

*very* jealous Smile

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
13th May 2013 - 13:35

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Just one pjay, you really can't go wrong. D164 out of town, up to Chalet Reynard, join Bedoin route (D974) when you can't go further on that road - follow to summit....reverse.

If in doubt, aim for the big lump of rock Wink

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
13th May 2013 - 13:38

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Thanks, Andy.

posted by pjay [228 posts]
13th May 2013 - 13:47

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My pleasure. Enjoy. It really is a phenomenal part of the world for riding. Planning my next trip right now Wink

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
13th May 2013 - 14:03

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For anyone whose interest is piqued by this thread - I've been out there quite a few times and cannot recommend Veloventoux highly enough.

http://www.veloventoux.com

And you *know* you want to have a go at this. All 3 climbs in a day? yes please.

http://www.clubcinglesventoux.org/en.html

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
13th May 2013 - 14:08

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Looking to attempt Ventoux in mid June. Keep us posted, would be good to know how you got on and pick up some tips.
Good luck

posted by johnmacster [2 posts]
17th May 2013 - 15:14

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Right then, first ride done today! I did the Route De MV, approx 21km. Took me 2 hours 10 mins, which considering I'm a track sprinter by trade I'm quite impressed with!

My bike is a Lemond Aple Dhuez with a 52/39 chainset and 12-27 cassette. Honestly, I found it to be a bit overgeared, didnt get me to a reasonable cadence on the steep bits by any means so I was having to stand and stomp way too much. I would definetly recommend a compact chainset and a 28t cog would have been nice too. I met a few cyclists on the way up and they were mostly riding triples if not compacts, so this would seem the way to go. One bloke had stuck his mountain bike gears on there and he was practically strolling up there, he could have been twirling a cane he made it look that easy!

Needless to stay the ride was stunning, views were incredible on the way up and down for the most part (summit was cloud covered when I was up there and for the first 7km of the descent) but I had a sunny ride up to the final 3km. One point - it's bloody cold at the top! I had a base layer, arm warmers and packable rain jacket which got added on as I went up. Going up was fine but coming back down I was very cold, though I did set off at 1430, not sure what the temps would be like on a slightly better day setting off in the morning. Weather was reasonable, but always expect cloud and wind/rain at the top. I was lucky to just get rain and cloud! Either way it's not warm up there, I personally will be much better prepared next time...tomorrow then when I try the other route up!

Hope this is of any use to anyone looking to do it for a first time.

Al

posted by al10587 [3 posts]
19th May 2013 - 18:19

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