London cyclist has become just the 13th Briton – and the oldest among them – to complete a challenge to ride up and down Mont Ventoux six times, greater than the height of Mount Everest.
Entrepreneur Chris Ward, who turned 50 in June, undertook the mammoth ride in memory of his father and to raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society charity.
Chris is the 97th person to complete the Bicinglette challenge set by the Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux – literally, the Mont Ventoux Loonies Club.
Here’s a short film of his efforts – it does contain some swearing, so it’s probably best not to have the speakers on if you’re watching it in public. He’s also posted data of the ride, in September 12, to Strava, although his battery ran out prior to the sixth ascent.
On his website, Chris posted the Monday after completing the challenge: “Well I managed it. Much of that was because my wife Helen followed me up in a car from the bottom for the last ascent, starting at 11pm!
“And the only reason I started the sixth was because of all the support - much from total strangers – but fellow cyclists! – that I was getting through social media. Thanks very much.”
It’s far from the first cycling challenge he has set himself – others include riding the entire route of last year’s 100th edition of the Tour de France, where Chris Froome won on the Ventoux to help seal his overall victory.
While the total height gain during the ride was greater than the height of the world’s tallest mountain, it doesn’t qualify as an official Everesting ride because it did not stick to the same climbs and ascents each time.
There are three separate routes to the summit of Mont Ventoux, last year our own Vecchiojo wrote about riding all thee in a day – from Bédoin, Malaucène and Sault, the latter joining the Bédoin at Chalet Reynard, where the trees give way to the lunar landscape the mountain is famous for and Chris rode all three, as required by the rules.
He would have had to go some to break the record for the most ascents in 24 hours, though – set in 2006, that is held by Jean-Pascal Roux and stands at 11, all of them made from his home village, Bédoin.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.