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Video: Mike Cotty & The Col Collective take you up Mont Ventoux

"One word: unbelievable" says Cotty of iconic climb...

In their latest video, Mike Cotty and the Col Collective tackle one of the Tour de France's most feared climbs, Mont Ventoux.

Ventoux's raw numbers are bad enough, but what makes the windy mountain, in Cotty's words a "highly unpredictable monster" is the changeable weather.

From the start in Bédoin, the mountain's numbers look like this:

  • Length: 21.8km
  • Summit: 1,912m
  • Elevation gain: 1,629m
  • Average gradient: 7.4%
  • Max gradient: 12%

Before tackling Ventoux Cotty says he became obsessed with the weather report.

He writes: "I’d been checking the forecast continually, secretly praying to the weather gods to be kind to us, knowing that we only had one day to try and bring this mythical mountain to life.

"On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday torrential rain, near hurricane winds, thunder and lighting hammered the slopes of Ventoux.

"We arrived late on Wednesday night, I couldn’t sleep, nervous at what we may face the next day.

"I guess all my praying paid off as we were gifted with the best day I’ve ever seen on the mountain. Barely a breath of wind, the fresh smell of pine in the forest and high temperatures certainly helped get the legs spinning again but such is the history of Ventoux this is a climb that should never be taken lightly and needs full respect no matter what.

"A hard section through the forest from Saint-Estève to Chalet Reynard, barely dropping below 9% gradient, followed by a final six kilometres exposed to the elements and all whilst the summit overlooks one and all from high above.

"One word: unbelievable. Four words: you must ride it!"

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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