Thursday, October 25, 2012



What comes to mind when we hear the words, Mont Ventoux? For many of us, it is the Tour de France - the world's premier bicycle race: twenty-one tough days of competition with cyclists from all over the globe. The multiple stages cover approximately 3,200 kilometres. The finish line is always in Paris. One of the most gruelling stages is the ride up Mont Ventoux. Mont Ventoux (MV) has been a stage 14 times since 1951. We did it by car, from both approaches.

Every day during the first two weeks of October we would see MV from the house we were sharing with friends in Vaison-la-Romaine.

The peak looks snow-capped all year round but this is an illusion from afar. The top of the mountain is bare limestone. 

Mont Ventoux is on the Western periphery of the Alps. The Dentelles des Monmirail (October 21 blog posting) would be on the western tip of the alps. MV appears all alone on the horizon for miles. It is situated in the Vaucluse, in the northwest corner of Provence between the cities of Carpentras, Vaison-la-Romaine and Avignon.

We drove up to the peak twice in good weather. The views were stunning. T-shirt temperature in the valley below but sweater temperature at the peak. Expect strong winds.

the cyclist below is approaching the final hairpin before the summit 

he just cycled through this

Below we see our cyclist who has just got off his bike, but his mate on the left is fatigued.

Now check out the white haired dude who just came up the south side 
(looks a little like my friend Henry, back home)

He casually rides to the summit in high gear.

And he is not even looking tired - like ride in the park!

Some guys ride up in style.

Me, I am out of training and now just like to watch.

Over my left shoulder is Mt Blanc, 15,781 feet high - the highest mountain in the Alps. It is about 360 km away, or say, 225 miles. With a real long lens I could probably see the peak from where I am standing, which is pretty much at the top of Mount Ventoux at 6,272 feet in elevation. 

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