Five of us braved the threats of the french strikes, which proved to be a total canard, and rode 300 kilometers over five days during the last week of October and first days of November. We logged our longest day with a summit ride over Mt. Ventoux in stunningly clear and cool weather. Our day began in Séguret about ten. We road into Beaumes de Venise and began our climb to Suzette, taking the right to Le Barroux (hopefully the new home base of CycleVentoux, but more on that soon).
From Le Barroux we took the road towards Malaucène and then the right to Bédoin. At 11:30 a café stop for an espresso and to refill our water bottles. We asked ourselves if we were up for Ventoux, and all enthusiastically (privately probably dreading it!) gave the thumbs up. We began the southern approach, climbing out of the town of Bédoin and through the vineyards of the lower slopes of Ventoux. Through the first switchbacks we headed into the woods for the unrelenting climb. I was very disheartened to see the dreaded “col fermé” sign. We all agreed to ride as far as we could, assuming we could make it to Chalet Reynard for lunch and then a detour to Sault if the summit was truly unpassable. We each fell into a quiet rythm, passing some riders and being passed by some serious climbers riding at a very challenging pace – humbling.
Chalet Reynard was a welcome site. We had an omelette and salad lunch and numerous carafes of water. We watched as several riders came down from the direction of the summit and surmised the summit closure signs were aimed at car traffic. We hit the restroom before starting up into the open switchbacks of the upper exposed stone slopes. The summit tower soon was in view. Digging deep, we all stepped up the pace to cross the top. The summit had a glaze of ice on the road and we gingerly tested the brakes as we started down the exposed northern switchbacks. It was still clear but frigid and I wished I had full gloves, as I alternated tucking a hand into the pit of my arms. Being the north side, we rode in and out of the sun relishing the sunny interludes and dreading the colder, shaded ones. We descended into Malaucène, refilling our water bottles in the town’s public fountain before heading towards Entrechaux. The long, fast flats were truly appreciated after accomplishing Ventoux. We returned to Séguret by four, logging six extremely satisfying hours in the saddle and launched into dinner preparations. A perfect ride to end the 2010 season.