October 01, 2006


I thought that when I returned from my trip to France that I'd pull out my journal from the trip and blog about anything and everything. But now that I'm home, I'm tired, and there's so much to say that I realize this is a situation where less is more. So I'll just skip right to the highlight of the trip...the day I did my first century ride that included climbing Mt. Ventoux. When I woke up that morning, my goal was just to ride to Mt. Ventoux, climb it, and ride home. The catch is that I had no idea it would involve 100 miles of riding (which also included a Cat 2 climb in addition to Mt. Ventoux). Just as a side note, it turns out there is no such thing as a "flat road" in Provence...you're either climbing or descending...there's nothing in between - and oftentimes, those climbs are many miles long. Riding to Ventoux and climbing it was amazing. Riding home sucked. And while that day was definitely the highlight of my riding career so far, I paid the price for it for the remainder of the trip.

There are 3 routes up Mt. Ventoux - I rode the "easiest" one (up the east side of the mountain from the City of Sault). It's a 26 km climb that rises about 1220 meters. Pete rode with me and photographed my ascent and then he later climbed Mt. Ventoux via the most difficult route - the Tour de France route. The last 6 km of the route I did is the same as the Tour route...and it's steep.

Instead of giving all of the grueling details, I'll just provide some stats from the big day and the link to the pictures for anyone who's interested in seeing them.

  • Number of Category 2 climbs: 1
  • Number of Hors cat├ęgorie climbs: 1
  • Miles ridden on the way to Ventoux before starting the ascent: approximately 40
  • Number of other cyclists climbing Ventoux on mountain bikes: a lot (most)
  • Number of men climbing Ventoux: a lot
  • Number of women climbing Ventoux: about 3 (including me)
  • Number of cyclists I passed on the way up Ventoux: 11 (10 men, 1 woman)
  • Number of cyclists that passed me: 0 (unless you include Pete)
  • Best guess at my average speed during the ascent: 7 mph
  • Lowest speed I saw on my computer during the ascent: 4.9 mph
  • Total miles ridden: 100
  • Total time in the saddle: 7 hrs, 54 minutes (ouch)
  • Total food intake along the way: 5 GUs, 1 bottle of GU2O, 3 bottles of water, 1 almond pastry, 1 espresso, 1 coke, 1 piece of bread
Photos of the big day are located here.

When Pete climbed the Tour route later in the week, I think he climbed it in around 1 hr and 15 minutes (I believe the record was set by Iban Mayo and is somewhere around 55 minutes). That was the other highlight of the trip...watching Pete get to do something he's wanted to do since he was a kid.

It was a really fun trip filled with beautiful scenery, delicious food, wonderful wine, and great riding.

And now it's time for my rest month.

Special thanks to Chadley for updating my blog while I was gone!


Justin said...

Congrats on the Century ride! Amazing photos that really gave you a sense of the challenge you faced. Cool.

I'm about to do my first century during a MS150 bike ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, TX but my course is relatively flat! ;-)

StevenCX said...

Awesome pics! I'm so jealous. It's been too long since I've been to France.

Skibby said...

Wow! Way cool, you look so Pro!

Anonymous said...

I guess a cyclists version of a marathon.

karla said...

That's awesome Strats - cool pics too. It must be weird to be back here where you can ride for MILES without encountering a legit hill.

MommaMissy said...

Way to go and welcome back. Awesome pics. Can't wait to hear more details.

Super Rookie said...


Thank you for not taking our team on rides with mountains like that.


What climb did Pete do in 1hr 15min? I am a little confused.

Eclectchick said...

Fanflippintastic!!!!!! I'm SO happy you got to ride Ventoux! Loved the story, loved the pictures. Only one thing missing - a photo of you AND the "Hincapie" across the road - giving his name a big ol' hug!

Of course - probably not a place you wanted to dismount, or even stop the legs moving for a second.

Whee! Good goin', Strats.