BaseCamp alumnus Lynda Thompson shared her experience of climbing Mont Mentoux in France.
On Thursday I achieved my dream of climbing Mont Ventoux. Here's my (long) ride report:
Per Google: Mont Ventoux from Malaucène is a climb in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is 21km long and bridges 1564 vertical meters with an average gradient of 7.5%. The top of the ascent is located at 1912 meters above sea level.
We planned a trip to France for my husband to attend talks put on by P.A.C.E. (Professional Adventures in Continuing Education). This group of veterinarians are avid cyclists and partners were welcomed, so it was a win-win!
I rented a Trek Emonda 6 and used my own pedals and saddle. The reach was a bit too far for me, so I did feel it in my back by the end of each day, but otherwise really liked the bike, especially my first experience using disc brakes! I might need a new bike…
We rode all 5 days in Provence with Ventoux on the 4th day.
The day before our climb, a weather alert was issued for heat (it was already hot!) and increasing winds, so we started our climb at 6am. That really helped keep the temperature comfortable until we hit the cool air at the higher altitude.
The climb from Malaucène was quiet -- I was only passed by a handful of cyclists the entire time. I started the climb with one person ahead of me, and I used him to pace the start as I tend to go out too hard. He set a good rhythm, but after a couple miles he pulled ahead. Since I climb much better when no one is around, it was ideal for me. Others in our group (including my husband) started either ahead or behind, so I never saw them until the top.
The climb varies in incline, so it is challenging to find one's rhythm. Luckily the first 2/3 of the climb had spots where the gradient eased (and being surrounded by trees gave one nice distractions to look at when not cursing the climbing 😜).
After passing the ski chalet, the pitches got steeper. I was pretty tired by then and had to stop a few times to catch my breath and rest my legs.
Near the top I had a pleasant surprise as I thought I had another steep switchback still to go, but suddenly I was done!
It helped to get more water via our support van about an hour into the climb. I put nutrition in my bottles. I tried to eat, too, but that was difficult. I went through 3 bottles as the climb took me almost 3 hours.
After the climb, my husband and I descended a different way (to Sault) and then had more climbing -- although nothing as steep, every little incline began to feel hard by the end. We ultimately rode a total of 63 miles with 7,251 feet of climbing. It was an exhausting day but worth every minute!
Special thanks to coach Karen Mackin for designing the successful training program for me.
Thanks to BaseCamp for all the education over the last few years.
Thanks to the BaseCamp alumni for always cheering each other on.
Thanks to Rebecca Rusch for teaching us to "feed the good wolf." I had to battle the bad wolf quite a bit that day!