Fooling around in Provence
Whilst in the Beaulieu café sometime last Autumn after a bike ride, I mentioned to a few friends that I would like to ride up The Giant of Provence, Mount Ventoux, and foolishly suggested it would be good to cycle up each of the three roads to the summit!! The response was a few raised eyebrows and the stare coming from Malcolm.
But the thought remained with me and I started my secret training but kept very quiet about the challenge that I had set for myself.
Christmas came and there it was! One of my presents was the High Mountain book and guess what? It featured the Giant. “Hmmm” I thought to myself. After reading all about it I realised this mountain needed respect, it never gives anybody a gift. After giving it some thought I had finally made my mind up that I would go for the three ascents in one day. My training program already in place, but I was still keeping quiet.
The ski season came and went; what fun we had. Too much snow and little in the way of sun in St Anton but lots and lots of powder. Then came the Mont Blanc’s Vallee Blanche, oh yes a perfect day, I will remember for many years.
March saw us head over to Lanzarote which is becoming a regular training camp now and I just love it. I’m fully focused now on my ambitious task in May, yes I’ve set the date and have told Malcolm my plan. That look again!!
Malcolm started work on my fitness during our two week stay in Lanzarote making me do lots of turns at the front with side winds and front winds strong enough to scare me. Most days the wind was very wild and strong and that’s what did the trick, I came back flying and in good shape; the strongest I’ve been on my bike for a long time.
I kept to the training program when disaster struck. We had been getting lot’s of miles in and I thought it would be nice to mountain bike for a change. Big mistake! I took a tumble and landed on my left shoulder, hip, and elbow also sustaining whip lash. This was on the Friday and we would be leaving for Mount Ventoux the following Thursday. Malcolm was still unsure if he was going to join me , questioning his fitness.
No training and lots of TLC and I made
a remarkable recovery. I could bike but not walk and I had no intention of getting off the bike anyway. Voltarol what a fine thing you are!
The approach to Mont Ventoux summit (1912 metres)
Each time I twice passed Tom Simpson’s memorial I tapped my chapeau in respect for the man who paid the ultimate price whilst racing.
On Friday 13th July 1967 Tom tragically collapsed and died during the Tour de France. He almost reached the top, but sadly it was never to be.
Tom Simpson Memorial in the final kilometre to the summit of Mont Ventoux
28th May 2012 and it was job done. We did it!
The feeling is like no other, I felt so lucky, excited and proud of myself for it showed me that I have strength to stick to a plan and follow my dream. The look on Malcolm’s face was something I will not forget. He smiled from ear to ear and just shook his head. It was just pure elation for me.
I still carry those feelings. The Giant had watched me every pedal stroke, I had looked up and said “I’m coming up three times today. Keep watching!!”
Monday 28th May 2012 I will remember
for a long time…
At the summit.
So now we belong to a special club,
THE CINGLES DU MONT VENTOUX.
Time – 9hours 26 minutes.
Jersey earned. Right let’s holiday!
“Thank you Malcolm for sharing that day with me, I knew we were going to do it. Love Lotty xx
Cingles is French for crazies or screwballs!