Average grade: 7.6 %
Length: 21.4 km
Height start: 283 m
Height top: 1912 m
Elevation: 1639 m
The Mont Ventoux is without any doubt one of the most famous mountains in Europe. While only 1912 meters high,
it rises out of the splendid surrounding landscape of the Provence.
Situated on the last Alpine ridge against the Rhone-plateau, the Mont Ventoux can be seen from almost anywhere
in the Vaucluse, Provence.
The giant of Provence therefore is therefore the culmination of any journey through this wonderful region in southern France. It's isolated position gives the mountain something gigantic and dominating and if the weather is clear, you can see from its top the Alps to the East, the Cévennes to the West and Meditteranean Sea to the South.
Although only occasionally climbed in the Tour, the Mont Ventoux is one of the topcols in France and beyond. The best professional riders do the 21 km from Bédoin in just below one hour or a"VAM" (velocità ascensionale media or vertical heightmeters per hour) of 1600 meters. The better amateurs in below two hours or with an average of just over 10km/hour. But anyone is free to do the climb. Just one advice: come prepared or you'll see black snow instead of white stones!
The heaviest side up is via Bédoin (official start from the roundabout D974), though, according to some, the Malaucène side is equally heavy. Exercising can be done from Sault, by far the least heavy side. The Bédoin side is also the most famous side because it is the approach that was most often taken in the Tour de France and, consequently, also the side where most drama took place. On July 13 1967, the British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the flanks of the Ventoux. One can visit the statue at about 1,5 km from the top.
The Bédoin side starts easy, almost in silence between the vineyards where the local wine finds its origin. To your left, you can, if the weather is clear, see the top with the typical white red pin of the weather station up there. Take a good look, cause you wont see it for quite a long time once you enter the wood after the famous St. Estève bend. Till this point, you should have spent only a minimum of energy, cause the next 10 km, you'll need all of it. From this point on, the Ventoux hardly ever goes below 9% and gives you no time or place to recover.
Once, you reach the Chalet Renard, you did most of the job, unless... you're unlucky and have the wind blowing in your face for the rest of the ascent, unprotected by trees, amidst a lunar (lunatic?) landscape. The name Mont Ventoux means "windy mountain", and some cyclists know why: the local Mistral and Transmontana winds can blow at 150 km/hour here. But if you're lucky, you can recover after the Chalet Renard on human grades of 5-7% with some bends at only 3%.
Take advantage of this, because the last kilometers, the Mont Ventoux will again hit you in the face with his last stones. The last 1,5 km are again at 10% and will require another huge effort before you can flaunt on top of the Ventoux and enjoy the "airplane view". Congratulations!
The Mont Ventoux is situated in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
and belongs to the
Massif des Cèdres
Starting from Bédoin,
the Mont Ventoux ascent is 21.4 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1639 heightmeters.
The average percentage thus is 7.6 %.
Look for other sides to climb the Mont Ventoux.
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Profile : 43y, 73kg, 178cm, km this year 700, total km last 10 years maybe 2000 (the good days are over, for now), speciality: running
Bike, a decent 15 year old alu frame with cheap wheels, gearing 39-25, MTB shoes.
Was looking to repeat the 2nd route I started with friends 5 years ago but didn''t remember which it was so ended up alone in Bedoin after a warm up from lovely Venasque (the Abbaye de Senanque seemed too far away for my current legs).
Probably set out too fast not having read the profile or believing those 9% parts could last so long. It was pretty hot with not much wind so it didn''t take long before the handlebars were soaked with sweat.
All my rides this year bar 2 have been 10-45km and dead flat, one was 70km and with a few hills, the other 30k and hilly with 2km at 8-9% (and chain stuck on 52 cog) so knew my back would suffer as it always and after 45 minutes I had to stand every minute or 2 to relieve the pain. Breathing calmed after Chalet Renard prob. due to tiredness that set in, took me around 1h37, may try again with more training
I was using this forum to prepare myself mentally for the climb.
My passion is Mountainbiking and my toughest achievement was an western Alp crossing 2008. After that goal was reached I went slower ...,means investing less time in training for motivation, work and private issues.
The Ventoux was a new challenge to get somehow back in the mood and it did its job.( I am still cycling around 3-4000 km per year, am 44, 188cm tall and 90 kg (took some weight :-(( ) I did it in 2:20 hrs.
The climb is exactly as described before. The comments and additions of the forum posters are all correct.
So I can only add some of my personal experience:
It was a hot afternoon(31 degrees) when i started after coming back from holidays from Spain. Tired, nervous, not enough sleep etc... not the best condition.
Go steady, find your rythm and don''t ever try to go to fast..... rythm , the right cadence and your hrm are your only friends. The climb is steep, the sun burns your back, and you will get no relief till you reach Chalet Renart..... After that the climb feels becoming more steep, even that my grade meter didn''t tell so, so assume my legs getting tired. After you pass the Tom Simpson memorial,the (for me) toughest part began.
Can anyone direct me to a website? I''m after the grey Mt Ventoux T Shirt.
I think the climb has become mythological to cycling and probably partly due to the death of Tommy Simpson; myths and reality are not always coherent.
Everyone is entitled to choose their own bench marks but to suggest that anyone should climb with professional gear ratios is not realistic unless you are capable of turning the pedals at professional cadence. Watch the pros go up the Ventoux and see what they’re turning. 70,80?
To climb the Ventoux in 1 hr 49 mins (Grant Taylor with presumably with 39/25 gearing) is nothing to be ashamed of but why choose to make it harder than necessary? His cadence will have been close to 50 with the assumption that he arrived at St Esteve in a reasonable time (15 mins?). 39/23 gearing would be a cadence of +/-47
So, select your gearing to obtain a more efficient cadence 60 to 70 and the ride will be easier and probably quicker than climbing with too higher gearing for your physical ability.
Another myth buster?
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