Mont Ventoux

14th May 2010.  Rode 100 miles on Saturday, most of them spent looking at Max Rowland’s butt and you can’t help but get a little fond of someone when that’s all you see of them. He’s a strong boy that Max and he pushed my cycling boundaries somewhat.

So in June I’m off to the French Alps with Max, Paul, Warren Mark, Mark and Ian.  Mont Ventoux no less and I decided to do a bit of research…………….I wish I hadn’t!

If you are kind of lingual you will know that the name suggests, it can get windy up there, especially with the mistral.  The wind blows at 55+ mph 240 days a year  and wind speeds as high as 200 mph have been recorded.  The road over the mountain is often closed due to high winds – deep joy.

The mountain became notorious as the scene of one of the most gruelling climbs in the Tour de France cycle race claiming the life of British cyclist Tom Simpson in 1967 from heat exhaustion and drugs and alcohol – what a way to go.  In 1970, Eddy Merckx rode to the brink of collapse while winning the stage. After receiving oxygen he recovered and won the Tour.

I hear we can expect to average about 5mph along the 17 mile, 5,300 ascent.  I guess a lot depends on the direction of the wind. Anyway that’s about 3 x as slow as the professionals but then they are a little younger, a little fitter, a little more talented and a little lighter.  They reckon that the ideal weight to height  ratio is 2lbs for every inch – so a 6 footer would weigh just 10st 4lbs!

It’s all good training for my Land’s End – John O’Groats run.

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