Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE! - Jen See and Se­lene Yea­ger

You too can take on hills as tough as Mont Ven­toux…

F One of cy­cling’s most cel­e­brated climbs – renowned for its stark moon­scape sum­mit, where strong winds add re­sis­tance to an al­ready­tax­ing, nearly 9% av­er­age grade – Mont Ven­toux is lo­cated in the Provence re­gion of France.

The south ap­proach from Bé­doin is the famed as­cent raced in the Tour de France, most re­cently in 2016. As you pedal the rolling ter­rain that leads to the start of the climb, you may feel the moun­tain is watch­ing you. The early slopes de­ceive, but just af­ter you pass the ru­ins of Les Bruns, a sec­ond­cen­tury Ro­man villa (about 5km in), Ven­toux’s sig­na­ture ramps ap­pear. With no switch­backs to ease the grade in this sec­tion, about 10 kays at a bit­ing 9 to 10% sep­a­rate you from the flat­ter sections at Chateau Rey­nard.

From there, 6km re­main. And above the tree­line, the mis­tral winds rip. The 5% gra­di­ent should be easy af­ter such steep pitches, but af­ter an hour or more of climb­ing, it feels like pur­ga­tory.

When you fi­nally reach the sum­mit, the panoramic views of the French coun­try­side are a rev­e­la­tion. –

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