Saturday 20 August 2011

20th August 33 Miles but only one hill

Decided to skip breakfast as we wanted an early start and the earlist we could havehad breakfast was 7.30am. We had bought a few provisions the night before. Left at 7.25 am for the short drive to Sault. It was refreshing cool so I decided to take my windproof top. It can be 20 degrees cooler at the top than at the start but it was not today. The top was removed after about 5 km of riding and stayed in the pannier all day. Set off from Sault at around 7:50. The first stop was a boulangerie in the town for a baguette and 2 large Pain au Raison. The climb starts with a1 km descent! Then it’s a steady climb first thought the lavender fields with the smell of lavender and next its into the woods.

The summit is invisible as you steadily climb and can only been seen after about 15 km of riding. The KM posts helpfully track your progress and the elevation.

Its 1912 metres to the top. After the ski station the gradient increases for the last 6km.

Some riders drive to the ski station and just do the last 6km!!.The heat had started to build up and it only gets hotter as the day progresses so an early start is a definite advantage. You can see the summit in the distance never seeming to get any closer with a steady stream of cyclist heading towards to top. A couple of photographers were taking photos of passing cyclist’s. The pictures should be available on their web sites and And here we are :-


Robert coming down


Lyn Coming Down

We passed them at around 11 am. There was a definite mix of abilities some riders were very fit but others struggled. We passed one rider who was huffing and puffing so much we thought he might need first aid. He did make it to the summit. 1km from the top you pass the memorial to Tom Simpson. A touching tribute to one of Britain’s greatest cyclists who died so tragically riding the climb on the tour de France.

We stopped for the photos on the way down. The last km is soon finished and you join the other riders at the top. A mix of cyclists,support cars, tourists, a a couple stalls selling sweets and biscuits and souvenir shop where expensive Mont Ventoux cycling tops could be purchased. We stopped for photos and had a beer and coffee in the cafe. The trip back to Sault could be described a 24km free wheel and a nasty little 1km hill at the end. Had an ice cream to celebrate our arrival. Lyn described the climb as the "Hardest thing she has ever done". She managed the climb with a few stops so cannot be too unfit. Not bad for nearly 50. Robert made it to the top and was ready to climb up it again from the other side. Maybe next year. The gradient is not too difficult it’s the long ascent that makes it hard. Good training for the Calderdale.

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