• James & Kate

Top of the world

Sooooo today we climbed Mont Ventoux, referred to as “the toughest climb of the Tour de France”. Impressive huh? Well here’s three truths you need to know:

1. We were scared (well, JK was). It is known as the ‘windy mountain’ and many a rider has been known to be blown off their bike. All forecasts over the past week (it’s been on our minds) have been for maximum winds of 35km/h. Survivable. Upon waking at 6am we checked for live updates - winds are 65km/h. Are you taking the piss?? Is 65km/h even safe? The more we googled, the more horror stories we read. And so we sacked off technology, put on a stiff upper lip, and just got on with it. We were either gonna get to the top or be blown off trying (cheap gag in there waiting to be activated).

2. We did it the ‘easy’ way. Sault is already 700m

above sea level and so only 1200m from the top. Since we woke up in Sault (not our fault, just following our book) we weren’t about to schlep 35km across a mountain to try another way. But in our defence, the motto goes “if the wind blows from NW then do not try the Sault road”. It did indeed blow from there and we did indeed take the Sault road. So think that all cancels itself out?

3. We kinda did it twice. Legends? Idiots? Idiot-Legends? Legendary Idiots? Probably all of those and then some. After getting to the top (actually not that bad at all), we started rolling down. Then quickly - but not quickly enough - realised that we were going down a whole different (wrong) way. Cue utter heartbreak as we then climbed back up another 2km and then went down again, this time the correct way.

So all in all, it was a challenge but not one beyond the means of most. It’s probably the “toughest climb” in the way that running up a small hill is the ”toughest” 800m race on earth: it’s not just doing it, it’s how fast you do it. Safe to say we didn’t break any records although we did overtake 4 people early on (not that we’re counting), then two more (still not counting), then two more (ditto), then another guy who was walking his bike by now because of the winds (counting now), then another guy (give me an abacus), then overtaken by one dude (it’s not a race, mate) and then finally past another couple towards the end (oh hiya - if you’re wondering, we are the only two peope on the mountain with out the clip-in shoes).

Whatever about making it up, fast or slow, what was undeniably great was the genuine euphoria coursing through our veins for the rest of the afternoon for a job well done, knowing that the hardest part of this whole trip is undoubtedly over and as we quaffed a few beers and carafes of wine whilst firing up the tinterweb and watching the Wimbledon semi finals on the smallest screen imaginable.


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