August 2010

The Mont Ventoux is a mountain in the Provence region of southern France, where the highest windspeeds have been recorded in France: 320 km/h (193 mph) on February 20, 1967. — Wikimedia

Ventoux Mountain: The D164 road from Sault to the top of Mont Ventoux is 26 km: 20 km to the Chalet Reynard ski station and the 6 km to the peak. The first few km are across rolling fields of lavender, although tall yellow-black poles mark the road for winter snows.

After the lavender fields, the road winds through forests of pine, oak, larch and beech, with picnic tables sitting amongst the trees here and there off the side of the road. After the Chalet Reynard ski station, the road is a bit steeper, winding up the open, treeless slopes; the more sensitive parts of this last 6 km are protected with guardrails. The entire road is 2-cars wide and well paved.

The change from forest to bare stony hillside is startlingly abrupt and the gradient steepens. — from: Mad About Mountains

Le Grimpeur: The Death of a Cyclist

Ventoux Mountain: The Mont Ventoux is only the highest part of a mountain range running from the village of Montbrun-les-Bains in the east to Malaucène in the west. Further to the west, the range rises up again as the Dentelles de Montmirail.

View from the Rhone river dam at Tarascon

Mad About Mountains: This mountain, the highest in Provence, is famous as a cyclist’s mountain although it can also be reached on foot and by car. The long distance footpath GR4 traverses the east ridge to the top.

[By bicycle], there are 3 roads to the top, and the easiest is from Sault to the east. The ride starts with a sharp drop but very soon after crossing an agricultural valley, then slowly uphill through the forest as far as the roadside bar Chalet Reynard where the steeper route from Bedoin joins in. This is the road used by the Tour de France when it comes this way.

Also see: Three different ascents by bicycle of the Mont Ventoux

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