I’ve done a few crazy exercise-related events in the last few years …. well crazy in relation to my level of proficiency….
- Cycling a 45 mile sportive for my second ever cycle (i went sooo slowly and didn’t get out of bed the next day!)
- Entering a triathlon (well it was just a sprint) without having swum for about 15 years (and having never run even 5k)
Yup, this time next week my little car and in it, my sister and I, will be nearing the south of France as we prepare to cycle up Mount Ventoux. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a big mountain nicknamed the Beast of Provence that is famous due to its use in the Tour de France. It’s 1617m of climbing over just over 21km. It’s meant to be brutal – it’s constantly windy on the top and is seen as one of the hardest climbs in the Tour de France. In 1967, British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the mountain from heat exhaustion, although he was taking drugs and had alcohol in his system which hopefully my sister and I will not! (Although she was all for a glass of wine before a 10k running race, I think I’ll try to dissuade her this time)
This picture came from DC Rainmakers’ post on cycling up Mount Ventoux. It terrified me but also was incredibly useful… Also his entire blog is incredible so if you don’t read it already, check it out!
Wikipedia says the climb by bike from Bédoin to Mount Ventoux is one of the toughest in professional cycling
Actually, reading wikipedia for this post is making me want to back out….. better stop that.
So why am I doing it? Well, despite the fact that I only got into cycling less than two years ago when I got a bike and cycled 45 miles the next day, my family has long been cycling-mad from my grandparents right down to my youngest cousins. In fact, two years ago, my 13 year old cousin cycled up Mont Ventoux. Oh, and last year? Last year, my mum and my 83 year old grandad cycled up Mont Ventoux.
So my sister and I decided we had to do it. As my grandparents now live in the south of France, logistics weren’t too difficult – the dates were checked, time was booked off work, the Eurotunnel was booked. But the training? Well we were both training for a triathlon last week so Ventoux training has had to kind of fall in line with that. Any time spent on strength / on the bike is helpful, right? At least having this two weeks after the triathlon prevented any after-race blues as immediately I had to be thinking about getting back on the bike and getting my strength up. And I do feel strong, and I am so much better on the bike and on hills than I used to be. But strong enough to conquer the toughest climb in professional cycling? Ugggggghhhhhhhhh.
Wish us luck!!!