As many people know cycling is the number one sport in France and the Luberon is the perfect location to enjoy it, there is a long flat cycle path running from Cavaillon to as far as Forcalquier, whilst there are many quiet back roads where you can meander at leisure with various rates of gradients to choose depending on your fitness and desire.
During the time we have lived here we have had many clients who bring or hire bikes and again all are at different levels of proficiency. We have seen the Tour de France five times two of which were up Mont Ventoux, every cyclists dream to conquer – it’s so inspiring when you see how many people can do it including children and people with handicaps, we once saw a man with one leg cycling up!
I had often scoffed at the suggestion I should take up cycling, however I questioned when I would fit it in, did I really want to go cycling, we already do a fair amount of hiking for which the area is also perfect and every day there is always something to do here to maintain everything for our guests.
Last September one of our guests, Martin Woods with his wife Linda arrived for their second visit, this time though with bike in hand. He came with the goal of cycling up Ventoux having only been cycling for about a year. Mission accomplished, not once but twice he did it and I was very impressed. I recall after a glass or two of wine I then made the comment, I could do that , and so I set myself a challenge of getting fit enough to join Martin this year and try to do Ventoux.
As winter drew to a close, I bought my bike and set off on the cycle path on 24th March covering just 18 kilometres. I am always happy to go early in the morning, usually around 7:30 and I was surprised in the first few weeks of April just how cold it was.
Karen and I have wanted to hike up Ventoux for a long time, again it’s finding the right day, not too hot, cold, windy. Here was the perfect day and it’s a very rewarding hike, the flora, peace, views and satisfaction of getting to the top. It’s a must do! of course we couldn’t help but watch the cyclist and I was apprehensive when seeing the steepness of the climbs after chalet Reynard.
This Tuesday I decided I would cycle from Sault to Chalet Reynard, just to see what it was like, it’s only 20 kilometres so I know I can do that, the climb is from 720 to 1440 metres, I can do that. I set off at 7 am, bike in car, parked in Sault and off I set, it was the perfect day, no wind, going to get warm and as I progressed up my thoughts led me to think, try it, you can always stop, you’re going up so why not continue.
I got to Chalet Reynard quicker than I thought, and just had to go on, the next 6 kilometres were hard, the last two incredibly hard, that said I over took a few people and on making the final bend in the sense of achievement was incredible .
So after 3 months I’ve accomplished the simple route up Ventoux, there are two other ways, one via Malaucene and the other, the most challenging is from Bedoin which the tour takes, this year on 14th July. I guess that has to be my next challenge!
I received a very nice welcome home from Karen who has been very encouraging and supportive of my plight!