[ blog » 2023 » 09_South-West ]d03: Mont Ventoux ( by Philipp Gesang, location: Opposite the city walls of Avignon)

Gorges de la Méouge

Yesterday’s route could have been the blueprint for today: a long descent followed by a shorter climb in the morning, then the big one in the afternoon. After I rolled down from Gap I followed the Méouge upstream in its spectacular canyon. I left the river in Séderon and to climb up to the Col de l’homme mort. Which proved considerably less dramatic than the name suggests with its gentle 3 % average gradient and only a few hard sections. On the descent down from the col to Sault cyclists again outnumbered motorists – I was clearly going in the right direction.


Of the three ascents leading up to the summit I only knew the one from Malaucène from touring central France back in 2018. Coming from the east the only viable option today was the one starting in Sault which is generally considered the easiest due to its moderate gradients and the somewhat higher starting point compared to the other two. With 100 km and a climb in the legs already I can’t deny I was rather grateful for that.

On that eastern flank of the mountain vegetation is far denser than in the south. Pine forest provides cover from the sun, or at least it would have if the sky hadn’t been overcast. In any case I was sweating a good deal less than yesterday on the Izoard and felt kind of fresh almost all the way to the summit. At the Chalet Renard crossroads the scenery suddenly transformed into that barren moonscape the Ventoux is famous for. The stream of cyclists joining from the Bédoin road spread that unique Ventoux atmosphere, with the faster guys cheering on the ones they were passing and everybody’s eyes fixed on that radio tower tower in the distance, shrouded by clouds, whenever it became visible for a moment. The mountain, the people – this climb is a special place that lives up to the myth.

Due to the great conditions so far I found myself way ahead of schedule. The legs were still fresh so I decided to keep on riding to Orange but had to change plans when I realized every hotel in the town and its surroundings was booked out on account of a Jamiroquai concert. Tough luck. Straying from my planned route I went with Avignon instead; not as nice as Orange but it’ll do in a pinch. Besides, the view of the Ventoux from my hotel room window kind of makes up for the detour.

With 190 km distance traveled and 2330 m climbed I believe the technical term for it is monster ride.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


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