Cycling meets Lord of the Rings - Mt Ventoux

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September 8th 2010
Published: September 10th 2010
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I made it to Veynes (96 miles) after a very slow start today. I seem to be getting worse at organising my bag each morning, in addition to struggling out of bed later and later. By the time I'd made the descent from the Mt Ventoux it was already 2pm, just scraping in for lunch at one of the restaurants in Sault. The climb itself was brilliant (2 hours of it), tougher than any of the Pyrenees yet somehow easier to resist the urge to stop. I didn't (stop) once on the way up, making the ascent with dozens of others only to find the view at the top partially whited out by (relatively) low cloud. The wind that the mountain is famed for in the final 5km was there and made going difficult, but I think I got off lightly as it was quite a calm day by all accounts.

The descent was cold, steep and bumpy, which basically means as descents go it wasn't much fun. By the time I reached Sault I was relieved to look down and discover I still had hands, as the feeling had pretty much left both of them by that point. Following advice from a number of parties, I have been rather obsessively wiggling my hands at every opportunity any time they're not attached to my handlebars. I'm slightly paranoid this makes me appear like I'm looking to draw on somebody as I walk around these little villages. I mean that in a wild west sense obviously, as opposed to a fall asleep drunk when your friends have a permanent marker at their disposal sense.

After lunch the remaining 60 miles were obscenely pleasant, with a further 10-15 miles of subtle descending followed by a sharpish 5 mile climb, followed by another gentle 20 mile descent. All through absolutely beautiful rivines, along rivers etc. The entire day however was spent with the feeling of being watched, by the tower atop the Mt Ventoux, which is visible from pretty much everywhere for miles around. Only really in the last 5 miles of today did I manage to escape it's gaze. Did I mention paranoia?

I'm in the only hotel in town, my TV has two channels, both showing some French equivalent of location location. Most likely rich Parisiens doing up their cheaply bought English cottages and going way over budget, though I didn't leave it on long enough to find out. In the restaurant for dinner there was me and a delightful old couple accompanied by their daughter. The man kept insisting he knew me and to be fair, I thought I maybe knew him before I realised I was thinking of the neighbour from family guy. He also remarked on the quality of the cutlery before making a gutting gesture with the knife, whilst sipping wine with his other hand. L'addition s'il vous plait...     

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Tot: 2.464s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 11; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0382s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb