In the last couple of weeks I've been on two notable trips, the first a work trip to Cork and the second a holiday to the Ardeche region of France. I won't bore you with all the details, but I wanted to talk quickly about the major summits of each trip... Carrauntoohil and Mont Ventoux.
I had a very interesting week at the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, though an oversight on my part made the bike travel to and from my campsite much harder than it needed to be... Quite why I took two packed rucksacks rather than my panniers I will never know! But anyway, at the end of the week I had a spare day, so jumped on the train and headed west to Killarney. This is a lovely little place, and was about as close to the hill as I could find a campsite. I arrived quite late in the day, but pitched up quickly and jumped on my bike to ride out 20km or so to the hill.
|A fool travels without panniers.|
The descent was great and despite the photos and faffing I was back to my bike in just under two hours. The ride home was also lovely, as was the takeaway pizza in Killarney!
|The stunning Ardeche gorge|
I climbed from Vallon to Saint-Remeze, then descended to the Rhone. This section was flattish and involved some big roads around Bourg-Saint-Andeol, but I rode mostly on small quiet roads. As I cruised along eating a ham and cheese crossiant all was well in the world. Somewhere in this section I noticed the fallability of my Google route planning... or more a case of operator error. I had forgotten to select the "roads only" box, so in sections where it was shorter my route tried to take me up 4x4 tracks. On someone else's bike I thought this was a bit rude so stuck to the road. This didn't present any more of a problem until a bit later...
|Fields of Lavender|
|The actual route up...|
With about 2km to go I was passed by a tall skinny chap who was flying - then we both came round a corner and saw the first open view of the masts at the summit. We both stopped for a photo, before he shot off again and I continued with the final few metres of grind.
|At the top of Mont Vent-woooooo!|
|Just before Tom Simpson's memorial|
|Beautiful evening ride back over|
After 240km and 3600m of climb I arrived back in Vallon stinking, sweaty, elated, and just in time for Pizza.
Thanks Coz for lending me your bike :-)