Alarms all went off at 0600 and it was down for an early breakfast and off just after 7. A 30 k ride through Malaucene took us to Bedoin and the bottom of the first climb .
We went into a local shop got our Cingles card stamped and we were off!
There was quite a large group of us but we soon split up with each rider settling into their pace.
Andrew, Frazer and I had agreed that we would stick together but Frazer set off at quite a pace taken up with the excitement of the challenge. Andrew and I kept a steadier pace but Andrew fell behind as the grade steepened.
What can I say about this hill? Its amazing, the start of ascent from Bedoin is wooded so you see very little but when you come out of the trees an amazing panorama opens out in front of you.
It brought a swelling to my chest and a lump into my throat travelling up the ascent the road was covered in markings in various degrees of legibility-Pantani, Sky, Froome, Cav, Schleck and many many more it made you realise you were in a special place. As the summit gets closer the climb gets tougher just what you need!!
First ascent complete 2:10:45 13.34 miles 6.1mph av! Craig from Veloventoux was at the summit with water, sports drinks bananas and cereal bars. Card stamped and it was time to head down to Malaucene.
The descent into Malaucene took 41:32 and was 13.22 miles. Hairy at times I av 19.1mph hitting 35mph on ocassion! Luckily there was very few real hairpin bends as you see on some of the alps. Andrew and Fraser, taking advantage of their greater body mass powered down the hill and were waiting for me to arrive. Card stamped and it was the same route in reverse only this time it took 2:19:29. The mountain was getting busier and it was obvious that there was several charity events taking place running and biking. The second ascent I found to be easier I settled into high cadence and soaked in the atmosphere. The temperature was rising and it was important to take fluid in. It was on this ascent that I started to experience some discomfort * note to self IF HIRING A BIKE TAKE YOUR OWN SADDLE!!!
Craig was leapfrogging the riders and I made sure to fill my bottles whenever I could.
The second descent was into Sault 1:06:39 16.47 miles. I took some time out to stop at the Simpson memorial.
An easier descent which took us into Sault and some lunch.
We could not stop long however I had a doughnut and a pain au chocolat and back on the bike for the final ascent. We agreed to meet at Chalet Reynard 6Km from the summit. Craig arrived shortly after us once more I topped my bottles up and the three of us set off for the final 6K of the final climb. Fraser arrd at the top first followed by myself and Andrew. We took some time at the summit congratulating ourselves and posing for pics. 16.36 miles 2:32:54.
The final descent was back down into Malaucene where we got our cards stamped for the final time and met the whole group in a local bar for a beer and some food. Then it was back to Faucon for a shower and evening meal at VVHQ.