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France - A short trip to Mont Ventoux

Updated: Apr 27

OCTOBER 2018


Sometimes I have great, crazy ideas while cycling. This was one of them:

"Jan, I have an idea. Let's climb Mont Ventoux! And let's ride there as well. By bike. All in one, through the night. It's approx. 400km, we should be ok with that."

That was more or less the short message I sent Jan (herr_roja) while climbing one of our local climbs around Lucerne. At first he didn't seem very enthusiastic about my idea. Then, 4 days later he texted me: "Sara, we HAVE to do it. I think this could be really epic!" And so we did. We were very lucky with the weather, it was one of the last warm nights after an awesome summer and we almost had a full moon, too. Because Jan had ridden some french cols the days before we met, I rode the first 100 km of this adventure from Geneva to the top of Mont Ventoux by myself. By 7 pm we finally met somewhere near Chambéry where we refueled and discussed what would happen next. None of us had ever done a night ride before and Jan's longest ride was around 380 km, mine about 240 km. But we knew that somehow we'd manage to do it. And we did. At first it was strange to just keep on pedaling as time passed. I had done full moon rides before, but mostly they ended at midnight. When midnight struck we did pause for a little while, but knew that we still had a long way to go. It was weird to be the only ones on the road and we were amazed, how friendly the car drivers were. Although we'd expected some intoxinated drivers (it was Friday night), not one car passed us too close or made us feel uncomfortable.

We were doing good, talking a lot to keep us awake, joking and laughing and regularly refueling on nuts, bars and other snacks. We had thought that we'd pass small shops, take-aways, gas stations or something similar for more coffee but not one was on our route and so we had to tuck into our caffeine gels at around 3am. We had at least another 4 hours to go to reach the foot of Mont Ventoux. Around 6 am we arrived in Valréas where we found a boulangerie. Pizza and pain au chocolat never tasted as good as this morning! We set off for another 50 km, had a double espresso near Bédoin and then started riding the last 15 km to the top. When we reached the antenna it took a while to realise what we had achieved. Now it was time to roll down to Carpentras, from where we took the train back to Switzerland.

Honestly, it took me more than 24 hours to recover. But I'd do it again. And again. And again.


Strava file "Genève - Mont Ventoux 400 km ride (wahoo-fail) at night with Jan"


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