Your experience starts the evening before riding Mont Ventoux when you collect your carbon road bike – this way you have ample time to make any minor adjustments to the bike (your leader can assist with this) and set it up just the way you like it. Make sure you eat a hearty meal this evening as you’ll need the energy!
You leave Orange early (approx. 6am) in our support vehicle, driving the 40kms through the gently rolling countryside before arriving into the delightful village of Bedoin, the classic starting point for Mont Ventoux ascents. Starting early gives you the advantage of riding in the cool morning air (it get hot in summer!), helps avoid the infamous Ventoux winds and best of all ensures a quiet road.
Starting the ride right in the heart of Bedoin at the kilometre 22 marker and just 300 metres above sea level your ride will take you to the very summit at 1912m, giving an elevation gain of 1612m and an average gradient of 7.5%. For experienced cyclists this doesn't sound too difficult but this is a climb with 3 obvious sections that make Ventoux the legendary challenge it is. Please see our web page gallery for a picture of the route profile.
The first section is at a gentle average gradient of just 4.4%, winding 5.5km through vineyards, fields and small villages to Saint-Estève at 541m. This section provides a nice warm up for what is to come.
As you leave Saint-Estève you enter the famous forest section, winding 9.5km to Chalet Reynard at 1417m. This gives an average gradient of over 9% with some sections over 11% and 12%. While this is certainly a challenge the forest itself is beautiful and offers welcome shade in the heat of the day.
Once you emerge from the forest you arrive at Chalet Reynard. If you are feeling tired this is a great place to take a quick break and fuel up with a quick drink and bite to eat.
From here the last 6km take you up into the barren Ventoux ‘moonscape’. This limestone section has the reputation of being very exposed and windy but the average gradient drops to around 7% for the next 4.5kms. If you are lucky you will have a tailwind that will help you fly up the 10 bends up to the famous Tom Simpson Memorial. Pause for a quick photo or maybe leave a small memento alongside one of the enduring legends of the climb before climbing the final 1500m up to the famous red-topped tower and summit of the mighty Mont Ventoux.
After taking in the amazing views out over the Rhone valley (and the obligatory selfie) it is time to start the descent back down the same way you came up. Even on mild days the descent can be cold due to the wind chill so you may want to consider bringing a windproof jacket and gloves for the way down.
The descent itself is a thrilling ride however we do urge caution on the way down – along with the obvious increase in speed, the sometimes poor condition of the road, traffic and fatigue from riding up can all combine to make the descent a potentially risky one – please stay within your limits and enjoy the descent rather than push it.
The unguided ride should take 3-4hrs in total, leaving enough time to rejoin your driver in Bedoin, drop the bikes off then drive back to meet the group in Orange for the afternoon ride to Uzes (or a rest in the support vehicle if you prefer)
Ride time (ascent) – while the record for the Mont Ventoux climb is an unbelievable 55' 51" we would expect that most fit cyclists will make it to the top between 2 and 3.5 hours (average speed 6-11kph)
Ride time (descent) – again we urge caution on the descent but most cyclists will take between 30 mins (average 44kph) to 45 mins (average 29kph) to descend from the summit to the start point in Bedoin