Essential Reading List for Cyclists

The weather is dreary. There is not much to see or hear on the TV apart from politicians debating Br*xit and pundits opining on Br*xit. The cinema is expensive at £14 quid a seat, a pint of beer is a fiver everywhere except Wetherspoon’s, and it is even becoming dangerous to take a constitutional what with the risk of tripping over discarded mattresses and fridges. The only thing that is holding us together is graffiti.

Never fear, if you are vaguely interested in bikes and biking, The Wattmeister has come up with a superb reading list to brighten up the dark months.

Each tome has been chosen for one of the seven literary themes.

Good vs Evil……………….The Magnificent Sevenspeed/The Seventh Sprocket of the Samural. (Rural community hire mercenary mechanics to protect them from avaricious bike shop gang).

Rags to Riches…………….Oliver Twistgrip. (Orphaned posh boy goes from singlespeed to basic gearing with help of benign benefactor).

The Quest……………………Lord of the Big Rings.  (A trilogy comprising; The Fellowship of the Granny Ring; The Two Chainrings; Return of the KOM).

Comedy……………………….The Headwind in The Willy Wavers. (Conceited Strava addict becomes obsessed with Di2).

Tragedy……………………….The Picture of Marco Pantani. (Super talented pro cyclist adopts every vice while the picture in his attic reflects his disintegration)

Rebirth………………………..Candide Chooses Campagnolo. ( Lovestruck bastard nephew undergoes all sorts of trial and tribulations but still fails to get Italian manufacturer’s gear to synchronise).

Voyage and Return……..Gone with the Tailwind. (Drama involving woman who loves another man’s carbon bike more than her own husband’s titanium steed. Terrible things ensue…..they even come off Strava!).

Enjoy

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The Willy Warmer 2019

Named mischievously for the bike club, Willesden CC, which organises this 200 km audax ride, for many aspirants it heralds the start of the 2019 Paris-Brest-Paris qualification series.

The Wattmeister was accompanied on this auspicious adventure by the redoubtable  Bethan Lloyd, and by none other than Old Grey Socks, formerly known as The Rider of Donkey.

Starting in the dark at 07.30 a.m from Chalfont St. Peter community centre near Amersham, it stayed dark all day. We headed off into the gloom via Gerrards Cross to our first control point at Pangbourne, 52 kms away to the west.

The weather for most of December and January had been mild, dry and bright. On this day, Saturday 19th January, we were treated to a capricious mixture of bitter cold, persistent drizzle and a strange twilight .

Nevertheless, once we had escaped the clutches of the M25, our route led us through Henley, Gallowstree Common and Whitchurch via some sweet if rather waterlogged lanes to the first control at Costa Coffee in Pangbourne. Old Grey Socks bought me a regular coffee and I duly soaked my freezing toes in the ginormous cup. Bethan ate some rock hard nougat. Her teeth can cut diamonds.

We pushed on to the next control at Hungerford, another 53 kms away. We climbed up to Yattenden and followed more quiet byways to Hermitage, Leckhampstead before entering the Valley of the Racehorse near Lambourn. Racehorses are dear to The Wattmeister’s heart, having spent many years working on the racecourses of southern England in the bookmaking trade.

In Hungerford, time flowed through our fingers as we lingered next to a tepid radiator in the café. But eventually we decided to tackle the second half of the ride. It was only 2 p.m in the afternoon, but all the riders need to activate their lights.

This section of the route to Winnersh, near Reading would have been the most picturesque part of our outing….but to be truthful, the loveliness was obscured by a mantle of murk.

We plodded on through Ball Hill, Burghclere and Bramley…..every village name began with a ‘B’, before getting stuck at a level crossing when finally in full flow. Eventually we pitched up at the 170 kms control in Winnersh. A big bowl of soup at the Java Café hit the mark….Old Grey Socks and Bethan preferred hot chocolate, Kit Kat and chips….these rides are a culinary conundrum.

With only 38 kms to go to the finish and wearing every item of clothing we could muster, we continued  in cold, quiet darkness to Bray, away from the Thames and up Berry Hill, passing National Trust owned Cliveden House, before a rapid last few kilometres to the finish in Chalfont.

Thanks to the many riders whose smiles lit up a lugubrious day, and especially to Old Grey Socks and Bethan for such wonderful company. Apologies to Bethan for stealing a couple of  chips when she wasn’t looking.

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Cycling Facts

This is a public service announcement on behalf of humanity……courtesy of the Dutch Government website……thank you to them for a clear explanation of why it is so good to cycle and to invest in cycling.

Health

Cycling helps to reduce the risk of various illnesses, such as diabetes, some forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and depression.

• Two-thirds of Dutch residents aged 18 and over associate cycling
with joy.
• People who walk or cycle to work tend to be more satisfied, less
stressed, more relaxed, and experience greater freedom compared
to people who drive their car to work.
• Bicycle use not only improves physical health, but also has a
positive impact on mental health and subjective well-being.

Cycling is economical

• Cycling is a cheap mode of transport. The annual costs of cycling
range from 175 to 300 euros. By comparison: the costs involved in
driving a car range from 2500 to 8500 euros a year, based on an
average annual mileage.

• Cycling also scores well in terms of the social impact of a kilometre
of urban travel by bicycle compared to such costs involved in
a kilometre of travel by car or by bus: each kilometre of bicycle use
yields a social benefit of 0.68 euros, whereas cars and buses cost
society 0.37 euros and 0.29 euros per kilometre, respectively.

• The annual infrastructure costs per traveller kilometre are
0.03 euros for bicycles, 0.10 euros for cars, 0.14 euros for buses,
and 0.18 euros for trains

Environment
• Switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150 g of CO2 per kilometre.

• Each 7 km by bicycle rather than by car will save an emission of
1 kilogram of CO2.2

• Cars are used for 3.6 billion short trips (< 7.5 km) annually (In Holland).

• Replacing all these short car trips by cycling would save roughly
2.0 megatons of CO2 per annum*

*2 million megatons equates to the volume of approximately 2 million three bedroom houses/flats with a footprint of 1200 sq. feet and a height of 12 feet.

Summary
• Cycling leads to a longer and healthier life:
–it helps counteract various illnesses, such as diabetes, some
forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and depression;
–it is an efficient way to prevent obesity.
• Cycling is relaxing, convenient, and economical:
–cycling takes you from door to door and offers individuality,
flexibility, and freedom;
–it is a cheap mode of transport and yields substantial social
benefit.
• Cycling improves accessibility and, compared to cars, involves
lower greenhouse gas emissions and less air pollution:
–switching from a car to a bicycle saves an average of 150 g of CO2
per kilometre and 0.2 g of NOx per kilometre.

Thank you Holland.

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Drawing a Parallel

The double jeopardy rule, whereby a defendant could not be tried more than once for the same crime, was reformed under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act of 1996, and further amended under the Criminal Justice Act 0f 2003.

Thus, new and compelling evidence could be presented at a re-trial.

In certain case it is deemed to be in the public interest to pursue a conviction under these new rules. In fact, just this week, Russell Bishop was convicted of the murder of two girls in 1986, having been found innocent of the same crime some thirty years ago.

With the advent of new technology (DNA matching), and the consideration that a change in the law was necessary to accommodate the pursuit of justice, a wrong judgement has been put right.

This week has also seen a monstrously grotesque charade played out in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister cancelled a Commons vote she knew she would lose…..which could have triggered a Conservative leadership contest or even a general election.

The People voted in June 2016 on the UK European Union referendum. The result was not legally binding according to a ruling of the Supreme Court in 2016, but the Government and Opposition are holding fast to the result as if it were enshrined in the Magna Carta.

However, the evidence presented by both campaigns in 2016 was untruthful. The public were lied to and misled in a premeditated fashion by politicians who were elected to represent them, some of whom have their own agenda.

The result is not a fair reflection of public opinion based upon the presentation of tainted facts, figures and statistics.

Whether you voted to remain or leave, it matters not. It is only correct and proper course of action is to seek the will of the People for a second time based on the new evidence.

Double jeopardy was scrapped….it made sense. This version of Brexit should be scrapped…..it makes no sense.

 

 

 

 

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The Rulebook of Muswell Hill Peloton.

Where to begin? That is the question. The definition of a rulebook goes something along the lines of : a book containing the official rules/ standard of behaviour for a profession, organisation or activity.

Muswell Hill Peloton could be loosely described as an organisation but is perhaps more accurately presented as a functioning disorganisation…..one whose core activity is road cycling.

The weekly rides which form the club activities take place around Regents Park on Saturday mornings from 06.20 a.m….in all seasons, and on Sunday morning rides into Hertfordshire from 08.00 a.m, once again, throughout the year. The favoured method of communication for members regarding route choices etc.  is via an invitation only Facebook page.

The membership is comprised almost entirely of young men, middle-aged men and men of a certain age. However, the club does have one regular female enthusiast who is esteemed and respected by one and all.

Despite the lack of subscription fees, written constitution (and therefore, in theory,  rulebook), things seem to progress and evolve in an amicable fashion. Common sense generally prevails, and the ‘membership’ continues to grow steadily.

So far so good…..yes? Well, on this weekend, the rulebook which at present resides in The Wattmeister’s head,  has had cause  to be referred to on two separate occasions.

The first instance concerned an opportunist move by Young Peter Batchelor, henceforth known as Maverick Pete….and please, not to be confused with Pistol Pete who is more of an agitator than a maverick.

Anyway, imagine the scene. Come the final lap in Regents Park on Saturday morning, Maverick Pete seized the moment and nipped clear of a chasing group comprised mainly of dribbling, gasping, fibrillating middle-aged men at Physician’s Corner in order to steal a much cherished but ultimately worthless sprint ‘victory’ at Camden Gate…..some 450m away into a stinking headwind.

“Good luck to him”, thought The Wattmeister, “rather him than me!”

But Big Mig had another opinion and immediately raised his right arm to call for a “Regrouping” and then upped the stakes with a ‘Stewards Inquiry” on the grounds that the pursuants had to slow down significantly to ensure that the sharp left turn was traffic-free and therefore safe to negotiate……thus ending their chance for glory.

As it turned out. Maverick Pete didn’t even have the decency to win the sprint as The Ringo Kid reeled him in effortlessly, so judgement of the case has been deferred….but we will be keeping a close eye on Pete.

However, it did not take long for Maverick Pete’s free spirited tendencies to manifest themselves  again. For the Sunday ride, via Facebook, he proposed a novel spin on the MHP default route to Redbourn by suggesting we ride it in reverse. IN REVERSE! Most of the guys/girl have ridden the 77 km route a hundred times and STILL GET LOST.

What does it say in the rulebook? Is there a precedent? Who is this troublemaker? Questions, questions but little in the way of answers.

On Sunday. thirteen riders assembled outside the Everyman cinema in Muswell Hill, our new meeting place since being served with an ASBO. Who turns up late? Maverick Pete,

We set off less as a club, more as a group of individual time trialists….but return with ‘gruppo compatto’ …it was fun. Monty claims the ride is hillier back to front. (It’s not). Michael’s Garmin only recorded half of the ride, (yes, Redbourn Reverse is the Herts equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle). John Joe and Lyes followed another group of riders missing a left turn in the process.  Despite these hiccups, the route was a great success….who needs a rulebook?

 

 

 

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The Great Kibbeling Review

20181112_121713

This is going to go down a treat.

Kibbeling and frites is a very popular snack in Holland. Sold from a variety of establishments…. from kiosks on seafront promenades and seafood stalls in the local market to michelin starred restaurants ….it is typically Dutch, like pragmatism for example.

Kibbeling is a corruption of the word “kabeljauwwang”, which means ‘cod’s cheek, it consists of deep fried chunks of fresh cod accompanied by a choice of dips… generally versions of tartar, garlic or mayonnaise.

Nowadays, some vendors may use offcuts of other white fish like hake, pollock, haddock or whiting to construct their version of kibbeling, which will naturally have an affect on the flavour as will the batter.

The batter must not be too heavy or too oily. It must be crisp and  crunchy, a little salty….sometimes it is infused with beer. The oil must be hot, too many kibbeling in the pan cause the temperature to drop resulting in soggy batter …..who wants soggy batter?(I’d still eat it!)

The best kibbeling is 100% cod.

So, where are you going to encounter the best kibbeling? This is where my selfless quest begins. Take the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. Disembark the ferry, (preferably by bike…you won’t regret it), pass through customs and passport control, you will be confronted by a kiosk called The Hoekse Vishandel.

There is modest but adequate seating inside and outside. The staff are friendly and multilingual….you will not be met by indifference. For the princely sum of 7 euros, buy a normal sized portion of kibbeling and frites with a choice of sauces if required. The fish is light and fresh. The batter is refreshingly crackly and the frites will hit anybody’s chip button. Open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m…..it’s never too early or late to have the Hoekse Vishandel’s kibbeling

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Exquisite French Climbs…Part 4

So, here is a nice story.

Thirty odd years ago, when The Wattmeister was 10 kgs heavier than he is now, his mate Guido was training for the 264 kms Liege-Bastogne-Liege cyclosportive, which, on the homeward leg, takes in brutally steep hills of the Belgian Ardennes.

Being a Dutchman, Guido’s hill training was comprised mainly of rides of 100 kms solo into a bitterly cold headwind. The younger Wattmeister listened to Guido’s training schedule in awe.

Now, let us progress through time to 2017. Guido has worked harder and exercised less than in his youth, he suffers a heart attack. This scary threat to his health at the age of 59 precipitates a change of lifestyle and consequently his love of cycling is re-ignited.

In August 2018 on his 60th birthday, Guido sends a Whatsapp photo of himself at the summit of the Col du Béal, having ridden up from Vertolaye in the north east of the volcanic Massif Central. Inspirational!

guido

Suitably impressed, The Wattmeister vows to send Guido a photograph of himself the following month on HIS 60th birthday.

A satisfactory trundle through France saw The Wattmobile parked up in the village of Olliergues caressed on one side by the La Dore river and hugged on the other side by the D906 from Thiers to the north.

Initially, there is a short, stiff pull up through the village on the D37, which has an excellent road surface. After a series of twists and turns which last about 3 kms, the Route de Brugeron straightens itself out for a bit, still super smooth under wheel, passing the left turn to Olmet and Augerolles (lovely detour) and climbs gently to the village of La Brugeron.

Here, after about 10 kms at an average gradient of approximately 3.5%, one’s legs are nicely warmed up, and one’s eyes have feasted on a beautiful landscape…..and furthermore, by this point, on 20th September 2018….The Wattmeister had only seen one single car.

The climb proper starts in the village with a little dig up into the trees via an alpinesque hairpin bend. The gradient averages about 6 % for 11 kms, with a maximum figure of 9%. The views are intermittent, but the tranquility and sense of solitude are constant. Still only one car in an hour or so of cycling.

About 2 kms from the summit, the road exits the forest and continues to climb up onto a rocky moorland, not unlike the Peak District with its craggy tors……except that there is a ski station to the east of the Col.

Exposed to the elements, the last 1500m felt like quite a slog, but views of the southern French Jura to the east, and the volcanic ridge incorporating Puy de Dome to the west make the effort worthwhile.

There are several routes to the summit, but a rapid descent to down the D40 to La Bourlhonne and a diversion via the Col du Chansert…..on an even quieter road…..is highly recommended, as is a lunch visit to La Cherlen Café in Augerolles…..although The Wattmeister cannot show his face there again after abusing the cheeseboard.beal

 

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Madeira Cake Anomaly

Quote from Dan Martin at the end of the mountainous 19th stage of the Tour de France from Lourdes to Laruns, “…you saw a lot of tired men trying to race their bikes…”

Well, spare a thought for the equally tired spectators trying daily to watch every pedal stroke of this intriguing Tour.

The cushions on The Wattmeister’s sofa have been crushed into concave hollow after 21 days of racing (including 2 rest days). Each day starts with a short neutralised section of approximately 5 kms  where the commissar’s car guides the peloton through to the start proper.

And every day, The Wattmeister has attempted (and succeeded) in eating one of Sainsbury’s madeira cakes…..occasionally iced due to the hot conditions….whilst the riders negotiate this section…..a race within a race if you like….and this feat has been maintained on the aforementioned rest days.

The old saying goes, ” there is no rest (day) for the madeira cake eater.”

And, there is no prize for this prodigious achievement…..just like his other quests; to find the perfect headwind; to seek out the perfect Full English Breakfast….it is all done to make the world a better place….for the producers of madeira cake.

But now, with the 20th day of racing upon us, a hitherto unforeseen problem has occurred.  Tomorrow’s stage is an individual Time Trial over 31 kms. The riders will be released at one minute intervals and will not be forming a peloton at the start…..this means that there will be no neutralised zone in which to continue the madeira cake challenge,,,,and I might add that the cake has already been purchased.

What to do? Sensible suggestions please to madeiracakechallenge@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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The Green Flytipper

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine a quintessential English country lane in summer. For the Wattmeister, this wayfare might be  bordered by a tapestry of colourful wild flowers, perhaps lined for some of its length by lush hedgerows. The gravelly tarmac will be dappled with sunlight….and give the impression that it is leading you to a bucolic paradise.

Now open your eyes, some f*cker has driven out into the countryside and shattered the idyll by jettisoning a load of grotty, stained mattresses into a tiny layby. Walk, or ride on a bit further, and a culturally challenged wastrel has dumped hundredweights of bricks, concrete and debris into a convenient (for them) clearing. Finally, a few hundred yards on, the collection is completed by an ugly assembly of unwanted wood, timber and mdf.

And this is only one country lane of so many.

This morning on the weekly club ride, we witnessed examples of this insidious, anti-social behaviour in High Canons, Shenley…. Cherry Tree Lane, Cupids Green and Beechtree Lane, Potters Crouch…..barely a mile separates all three.

Sarcasm was rife: “Yeah,” said James. “lovely summer’s night for a drive in the country,  I thought I’d get rid of me old mattresses….work of art really….an installation…..should be in the Tate.”

mattresses

“Nah, ” replied Pete, “that’s just messy, have a butcher’s a my specialty… bricks and concrete…Rachel Whiteread eat your heart out”

rubble

“Apologies gents, I’m afraid you are both trumped”,  (see what I did?), ” you are guilty of un-environmentally friendly actions….you DROVE out here in your polluting vehicles, whilst I loaded my bicycle trailer with all this unwanted timber shit and CYCLED it out to this pristine corner of Hertfordshire…..take my business card…www,greenflytipper.com”  said The Wattmeister.

wood

But of course, this problem is no joke, it’s a shameful, heartbreaking disgrace which seems to be more prevalent than ever.

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Tour de France Preview

Following the resolution of Froome’s Salbutamol anomaly and the subsequent release of performance data by Team Sky relating to stages 11 and 19 of the Giro, the show goes on.

It is a big ask for Froome to peak again so soon after his victory in Italy. The first week of racing will be frenetic and most likely punctuated with crashes, crosswinds and croissants.

At 7/4, his odds are too cramped.

Fellow teammates Thomas and Bernal have shown excellent form in 2018 but will surely be called upon to serve Froome. In any case, I can’t see Geraint being up to winning a Tour de France.

Richie Porte is a conundrum. He certainly has tons of ability, but always has one very bad day/mishap in a three week tour. I think the value is to leave him out of calculations all the while realising that he could be a big player for much of the three weeks. Stand firm and omit him from the podium.

Tom Dumoulin is on the roster for Sunweb. He had a tough Giro, was almost the equal of Froome, but his odds of 25/1 do not reflect this. Despite being a big price, he is overlooked.

In 2018 Mikel Landa rode in Sky kit, he looked the strongest rider sacrificing any overall GC placing in the service of Froome. If he turns up in the same shape, he will make things lively….but he won’t win. Movistar also field ‘forgotten man’ Nairo Quintana and an evergreen Valverde. It is surely too late for the latter, but Quintana must now be at his peak….12/1 seems a generous price.

Roman Bardet struggles in Time Trials, but perhaps that is his only Achilles Heel, in all other respects he races with zest and verve. I can see him on the podium.

Vincenzo Nibali is a most versatile and competitive racer with extensive Grand Tour experience. At 25/1 his odds are massive and I feel that he is the real value in a wide open event.

Other riders like Uran, second last year, Adam Yates, Roglic, Barguil and Martin will help to liven proceedings but are more realistically viewed as top ten contenders.

The Wattmeister Podium:

Nibali, Quintana, Froome.

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Kees and Theo, Club TC de Tol

So here we are, in Leidschendam, a suburb close to the centre of the Hague. By close, I mean a safe twenty minute commute in normal clothes … with minimal risk of being crushed by a skip lorry, disappearing down a pothole or having one’s possessions nicked by scum on stolen mopeds.

You know me, all those Facebook videos proclaiming to be in search of ‘the perfect headwind’….well, they are obviously fake…..there’s only so much headwind a man can take…..and only so much dribble a man can lose before severe dehydration sets in.
Therefore, in search of a bit of cover, The Wattmeister googled  ‘fiets clubs in Leidschendam’ and was directed to Club TC de Tol who meet up on Sunday mornings at 09.00 in the Sterrenpark, situated about five minutes trundle from The Wattkasteel (Wattcastle).
There are four groups, A, B, C and D…. Group A being the fastest……they are so fast that they had departed before our English dignitary had arrived….and Group D being the slowest.
Group B welcomed The Wattmeister into the fold. The look was very pro. Everyone was wearing helmets and sunglasses, so it was difficult to ascertain the median age of the group, but our leader, Theo, had cycled 300 kms in the previous two days and he did not look a day younger than 65……. from the knees down.
We set off into a raging headwind…..an easterly, rated at gale force 6. Theo and another chap with mature looking elbows set a very reasonable pace considering the conditions.
Our biggest hazard was not motorised, but a compilation of other cyclists, runners, walkers, skaters and ducks who populated the immaculately smooth bike path…even though there are separate walking paths, running paths, skating paths and even water paths for the ducks….(they are called canals).
Despite this, with good communication to avoid any mishaps, our two mature leaders battled the ferocious gusts and led us out through the polders to a café in Boskoop where everyone removed their helmets and sunglasses to reveal their true selves.
Knock me down with a feather! Theo’s co-leader was a gentleman who goes by the name of Kees, and,  FIFTY years ago, he was road race champion of South Holland. He is eighty one years old, let that sink in…. 81. And here he was, smashing it into the type of headwind that removes the need for a wet razor.
Theo and Kees proceeded to down a couple of Bailey’s liqueurs topped with whipped cream before leading us back to Leidschendam……Kees put in a strong attack crossing the A4 motorway  bridge and was never seen again.
Touché!  Father Time.
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The Cinglés of Mont Ventoux

Nothing can arrest the tranquil turbulence of passing seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.

Suddenly you are 60 years old, or maybe 59 and 3/4, the departure lounge beckons, but is hopefully situated far far away, at the end of a long corridor….but you can’t see that far anyway.

Simultaneously in denial and acceptance, you are doing your very best to keep in shape physically and mentally. This means a good diet, plenty of healthy exercise and beating your 89 year old mum at Scrabble. (Tip:….let her win on her birthday).

You need an endeavour to defy the patience of the god of inevitability. For cyclists, there are many such challenges from which to choose. This group comprised Old Grey Socks, Faustino S, Ironmortal and The Wattmeister  with an aggregate age of precisely 240.

We chose to ride up The Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux, on each of the three tarmacked roads which lead to its omniscient summit at 1912m above sea level. This is the equivalent to cycling halfway up Mount Everest in a day, 4400 metres of ascent.

The ride totals 140 kilometres in length, half of which is downhill. I won’t bore you with the unimportant details of this ride, but we left Bedoin in sunshine at approximately 07.15 on Saturday morning, 2nd June 2018 ….and we finished at approximately 18.00 on Saturday afternoon, 2nd June 2018, having encountered some rain and fog, but mercifully none of the strong winds for which this mountain is well known.

I don’t wish to skip over the suffering, but at one point on the murderous ascent from Malaucene, The Wattmeister spied a cyclist who had chosen to rest his legs by walking up the 13% incline. Cranking up his own speed to a thunderous 6 kms per hour, The Wattmeister proceeded to attempt to reel in the temporary pedestrian…..it took forever….that red jersey never seemed to be getting any closer….could it be possible that tramping, pushing a bike, was faster than cycling?

Somehow, The Wattmeister winched his way past the octogenarian hiker, who, to his great credit, was giving his own two fingered salute to the departure lounge. The overwhelming effort caused a flood of sun cream immersed sweat to cascade into his eyes, momentarily blinding him, all the while under siege from a plague of vicious man-eating flies.

Fun it was not….. the end never felt closer.

Nevertheless, the challenge was met, and the final ascent from the beautifully appointed town of Sault took us up gentle wooded slopes on the north east side of the massif, the paved surface steaming mystically after a passing thunderstorm.

Final food and drink statistics:

2 bananas, 2 gels. baguette of jambon et fromage, shared spaghetti bolognese, two coca colas, 3 x 750ml bottles of water, a bag of nuts magicked up from somewhere, 1 x giant pizza in Phil’s Bedoin washed down by a couple of beers. The proprietor shook our hands and congratulated us, which was rather touching.

I was still starving.

ventoux-2016-looking-back

https://www.strava.com/activities/1612800972

 

 

 

 

 

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