Cycling up the beast of Mont Ventoux
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Climbing Ventoux was the most amazing and inspirational experience that I won't ever forget-as you cycle up through the forest you see all the famous rider names from the Tour written on the road, as you reach the barren white rocks, you see the famous red and white tower getting gradually closer, then near the top you pass Tom Simpsons memorial (I stopped to pay my respects on the way back down). I was really emotional as I reached the top! The group camaraderie was really amazing, a lovely bunch, one of our group, having cycled his way in record time to the summit of Ventoux, then cycled back down just to keep me company up the final 6km-that was pretty inspirational! Descending through Gorge de la Nesque was amazing too-its the most stunning scenery-you start really high and the road gradually winds down through the gorge. Every day the views were inspirational, a feast for the eyes.
What did you think of your group leader?
The group leader was excellent. Actually I can't praise Andy, Dave and Thierry from Exodus highly enough! They could not have done more to look after everyone in the group, whatever level cyclist they were. Support, encouragement, bike maintenance, superb routes, planning-they were all just excellent. Thierry also provided delicious picnics en route and was always there in the support vehicle at key points at road junctions so you knew where to go. He knew the best coffee stops and pointed out things of interest along the way such as old churches so you could enjoy a bit of local history too!
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
My advice is to book this trip! It's a truly incredible and memorable experience. One of the best trips I have done, you get such a massive sense of achievement! I loved it so much I am thinking of doing it all over again! -Don't be frightened to take your own bike, I took my own (a light carbon bike with compact chainset) and it was just perfect for getting me up Ventoux, but you can also borrow a bike out there if required; everyone who borrowed bikes was really pleased with their quality. -You don't need to know anything about bike maintenance either, the Exodus crew are highly knowledgable on anything mechanical which was reassuring. -Take plenty of warm layers-arm warmers, leg warmers, gilet, windproof and waterproof jackets, long gloves, toe warmers, buff-it's freezing on the descents and at the top of Ventoux and the support vehicle carries everything for you, so you can take any layers off before the climbs. It can be quite hot in the valley and several degrees lower at the top of Ventoux. -Take your own energy drink, bars and gels (take lots) there is nowhere to buy anything like that locally!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I'd like to thank Exodus for a superbly planned trip, I highly recommend it. If you are thinking about booking....do it! Make sure you are fit then go and have the experience of a lifetime!