Author Topic: Provence 2018  (Read 145 times)

lewis noble

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Provence 2018
« on: October 04, 2018, 11:58:44 AM »
Hello everyone – I think I mentioned in the thread about my Audax delivered at the end of last year that we had a holiday planned in Provence in September.  We returned a few days ago, here are some notes.

The holiday was unfortunately cut a bit short,as my wife Dilys wanted to return to the funeral of a close friend – so she flew home from Marseilles Provence Airport after about a week in Provence – airport about 1 hr 40 minutes from where we were based.  I returned to Ventoux then visited Vercors and a friend in Limoges. But we managed some good day rides in the time we were together, which all went well.  I used the Audax, and Dilys was on her £300 very upright Ridgeback – she is a light but powerful rider, a keen rower.

Our first base was a campsite in Villes sur Auzon – a very attractive town at the foot of the Gorge de la Nesque.  From there we did two good rides plus a few days shorter sightseeing rides  –

1)   Ascent of Gorge de la Nesque from Villes sur Auzon to Sault.  A beautiful ride, steady uphill gradient, very narrow in parts but very few vehicles, mostly cyclists on lightweight bikes.  A steady ‘cyclists’ grade, middle chainring for me all the time – until the last quite steep ascent into Sault at the end of the ride! 30k each way, approx 650 m of ascent. Warm and sunny, lovely.

2)   The next day, we again rode up the Gorge, but on another road the other side, from Methamis to Monieux.  A harder ride – more ascent, steeper grades and variable road surface.  But the same lovely descent back down the Gorge on the earlier route.

We then moved to a campsite at Sault for the big one – my ambition since I got the Audax

3)   Sault to summit of Mt Ventoux.  I guess many of you know that the ascent from Sault is the longest, but the most easily graded in the early stages.  Another lovely day, gentle breeze.  From the campsite, the round trip was around 55k, I reckon about 1250m of ascent.

This was a long, long plod, bottom chainring a fair bit of the time, lots of water stops – we took c 3 litres of water between us, temperature was mostly in the high 20s deg C. We got to Chalet Reynard in about 2 hours, and heard that the summit was very cloudy and cold – but we pressed on anyway, and it changed to scorching sunshine and clear weather with slightly hazy views.  Very little wind, we were lucky.

We felt very chuffed to have made it to the summit, two 71 yr olds, keen but occasional cyclists rather than dedicated / daily.  We both ended up walking / pushing some of the final ascent up from Chalet Reynard, but so what.

At least 80% of the other riders (and there were many of them) were on carbon fibre lightweights, many of the rest electrics, most of them supported. We were carrying all our own water and food, repair kit etc . . . . though I guess some of them were attempting all 3 ascents in the one day! We sailed down the grade back into Sault, the breeze helping to keep speed under control on the steepest bits. 

We also did a day ride around some of the villages east of Sault, St Trinit and towards Forcalquier . . . maybe next year.  I would also like next year to do the circuit of the Mt Ventoux foothills, probably a 2 – 3 day ride.  Villes sur Auzon would make a good base for this.  We parked our campervan at Les Verguettes campsite, excellent.

As expected, the Audax was comfortable and fault-free.  The only ‘incident’ we had was when I reversed the van, with bikes on the towbar mounted carrier, into a tree stump which shouldn’t have been there . . . bent the carrier but no other damage.

I will try and post some photos in a separate post, they are on my phone at present.

Best wishes.

Lewis
 

lewis noble

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 12:04:36 PM »
Photos will, I hope, follow [and so...!  ;D I posted this one on Lewis' behalf. -- Dan]
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 07:19:42 PM by Danneaux »
 

silverdorking

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 02:13:46 PM »
I'm in admiration of your Ventoux accent Lewis, most impressive. Mount Vontoux loomed large as I was heading down to Nice, 2016. I persuaded myself that it would be silly to attempt the Sault climb fully loaded on my Raven and unsafe to dump four full panniers at the campsite! So I pressed on towards Nice but have regarded my wimpiness as a cop out ever since.
Only 3l water load on this climb; I seem to recall your penchant for a full load of groceries when climbing up near Applecross!

lewis noble

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 07:09:37 PM »
Been trying all afternoon to post picture of me on Audax at the summit, but it won't send / post. I think the problem is phone will not reduce size of photo, and have not yet been able to transfer to laptop. Technoligical ineptitude also a factor!!

Photos not easy at summit, crowds, professional photographers shoving groups around, but me on Audax is the best I could do. Hope it gets on here soon.
 

Danneaux

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 07:20:57 PM »
I posted the one you sent to your prior post above, Lewis. Terrific photo, fantastic feat, well done! This puts you in the same company as all the TdF riders I've seen on television.

Bike and rider looking spiffy!

All the best,

Dan.

lewis noble

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2018, 09:20:42 PM »
Thanks for your comments, silverdorking . . . . yes, I packed our kit carefully this time! We drank all the water, ate the sandwiches, and didn't need the spare tubes / chain fixing kit.

As mentioned elsewhere, the Audax has been 100% reliable, no punctures with the Schwalbe One tyres now on.  I think many of the lightweight cycles we saw were hired from local cycle shops, who had racks of bikes outside - so most well maintained and we saw few breakdowns; but we did meet one guy whose rear mech had broken in two on the earlier part of the ascent. he was unconcerned, fixed the limit screws I think to keep it in the bottom gear, and set off for the top, saying that he had a friend with a spare mech at the top!!

I'll stick to the proven sturdy kit that Thorn fit!

As mentioned in first post, my wife left early - I moved on to Vercors, S W of Grenoble.  A fascinating area for me because of it's Resistance history - no real relevance on this Forum.  Isolated, difficult to access, a high and remote plateau.  I saw a few groups of cyclists, and had the impression that the rides (e.g. Col de Bataille) were even harder than Provence.  So why less famous? I guess because the access roads are still so narrow and curvy that the Tour de France circus would have difficulty getting there.  I saw a few groups of cyclists, less than in Provence, several of them really labouring on the last stages of the long steep climbs - has anyone on here visited that area?

Lewis


 

jags

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Re: Provence 2018
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 10:14:50 PM »
great bit of cycling Lewis fair play to you,never been meself i'd never get up those col's my son did a lot of them but young and fit as a fiddle, maybe in the next life ;)

anto.