The Beast of Provence. Sat in the Vauclause, this bald topped behemoth casts a shadow for many a mile around it.
Known amongst cyclists for its use in Le Tour de France, Le Ventoux is synonymous with the name Tom Simpson, a British cyclist who died whilst trying to climb it during the Tour in 1967. A memorial to him was built about a kilometre from the summit, and the steps leading to it are always full of souvenirs from riders who have reached the summit and leave a token of their respect to Simpson.
It’s a windy place up top, the wind blows at over 55mph for more than 240 days a year, but can also be dead still, with temperatures in the forest regularly over 40 C in the summer.
Seen from a distance, the peak seems to be snow covered all year round, but this is due to the harsh deforestation that took place around the 12th century, the trees being sent to the docks in Toulon to be used for shipbuilding. Trees have been planted regularly since, but there are no plans to go any higher than they are now, leaving the last 6km’s from Chalet Reynard as bald as they’ve been for the last 900 + years.
I have a hate/hate relationship with this hill, I hate it, it absolutely hates me and yet, this isolated bastion of the Alps will have the pleasure of my company again a week from today and again in a few weeks time.
Why do people climb mountains? Because they’re there. Why do cyclists ride up mountains? For exactly the same reason.
A post on my first ride up The Ventoux is available here if interested: https://nosh216.com/2014/08/01/no-shade-in-the-shadow-of-greatness/
The letter V was bought to you by:http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/