.... Deep in the mist of an early September morning in Provence, from a tiny town called Villes-sur-Auzon, I departed (along with my eight Mello Velo Tour clients in-tow somewhere behind me) on what was to be an epic race up the Mont Ventoux. The 3rd edition of the cyclosportif "Routes du Ventoux" was something that had occupied my thoughts for many difficult training miles this summer. I knew the course, I had made massive efforts on the mountain before, and most importantly, I had to make up for flatting in the race we did in May. I had to show the Frenchies that not all American cyclist are afraid of the Ventoux (subtle reference to Lance Armstrong and how the Ventoux was the only mountain that scared him). Bottom line: this day was made to be seized!
Unfortunately. there's not a lot to describe about racing up the Ventoux. The route took the north approach, through the town of Maulcene. It's rated to be the hardest way up, with stretches of plus 11% for a few km, and an average of 8% over 22km. If you got the engine, you'll be there near the front. If not, you'll be wishing you were anywhere else and cursing the French for paving a road which had no reason to be paved in the first place! But I was there, and I rep'd as well I could: Sexy Sidi shoes, a feature-light borrowed Phisher Price Trek Project One, and Mello Velo cut-off jersey (helmet strapped behind the head, of course). I think my ascent was less than 1'10", but I lost contact with four riders at the front in the last km, only to chase for 26 km downhill and catch them at the bottom for a tight sprint finish. I blame my lack of power at the end on my lack of a "Provencial Power Bar" (Banana and Nutella on a baguette). We were in a hurry and I didn't make the time to make one before the race. Still, first in my age group, fifth overall, I have to suffice.
And in the tradition of life and bikes in France, I must leave the cup I won behind bar at the Cafe de France, in Lacoste. The only difference is that now I know: no beer drinking from the cup!
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Mallorca in March...
Québec city, ready to host inaugural Tour de Québec in September.
Ok, let's get a few ground rules out of the way before we, me being the author and you being the kind reader, enjoy this article together.