The White Ventoux

These days it’s all about being adaptable, imaginative even. With the boundaries of the possible drawn tight, exploring or rediscovering our local playgrounds is often the only option. That or nothing which is no choice at all. We shouldn’t complain when close at hand we have Mont Ventoux.

The snow fell almost everywhere in France in recent days except on our side of the Mediterranean. It seemed unfair to miss out and if the snow won’t come to us, the easy decision is to go to find it. And close at hand we have Mont Ventoux.

Call it a whim or blame Denis but either way we decided to make a winter attempt on the giant of Provence. The plan was to take the classic route from Bedoin then a descent on the north face to Malaucène.

After a week of sub-zero temperatures, the announcement of a thaw was the starting gun. With the idea to ride on compact snow and the confidence of reaching Chalet Reynard without trouble. And the second part was kind of true.

The thaw was serious, even too serious in fact. The snow had quickly become soft and sticky and slowed down our climb. We can’t lie, we walked a lot. But as much as we walked, we laughed. And that always balances out the problems faced.

Any time you set off to discover new trails through the mountains, it is not uncommon to hit the limit even of a gravel bike. If you want to find new routes, carrying your bike on sections that are too steep becomes inevitable, it's all part of the game.

In this case, after reaching so far, it would have been a shame to turn back. There was a childish satisfaction of crossing this impassable pass and that was almost rewarding enough. Throwing snowballs at each other like four kids in a playground is not part of your usual ride.

Balancing prudence, carelessness and warm clothing, the descent goes smoothly, allowing us to finish this highly unusual winter loop. It was unique and a completely fresh version of a tried and tested route. Which ultimately was the whole point.

After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

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