Riding the road race route over Mt. Ventoux

A lap of the historic road race route around and over Mt. Ventoux (1912 m.), it’s a challenging route of 55 km. As well as a number of hairpin bends and a lot of altitude loss/gain there are a number of truly scary straight runs which end in either a blind curve (or multiple curves) with either hard rock, a sheer drop or just forest to greet you if you get it wrong. Not really time to appreciate the views of all of Provence from the Alps to the Mediterranean. A few opportunities to feel the breeze down the inside of the back of the suit from the intake on the speed bump but generally, sharing the road with so many Lycra fetishists (ie cyclists, and there are thousands of them) makes it difficult to imagine how the route would feel as a bike road race, like the TT. Anyhow, the villages were bustling and atmospheric, especially Bédoin on the south side.

Historically, the Automobile Club Vauclusien continued the tradition of organising motorsport road races on the roads of Mt. Ventoux, notably the Course de Cote de Mont Ventoux. This was the ascent from Bédoin up the south side route to the observatory at the summit. There's still a filling station on the way out of Bédoin and within direct sight of the summit; it’s possible to imagine it surrounded by the noise and bustle of a pit area.The route up from Bédoin is the oldest and steepest part of the Ventoux circuit, the hill-climb event dates from 1902, the first recorded motorcycle winner (in 1902) was M. Derny, riding a Clement, time 41 minutes and some seconds..I wonder how they synchronised the timing watches between the start and finish in 1902! Semaphore flag perhaps? Race classes evolved to include motorbikes, motorbike/sidecar combinations and various classes of cars. The road was closed to public traffic for the motorsport events and the villages had big festivals to greet the racing celebrities and the fans.
One can dream... the last serious motorsport event was organised in June 1976 although there are occasional rallies and unofficial speed challenges plus of course the cyclists’ Tour de France.