As summer was approaching I planned for a different climbing experience but I simply can’t complain.
It all started when my Land Rover broke down half an hour down the M25 as we were driving towards Dover, the gateway of 2.5 weeks of fun in Switzerland in France. As we were being towed back to Wimbledon we wasted no time come up with a plan B.
We rebooked our ferry tickets for the night, had a couple of hours kip in the evening and drove straight down to Grachen in the Swiss Alps (near Zermatt).
My friend did the epic Zermatt ultra marathon and me still having a running injury, I opted for a partial course run which meant we run up (walked / crawled) upto Riffelberg 2585m together. To my friend’s delight, I suggested we rented mountain bikes the following day and boy we had some fun on the trails. You simply can’t get bored of the views of Matterhorn.
Swiss trip quickly over, we drove back to the UK and after a couple of days we were packing up again for a week in France.
Too many highlights to mention but probably the Etape du Tour was one of them. Despite the third climb, Col de La Ramaz was taken out of the route due to landslide, the sportif which started in Megeve and finished in Morzine was fantastic.
We were due to climb Mont Blanc a few days later (on our feet) but bad weather forced us (again) to come up with plan B. Map of France in one hand and accuweather in the other, we decided to head south and check out Mont Ventoux. We felt slightly silly turning up in Bedoin mid week expecting to find accommodation easily, not realising THE Tour was coming through 2 days!
At this point our adventure had been missing something… wild camping! Funnily enough, we both slept amazingly and I had absolutely blast riding up Ventoux the following morning.
Starting point in Bedoin. All smiles.
Fans already parked up all the way to the top, their cheering and clapping certainly gave me an extra little boost when needed. Nearing the top the wind picked up, so hard in fact that it blew me off going directly to the summit and forced me to ride around the edge and to the top. My friend failing to bring the car up due to heavy traffic at the bottom, I had to ride back down which due to the crazy wind was pretty eerie at times. Nevertheless, Mont Ventoux lived up to its’ name and I can’t wait to be back one day and ride up on different sides.
Mont Ventoux from the Summit
The weather on Mont Blanc was terrible so we decided to head for Alpe D’Huez for a last adventure of the trip. We found a cool (quite literally) campsite near the starting point and the following morning, in winter gear we headed up the 13.8km route navigating 21 hairpins.
One of the many switchbacks of Alpe D’Huez
I lost my friend at turn 13 if I remember well but after making it to the top and having turned around, he was still on his bike pushing it up hard so decided to turn around and summit with him again in the glorious sunshine.
What a finale to an incredible week, France you did not disappoint!
© copyright 2021 by Alexandra Nemeth