The Road to Ventoux - Part 34

Road to Ventoux - Part 34

D-Day: The third climb, up from Sault….

The Ventoux3 challenge is raising money for the Out of the Blues charity at

Sault is less bike orientated than Bedoin or Maulene. There is a tiny little square with a boulangerie that sells filled baguettes that cyclists seem to like, and there were half a dozen munching away desperately trying to stay in what shade they could find. By this stage, the outside temperature was over 30C.

I was not in a hurry to set off back up the mountain for the third time, but eventually I did with Sasha joining me for this climb. While the climb to Chalet Reynard is not steep (4-5%), it does go on for around 20km. We both knew that we needed to take it easy given the heat. I was pleasantly surprised that while my legs felt tired, they seemed to be working OK, pushing out a lower power than for the other two climbs, allowing me to keep my heart rate well down.

The 20km seemed to go on for ever, with us getting hotter and hotter. Then consternation! I stood up out of the saddle to give my backside a rest and both my hamstrings went into cramp. I had to pull over and let it settle and gently stretch my legs. However, a nagging seed of doubt was sown in my mind – could I manage to complete the challenge?

I managed to get going again, and Sasha and I rolled gratefully into Chalet Reynard for a break and re-fuel before starting the final section. When climbing from Bedoin, the road from Chalet Reynard to the top seems a bit of a relief since it comes after 10km of 9-10% gradient. However, when you are climbing from Sault, it feels very different. While the last 6km averages 6-17%, there are a few sections at 11-12%.

This was in our minds as we set off for the last 6km, with 131km behind me………

Further information about the challenge, and my blogs about my training, can be found at

Hamish McAllister-Williams

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