A few days ago we rode the train south from Paris to Avignon. Yesterday we watched the Tour time trial up in Annesy, which is quite a lovely town. But the big moment was the day before yesterday, when we rode Mont Ventoux. Ventoux is a climb that people make a really big deal about—it’s about 5,200 feet of climbing. But since just a two weeks ago I did the Death Ride—well, it simply seemed relatively manageable.
However, I have to say that the harder route from Bedoin (which I chose even though a number of our group took the easier route up from Sault) was a relentlessly steep grade--one of those where 8 percent feels like a reprieve. And it just kept going with no break for about 10 miles. I reached the summit with Jim Balsillie, the guy who started Blackberry, who also happens to be a great guy. We felt triumphant--him more than me, probably, since the terrain in Vancouver is mostly rollers that never go over 5 percent... they're not used to the type of climbing we have in the Bay Area. Greg Avis was the first to the top, followed closely by several other strong climbers in our group--Jim Ochowicz, Andy Ball, and Lee Kranefuss.