KmM = Kilometer Marker
Here’s how 100GCC describes the climb from Bédoin: “The final journey to the summit, across the desolate peak, is without doubt the most unique and wonderful experience you can have on two wheels, which, together with the satisfaction of reaching the top, make Ventoux THE greatest cycling climb in France.”
We rode Mont Ventoux, also known as the Géant de Provence, from Bédoin early on a beautiful, calm, sunny day in early July. There were already riders on the road, and there were many riders on top, but the remarkable thing was how many riders we saw coming up as we were riding down. We started down at about 10 a.m. and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people on a climb that was not an organized ride. Mont Ventoux is such a popular ride that there were two professional photographers in different locations on the upper 6 km moonscape section, taking photos of the riders as they passed. After taking the photo, the photographer would rush out and tuck a business card in the back pocket of the passing cyclist.
This is definitely a must-do climb. From Bédoin (the classic, most popular climb), it’s a bit over 21 km with about 1,639 meters (5,377 feet) of climbing. From Malaucène (the second hardest way), it’s about 21 km with about 1,535 meters (5,036 feet) of climbing, but it only has about 1.5 km of moonscape at the top. From Sault (the easiest way), it’s about 26 km with 1,152 meters (3,780 feet) of climbing, and it shares the moonscape section with the climb from Bédoin.
Of course, some people do all three sides in a single day. There’s even a club, the Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux, which you can join by doing 3, 4, or 5 verified ascents in one day.
Gorges de la Nesque
If you are in the area, another ride you might consider is the Gorges de la Nesque. It’s an incredible road about 20 km long between Villes-sur-Auzon and Sault. The road is perched on the edge of the gorge with several narrow tunnels to go through and I think would best be ridden uphill (west to east) as you can the frighten yourself looking into the gorge and trying to avoid the edge. Fortunately there are very few cars on the road. Here’s a page about riding Mont Ventoux and the Gorges de la Nesque in a 90 km day. Here’s a page about the Gorges de La Nesque road as being one of the world’s most spectacular roads.