Tue 28 Apr 2009 14:06 BST
We spent the weekend in Provence, near the foot of Mont Ventoux, to celebrate Guy's birthday (39th). Found a great campsite with the most luxurious and hottest showers I've ever encountered outside of a hotel, marvelous. The shower block itself was about 30 degrees, it was tempting not to abandon our pitch and to sleep in there instead!
On our arrival on Friday evening, the top of the 'Giant of Provence' was veiled in a heavy grey cloud, not promising. The following day the Ventoux summit was clear, but we were surprised to see that there was still a fair bit of snow laying about in pockets. The treeless, white rock summit can sometimes look snowy from a distance even at the height of summer, but this was the real thing! It didn't take long to make the decision not to ride up there on such a chilly and blustery day. We know from past experience that if there's even a light breeze on the flat, at the top of Ventoux that is amplified into howling winds that do their very best to blow you off the bike!
So, we stayed low, Guy found a great area for an explore; the 'Dentelles de Montmirail' (see photo top left). The 'Dentelles' are a chain of rock formations in forested lowland, where the woods are punctuated by lots of neat little vineyards. The road in places was a bit more mountain bike than road bike, but we had a beautiful ride nonetheless (despite the lack of tarmac and the rocky surface we remained puncture free - then back on the main road, ripped a brand new Continental to shreds on a 'discarded' glass bottle, ouch!).
My spirits were lifted after the puncture repair by a much better reason to stop at the side of the road - a 'fruity pit stop' as Guy called it! Local strawberries for sale by the punnet, ripe and warm from the sun and full of flavour - just the thing to keep us fueled up before we rolled back into Malaucene, up and over the lovely little Col de Madeleine and on back to the campsite for a slap-up tea on the camping stove and a boiling hot shower.
Sadly Sunday was a washout, even the local vintage tractor rally looked to have been canceled due to rain. The rival event, the 'asparagus fair', didn't really grab us, so we trundled back home to the village where the rain was clearing up and a beautiful rainbow welcomed us back to the Col d'Ornon.
For some photos of the trip (including mouthwatering strawberries!) see our photo album: Click here.