So having already done Mt. Ventoux from Malaucene twice and Sault once I was looking to do Ventoux for a fourth time. However having recently competed in the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross race I was keen to find an off road ascent. Having recently spoken to Richard Allen from “Here Come the Belgians” I found out about the Piste de Graviers Blancs (the track of the white gravel) which starts from Bedoin and goes to the Chalet Reynard, leaving the last 7ish KM to the top on the road. After some research I found out that at about 15KM there is a junction on the Piste de Graviers Blancs where you can turn left on to the Piste de Tetes Chauvre, which then takes you to within 4KM of the summit on the Malaucene road, this is what I decided to do.
We arrived a day early and parked the van between Malaucene and Bedoin not far from the top of the Col de Madeleine on the Bedoin side. The next morning after a fair few glasses of Van-Rouge the night before, I free-wheeled down to Bedoin to start my ride, not much of a warm up for what was about to start. Riding up from Bedoin and trying to find the start was the hardest bit, luckily I had spent a bit of time the previous night looking for it. It seems strange that it is so hard to find, almost as if the locals don’t want people to go up this way. The piste de graviers blancs is exactly that and the start was quite slippery so I had to push the bike around a few corners that where like riding on marbles. Once the first K was done though all is good and the whole thing is ride able. I was on my cross bike with 35MM Landcruiser tyres and had a 38 chainring and huge 42 rear sprocket which I used a fair bit.
I was never really sure I was on the right route until I got to the aforementioned junction, however I found the track so good I just decided to keep riding it, as long as it was 1. still going up and 2. I kind of new it was going roughly in the right direction. I actually thought it was going up and around to the Malaucene road much lower.
Anyway once the road got to the junction for the tete de chauve I knew I was good. This track was not as steep and once upon a time was tarmac so the riding was much quicker, in fact once you get to this junction there is only just over 8KM to go half of which is on the road.
The whole way up I only saw one jeep, even once I got to the last 4KM on the road, I only saw two cars, it was the end of October though. I think a cross bike would almost be certainly the quickest bike to do this on. I created a segment from Bedoin to the top and find that I am the third quickest, the two before me were both on mountain bikes and a lot younger that me so I think the cross bike was the right choice. If I ever go back (almost certainly) I would like to ride up and down this way. However riding down on your own would be a bit risky as there is nobody to be seen on this route so a crash on your own could turn into a bit of an epic adventure.
Mt Ventoux off road ascent
If you have not seen it before a video about the bike, a Viner Super Prestige Sram Rival Cross bike
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