Richard here - I had read that the route from Malaucene was the most beautiful of the three routes up the Mont Ventoux (21 km to summit at 1916 metre). Well, all I can say is that I really only saw the pavement, apart from when fixing a puncture. It was a clear warm day, left La Madelene at 0730 for the assault and didn't have too many companions on the way up. Reached the summit around 1030, just a few minutes ahead of the support team, whom I had had to divert on an errand. I drank about a litre of cherry flavoured Powerade on the climb up - appropriate because the cherries are in season here. I certainly wasn't the oldest cyclist pleased to be at the summit. There was still a little bit of snow there, but not where Alex, Calum, Bruce and I had tobogganed in 2006. There was little wind, so we were able to enjoy the view as I recovered prior to the ride down. Michelle and Sophie had their own excitement at the summit. A Porsche owner had not put on their handbrake and they found themselves pushing against the bonnet along with some others to stop it rolling off the mountain, until the owner finally responded to the shouts of excitement. Decided to do the downhill circuit via Bedoin (near Caromb where we stayed in 2006) back to Malaucene (so around 80 km in total). The descent wasn’t as fast as it could have been - I got stuck behind a motor cyclist and didn’t dare go round him on the twisting descent due to fears of colliding with upcoming vehicles & cyclists. My legs didn't appreciate the 448 metre climb over the Col de Madelene between Bedoin & Malaucene, although with the pressure of making the summit behind me, I did observe that it was a very pretty ride.
Note for potential riders - only a new tube is supplied in the kit with the rental bike, so pick up some patches, or extra tubes before heading up the mountain - it took some time before I was able to connect to a Telstra compatible phone tower (despite full signal on the phone) and ask Michelle and Sophie to pick up spares on the way up. Fortunately I didn't have another puncture, but did see other riders fixing their tubes further along the way - probably due to sharp fragments of pine cones, rather than litter.
Anyway, enough of blogging - I have to get back to eating lots of interesting food. A bientot.