Tuesday, 6 May 2014

5am, Wednesday 7 May

Of course it's perfectly normal to wake up at 5am when you don't have to get up until 7am, particularly when you're about to drive from Henley on Thames to Mont Ventoux and ride up it on a Raleigh Chopper. I was woken just as I, Chris Froome and Felix (six years' old) were negotiating the final hair pin bend to see Didi (four years' old) at the summit. There she was, in the car park sitting on her pink bike with stabilisers and eating a lolly under the observant watch of Eddy Merckx who was loading a bike into the boot of a beautiful Volvo P1800ES. I've never been to Ventoux and so before their bed time last night, I showed Felix and Didi a youtube clip of an accelerated ascent of the mountain in around 8 minutes. As Felix remarked on the steepness of certain sections I realised that I had not seen this before and that I had no idea what it would be like. As with all mountains, the early part seemed ordinary and even the wooded slopes appeared to be typical. The trees dwindled, however, and the bare white summit came into view. It was then I began to understand fully how critical the wind will be on Friday. The forecast wind speed has gone from 20kph up to 35kph in the past 24 hours. I hope this trend doesn't continue. In any event, if I make it to the top, as I turn the final bend I will be looking forward to racing Felix and Chris Froome to the car park and chatting with Eddy Merckx about his duel to the summit with Didi.

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