Early start before setting off in the now customary brass monkey weather conditions to meet up with Ross Blake – my partner in crime for the forthcoming Paris/ Roubaix challenge – and Duncan Brown for a ride down to Brighton. Not something I’ve done before and in my mind I imagined it as a lot of main roads and not much scenery but in fact it turned out to be quite the opposite. Almost entirely on B roads and some pretty attractive countryside to ride through had us in Brighton just 3 and a bit hours later having set off just after 7:30 from Tooting, we were back at Clapham Junction by midday. The ‘highlight’ if you can call it that of this ride is the climb up Ditchling Beacon which comes right at the end (you can see the ride profile here). Not having done it before I didn’t really know what to expect and so just followed Ross up and we knocked it off without too much problem but every time I find myself in first gear I can’t help thinking about Ventoux. Ditchling Beacon is a pretty tough climb but it is 1.6 km long with an average gradient of 8.4% (max 16%). Ventoux is slightly less steep (7.5% average gradient, maximum 12%) but considerably longer (approx. 21km!) and I’ll have had to ride about 3 times further to get there than I did for Ditchling Beacon today.
Some good pictures of Ventoux here. Can’t possibly imagine what riding in sunshine must feel like!