Mar 8, 2013

Distance today = 47.36 km; Total distance = 17,618.61 km; Location = Malaucene – 44 10.450′ N, 05 07.981′ E; Start time = 0904, Finish time = 1720


I woke to pouring rain – oh no, not again. But, by the time I started to run, the rain had stopped, and within half an hour the sun was out. It ended up quite a nice day, and certainly the hottest since I began in Europe. I could easily have run in shorts and a T-shirt.

By mid morning I had crossed the Rhone River. It’s the third time I’ve crossed this river on the same bridge, although the first two times were on a bike. From there, I was running through the Chateauneuf du Pape area of the Cotes du Rhone wine region. There were vineyards and wineries everywhere.

There is also a French Air Force base nearby, and they must have been doing drills today, as there was a constant stream of fighter jets landing and taking off. The sound of these things is incredible. You can hear them from miles away.

At this point, the clouds really started to clear, and all of sudden, the Giant of Provence stood in front of me. For those unfamiliar with the term, this is the name given to the long extinct stand-alone volcano of the region, Mont Ventoux. It is legendary on the Tour de France, and an impressive sight, rising up from the surrounding countryside. In 2011, I rode to the top of the mountain three times in one day, from the three different towns around its base – about 4,500 metres or 15,000 feet of climbing in a single day. I believe there are only about 4,000 people in the world who have ever done this, and I was quite chuffed at my achievement. I guess running around the world might top it, though, seeing as there’s only one person in the world so far who has done it, and two of us part way through at the moment.

I finished in the town of Malaucene, one of the three towns at the base of Mont Ventoux. I have come here to pay homage to the mountain. I would have run up it, except the road is closed for winter. I have run to the top before, but never from the very bottom. Oh well, it wasn’t to be.

From here, I’ll be heading north toward the Burgundy region over the next week. Definitely looking forward to that.