Les Cringles du Ventoux

Hi All

I am setting a goal next year of cycling Ventoux three times in a day.

I am writing out a training plan for next year but living in the South of England, most of our hills are short and punchy. So I am looking at a couple of weekends in England or Wales that can provide longer climbs to help me get fitter for the goal.

Can anyone recommend areas or hills that might be worth considering for training weekends please?
Most of my training will have to be on the turbo but would be nice to get some outdoor climbing in.

Thanks in advance.
David

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I’m not in the UK, so have no recommendations for you, but just a reminder that there is a virtual version of the Ventoux in Zwift.

So you can get plenty of simulated practice whenever you want.

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Depending on whether you just want to survive or whether you want to set some good times may make a difference.

For the average rider climbing from the base to the summit is a 200-300 watt effort for around 90 minutes. You can do the same just riding on the flat if you want so I would argue that you don’t need to find Sunny England’s Ventoux to train for the Ventoux. Watts is watts, after all. The Ventoux climbs are not that steep, a few ramps at 12% but generally in the 7 to 10% range so with the right gearing not a major challenge. A lot of the southern English climbs are short and steep, so hard to find anything that is useful for training. You’d probably find 25 mile TTs more useful.

The difficulties you may face are wind, heat and nutrition. Especially heat on the second and third climbs of the day and obviously keeping fed/watered for such a tiring day in the saddle. Wind, well if it is too windy to cycle, it is too windy and it only tends to get windier during the day.

Oh btw, I think you mean “Cinglés du ventoux”, A cinglé is someone who is mad.

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Specificity is highly overrated. Of course it’s good to have experienced a long climb before, but to build fitness, I would clearly advise to go with the most effective/ efficient intervals over just trying to climb a long climb in England (which isnt even going to come close to Ventoux after all).
Most efficient intervals to build fitness:

  • 4-6*8min @106% of FTP
  • 6-8*4min (try to average as high as you can, doesn’t make sense to focus on staying in zone).
  • 2*15x30/30s (something like 125-135% FTP, go as high as you can)

Coming closer to the event, I’d refer to something like zwift. I like doing double Alpe du Zwift at low Z4.

A long day like that will also require endurance. Long Z2 rides on any terrain are a good basis, and a good way to get better at fueling for long rides. The majority of people underfuel, especially when not having adapted well to eating a lot during long days and not having found what foods work for you.
No matter how fit you are, this is a >4‘000kcal effort, so know what to eat and how much of it.

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@Day

I’m in Scotland so have some decent climbs.

I’ll maybe see you there…

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I’d echo the sentiment that specificity is not that important in this context.

I road across the Pyrenees this summer, with almost every day having ~10,000 ft of climbing or more. It was fun.

This despite absolutely no hill/climbing practice at all - where I live it is as flat, or flatter, than The Netherlands. I am lucky to get 100ft of elevation in 300km of riding.

What’s likely more important is practicing holding your target power for the duration of how long you think this will take you.

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Another vote for targeting general fitness over specific hill climbing prep in England. I’ve done the Cingles and Galerien (plus one unsuccessful Bicinglette attempt - I’m going to go back and get that done) while living in London. Getting into shape where you are you ‘happy’ riding for a long time at quite high intensities (Z2, Z3, Z4) can be done on the flat or on the turbo.

Getting outside for big rides and learning pacing, eating, drinking etc are valuable things to do. But I wouldn’t focus as much on elevation metres climbed personally.

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It’s a bit more than 90 mins for the average rider. I would think many will be over 2 hours, particularly if doing multiple ascents a day.

It’s 1600m from bottom to top, so 90 mins would be 1067VAM which would take about 4w/kg for 4 hours 30 minutes of climbing. Most riders will likely be quite a lot slower than that

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Yeah, 90 minutes for each of the two big ascents (Bedoin and Malaucene) is unlikely to be sustainable.
I did a 75 minutes ascent from Bedoin last year and that was some 306W at 70kg of body weight. The Malaucene ascent is probably even a little longer, with the same amount of of climbing over a longer distance…

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You are right, I was just giving a guestimate. I recall being something in the 90 minutes+ range when I last climbed the beast but I’ve never climbed it three times in a day. I have done similar kinds of rides and pacing and nutrition were key after fitness.

Do you have the right gearing? You will need to do sustained bits at 10%. You can plug in the numbers in this calculator (http://bikecalculator.com/) to check what the speed will be during those 10% bits and if your gearing is appropriate.

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Thanks for this.
Looking into fuelling etc in the new Year. I get what you say about general training. I did Alpe d Huez a few years ago just using Trainer Road and found the climb pretty comfy in the end, (stayed at my wife’s pace).
Not sure you can train for wind so will be a bit of luck involved too I guess?!

These are really useful, thank you so much for these.
Just coming off of 5 months off the bike through injury so a lot of Z2 base right now but will start looking at building these into my routine once I am closer to where I was in June.
I appreciate the workouts and am going to look into Swift finally. I must be the only person who has never used that platform!

Would be good :slight_smile:
Good luck with your training and lets hope for a very average summer in 2023 without much heat or rain lol

It’s good to hear so much consistency in what people are saying.
I cycled Alpe d Huez a couple of years ago and used to sit at 220w for 90 mins whilst watching a video of someone cycling it on their bike.
By the time I got to actually ride the mountain I found it pretty comfy so fully get what you say about being able to sit in zone for long periods.

Thank you

Thank you.

You sound like the voice of experience. Three times up and down is enough for me! Did you have to change bikes to do the Galerien? The Bicinglette is just another level I can’t even imagine.
You’ve made my challenge now sound a bit crap lol

Thanks for the link.
I was planning on a 34 at the back to give me a granny gear which I don’t usually have.
The first ascent will be with my wife so should be slower than I would usually do. The second will be on my own and then the third could be either just me or with my wife again. I promised to ride with her if she is there so tempo may be slightly out of my hands

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She’ll probably drop you on your 3rd ride up :wink:

Did the cingles in 2017 with lot less km and experience under the belt.

I did it in late june and the weather variation in one day was insane

Left malucene at 4am, first ascent it was cool and foggy at the top

Next from bedoin up, the heat in the forrest was intense and it was nice at the top.

Last one from sault, it was raining and blowing a gale at the top.

Focus on eating and hydration and the weather can be a lottery

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