Recovery Time from (Trying to) Cycle Ventoux 3x in a Day

Hi All

I have entered the Le Etape de Tour next year (July 5th 2020) which will be a huge challenge for me. I have been riding 2.5 years and have never embarked on such a big challenge before so I will be training hard for that.
I presently cycle 7-8 hours a week but will increase this from march onwards building to 15 hours a week of cycling.

I have cycled Alp de Huez and done 3-4 century rides. My FTP is a very modest 245watts (based on the TR Ramp Test).

I live in Buckinghamshire so have no big mountains on my doorstep but am entering a few sportives with climbing for prep (Dragon Ride, Tour de Yorkshire etc).
I have been offered to go to France to cycle Mount Ventoux on June 17th/18th 2020 (which is 17 days before Le Etape). I have always wanted to try to cycle this mountain 3x in a day from the 3 different sides.
My questions is, is trying to do this so close to Le Etape likely to carry fatigue from Ventoux to Le Etape?

Has anyone cycled Ventoux 3x in a day and how long did it take them to recover from it?

My assumption if I did it would be that apart from some Zone 2 rides, I wouldn’t be doing any big rides once Ventoux is done to allow recovery from one event to the next.

But I don’t want to ruin my chances of completing Le Etape by being silly just before it either.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Yup… did last year.

Not sure what recovery means in this context as I pretty much stayed off the bike the next week. I was ill for the ride itself which wasn’t wise but it was manageable. Took the week to recover my health. Legs felt ok on a spin seven days later. I would have rather done some rides to get the recovery in properly. So I think if you manage the power output you should be fine. Ventoux is long but not steep so you can keep it around tempo with out burning yourself up. So for your FTP, not a million miles from mine back then. I would guess an average of 170 -190W would be doable. I was 150W for the day but as mentioned I was ill and faded a bit.


I rode Ventoux 3x on the same day back in 2017 as part of the Cent Cols Challenge. Recovery wasn’t an option, as we rode 200km to Gap the day afterwards. That said, two days after Ventoux, I came down with a chest infection which more or less shelved me for two weeks. For reference, my FTP at the time was around 3.95w/kg and I had ridden approx. 1000km/month in the 8 months leading up to it, while working with a coach/structured program (this was before I discovered TR).

Under normal circumstances, assuming you’re bringing a good level of fitness into it, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t do the Ventoux day and still be in good form for the Etape in Nice, especially if you manage your power on the Ventoux day. Stick to the plan, train consistently and definitely find opportunities to climb where and when you can. Ventoux remains for me a highlight of my cycling career thus far - you won’t be disappointed! See you in Nice at l’Etape!

BTW what are you doing for water? My ride was supported…

…also better set off damn early. We left just before sunup.

Thanks for the advice.
Cpac - I look forwards to seeing you there. Nervous already but it wouldn’t be a challenge if it didn’t make your heart beat a little faster when thinking about it.

Simonicusfacilis - I will have two 750ml water bottles on the bike and have read there are some fountains on the way up the mountain. I sweat a lot so was planning to fill my bottles up as I came across them and if I did miss them, I would have to buy the overly expensive (from what I have read) bottles of water at a the top.
Do you have any suggestions?
We plan to set off as early as possible which hopefully means a cooler start and more recovery time between ascents.
The ride isn’t supported so we need to plan food etc over the next couple of months

your taking the easy option, there a 4th way up :slight_smile:

done a few years a go part of a week long trip and i was ok the following days with no ill effects

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Isn’t that off road though?
I’m hiring a road bike so don’t want to lose my deposit by getting it dirty :wink: lol

Hi @Day,

I wouldn’t worry about ruining your chances. Quite the opposite.

When training for Etape 2018 with a far more modest FTP I did something similar 2 weeks before the big day: a 3-day bikepacking weekend loop essentially following the Marmotte route (Telegraphe-Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Croix de Fer, ~200km & 4500m elevation gain). This was prompted from reading/hearing recommendations several times to do a ‘max training stress’ weekend 2-3 weeks beforehand. It might have even been from Coach Chad on the podcast.

It was a good confidence boost yet also a useful reality check in terms of estimating climbing speed. Also excellent way to test nutrition.

After a few days recovery, I completed the last 2 weeks of the Century Speciality MV plan and also did a 100km z2-3 8 days before the Etape. As a woman in late 40s I don’t recover quickly in general from long hard rides, but after following the SSB & SB plans I was in best shape of life and felt completely recovered and eager to go by the time Etape rolled around, and ended up having a great day. So much so that I too am registered for EdT 2020.

In retrospect perhaps I resumed my TR workouts a day or two too early, so 17-days remaining could be even better timing.

One thing to check: my friend runs a bike tour company (44|5 cycling tours) that runs a lot of Mont Ventoux rides, and he just told me that there is construction work planned for the summit. He’s already had to cancel a tour that was planned for May, but the issue was their support van couldn’t drive up; I think it’s still feasible to ride. But I would double-check the road status just to be safe.

Thanks for your help shosking. It has given me some confidence that I should be OK and may even get the benefit of some mountain legs for Le Etape.

I looked online about Ventoux and construction work but when you type it in all you get is general information about cycling and the mountain.
Do you know where I could find anything more about this please as just about to book our hotel (flights already booked).
Really hoping it won’t be closed!!

Good stuff, i’m heading over from Australia to do the event too, sounds like some beers in Nice will be in order for a little TR meet up!

I just did another L’etape over the weekend which was similar in profile, and did a big ride of 150km 3000m climbing 2 weeks out (huge for me…its all relative), and by race day I felt really strong. I’m a rider with around a year of training with TR and nothing prior. 2 weeks out is probably a good time (n=1), and between then and the race you’re unlikely to make any gains in fitness anyway.

For me as an inexperienced rider it was more about having some confidence that i’d done something similar in nature, along with bulletproofing nutrition on the bike, as i have a pretty fussy stomach.

I also think part of why i signed up to TR was to get stronger on the bike, and to enjoy the gains after the build. If Ventoux is something you want to go and do, you should.

I’m also pretty inexperienced and have no idea what to expect at Le Etape. I’m hoping my legs will be OK although I have a propensity to cramp so hoping it is 100 degrees!

Beers post event always good :wink:

I’m impressed you are already doing 150mm rides with 3000m of elevation. You will be flying by the time Le Etape comes round…I’ll see you at the start and then sometime after you finish as I’ll be wayyyyy back lol.

Have asked my friend for more deets on ventoux closure, but I think he’s off-radar on mini cycling trip. Will let you know when I hear back.

Oh, guess he’s not toff-radar after all!

To quote:

“All we know is that there’ll be work at the summit in spring & fall next. It seems they will allow bikes to the top, though. Not cars.”

If you are still looking for accommodations, this B&B is set up for specifically for cyclists and run by a Brit couple. They might also have more info as to the planned roadworks, since they’re locals (my friend lives much further).

I stayed here under previous owners, and the location is a) gorgeous and b) ideal for Ventoux access since it’s ~midway between Malaucene and Bedoin.

What a trip! When I saw this is unsupported my first thought was to give John and Gerry a shout. I did Ventoux (once, from Bedoin) and Alpe d’Huez with them in Sept.

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Thank you for asking for me, that is really appreciated :slight_smile:

So I guess my idea of driving to the summit if my legs gave way whilst trying to cycle it just to take some summit photos to make it look like I made it is off then?! lol

Now I just need to hope the weather isn’t either blowing a gale or 100 degrees.

Thanks again and happy cycling