By far… biking Mont-Ventoux this year with my husband, has been my favorite bike ride in my entire life.

I rate this ride, 5 epic stars of badass beast mode! The stats by themselves are fucking nuts. In 13 miles you climb 5183 ft with an average gradient of 7.4%. At times you felt like you were going to fall over your bike.

We rode this beast of a mountain by taking the Bedoin-Mont-Ventoux route which has been used 15 times in Le Tour de France. Each time Jimmie and I would watch this stage on TV, we would say out loud, "one day we will ride it”! Well.. “one day” was this September!

After I raced in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice-France, our dream came true to ride the Giant of Provence... also known as the “Beast of Provence”. We were about 4 hours from Mont-Ventoux so we did a small road trip along the French Rivera before we faced our epic dream.

The top of the mountain of Mont-Ventoux is bare limestone without vegetation or trees and can be seen miles in the distance. We started our ride from our hotel, Crillon le Brave, with our sight on the white tip. We headed to Bedoin and from there, the 13 ruthless miles began to the top. Once we cleared the forest, we came out into the white lunar landscape and it was simply incredible. The last 4 miles are truly the hardest. You are exposed in the open to all elements, especially the winds, and you can see the tower growing bigger and bigger and the gradient becomes harder and harder. About 1/2 mile from top, you pass Tom Simpson’s memorial, famous British cyclist who died in Le Tour de France after falling from exhaustion and insisted on getting back on his bike and collapsed again and died. 

Passing his memorial site reminded me to keep living my life to the fullest by doing the things that I am most passionate about. I have never felt more reassured this year, that I am on the right path of my life. 

Ventoux was tough. Reaching the summit was exhilarating and empowering. My journey up this beast completely solidified my dream to become a triathlete coach. Between racing in Nice IM 70.3 World Championship technical bike course and now Ventoux it made me realize how much untapped and raw potential I have as a cyclist.

The minute I landed back in the States, I have been working one-on-one with Adam from STM Cycling and he suggested that I attend the Peaks Coaching Group Fall Cycling Camp. Tomorrow I head out with my fiat and Pinarello for a 5-day cycling camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia to learn directly from Hunter Allen. I will be totally out of my comfort zone as I just purchased a power meter for my bike and Adam gifted me a heart rate monitor, and now I am ready to learn everything that I don’t know... which fuck… is a LOT.

Follow me along in this new adventure that is keeping me up at night with excitement!

Esther Collinetti