I respect you could see it a mile away that Cannes wasn’t about to make it on the Dirty Nomad ‘Top 5 places to see before the matrix sucks your will to live‘ list, but I will admit as to how much I disliked it. It wasn’t just the Fauxness and the Russian fleet, contributing factors yes, but ultimately what the fuck was I doing going away from a overly busy city in the cHub to visit another overly rammed location?
Just plain incorrect. With Cannes proving about as popular as putting your Skoda in reverse in a Peage booth, I needed to get things back on track with a winner. Just on the topic of these cunty toll roads, when it says its a ‘Credit Card booth‘ for payment, it actually means ‘French Credit Card only‘, yes, its 2-0 to Peage vs. Dirty Nomad and a new part of France hates me and my stranded Skoda. I’m unable to confirm the rumour I sweated through my shirt whilst yelling in French accented English at the help speaker like a lunatic.
How do you make sure you get the right intel and don’t put another foot wrong on where to go next? Simple: Lock in a Welsh Assassin recommendation. It went something like this:
DN: “Dude, need somewhere in France to stay eh, sup?”
WA: “Can you narrow it down to a particular Principality for me there old chap?”
DN: “Like, in the south and shit?”
WA: “Tres Bien old boy, got just the ticket for you – Lock in Beaumes de Venise! Its splendid and not far from Mont Ventoux for a warm up before you climb it in the big chain ring like I did, blindfolded”
And with that, the concept of cruising to a place I’ve never heard of was locked in. In the Assassin we trust and that trust was more than well rewarded, to start with, the place looks like an old Fortress, which is rad:
Welcome to La Maison des Ramparts gang. No Bullshit here, this is one of the raddest places I have stayed that’s not directly linked to cycling. Set your status anxiety to high and yes, this indulgence is a slightly incompatible with going full ENDURO, but fuck, I’m in a tent for a week soon, so may as well live it up a bit right? Come to the appropriate place then:
Don’t let the plush parade stop there, the Welsh Assassin had knocked it out of the park with this Royal Tip, I need little encouragement to let my inner indulgent cunt escape and make himself quite at home amongst the palatialness, which of course meant choosing between the hot tub and the pool. #dirtyfirstworldproblems:
Eat a massive pile of shit with smaller balls of shit on top Cannes, why anyone would want to go there unless paid to for a film festival is beyond me when places like this are kicking it. Have I gone mad and turned into some sort of un-PC version of Trip Advisor? Well, it may feel a bit that way, but wait, I went out and cooked up a tenuous link back to cycling here. Yes, there is a monster lurking in this story.
Peaking out there in the distance about to be bathed in rising sun action, is the Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux!
17km’s away lies the inner thigh gateway to the biggest Col in town, or should that be the only Col in town, Bedoin, and the scene where lemmings come to smash themselves against the Ventoux with almost religious like zeal. Did I want to join the gimps attempting it on Specialized Epic’s with underseat packs and colour myself cunt by riding up on my Nomad?
Absolutely not… Not only would it be disrespectful to the Mon-Ton, but this is a #fullENDURO trip and there was Citron Sorbet to slurp down with overly dramatic consumption sound effects. I did pay my respects to the sign though…
So, with a collection of local cuisine which I shouldn’t be touching a few days before TP acquired, it was into the Dirty Skoda for a Directeur Sportif recon lap of the beast. And fuck me, is it ever! Its one of the few famous French climbs I haven’t yet managed to knock off (ok, also ALL of the Pyrenees) and when I’m too old and fucked to race ENDURO I will be back to have a crack at it – Correctly equipped and attired of course.
Speaking of, the average age of participants zig zagging their way up the traditional and overly popular side from Bedoin must have been late 50’s or older and man, some people looked like they were on mega beat down as well. Its not often I’m driving up one of these climbs, so a weird feeling to be honest. All the cliche’s have been well documented about this mythical climb, so all I can really say is that it looks fucking hard out:
I hadn’t expected it to be as popular as it was to be honest and the drive up is almost as stressful as riding it, just ask my Skoda’s clutch… Or maybe I have become addicted to that sweet scent. Between passing riders going 6kph going up and trying to dodge cunts tucking down in the middle of the road trying to make up for their segment fingering on the way up, its not a dull drive.
But its like a retirement home lycra-clad moshpit at the summit, absolute fever and the last time I saw so much excitement to get close to a pole I was in Spearmint Rhino, but everyone wanted a pic with THAT summit sign:
Listen up Zombie golf convert horde, there is a cool & stylish, but relaxed way to handle the summit of the Big V, allow DNGC Royalty to explain with this simple diagram, Circa July 2012:
Did I think to get my photo taken at the summit? Absolutely not… How disrespectful of the Col would that be? You have to earn that shit the correct way and I am sure that one day I will be back with a Dirty crew to have a crack at it. I actually thought the ‘Non-famous’ side of the Ventoux would be a nicer climb, certainly looked a lot less rammed.
Plenty of old stuff to see around these parts obviously, here’s a random shot of a place with a river running through it that I will throw in to make me seem mildly cultured:
Hanging out in plush accom wasn’t getting me any closer to TP radness however, so it was time to relocate to the Luberon Valley into, er, even plusher accom to have the final chill time before shit gets real (i.e. Camping). Its fair to say that I can highly recommend Domaine La Parpaille as a place to stay if you’re in the Vaucluse area, its seriously awesome – swipe right for this shit here YO!
I’m now only 2 hours away from TP Base camp… Holy fuck… This means that not only is the luxury almost coming to an end, but the most over-hyped build up in the history of semi-PRO sport is almost over as well. I can hear that collective sigh of relief now, just get the FUCK on with it right?
I will issue a Dirty Advisory now – For the two of you that demand their dirty news quick smart, I have no idea of the camp set up in terms of the two basic fundamentals that underpin my Hierarchy of needs:
No idea on power or Wifi provisions, so will have to see how it goes. But I suspect ultimately those will be secondary considerations when I look at the Route that has been published, will I still even be able to type up a report? Forget fart noise, I think we’ve gone nek level on that action:
If I do disappear off the internet completely, resist the urge to have a beer and don’t fret, I have a GPS tracker onboard Total Recall style as I get my ass to Menton. There is also the option to follow the Trans Provence live feed, which at times may be test match cricket slow I suspect, but I think they’ll be providing some live timing.
Off to TP Camp Zero this afternoon (Friday) for the longest bike race I’ve ever competed in and I suspect, the raddest as well. Stay tuned for intermittent reports or hit Twitter or the Gram for more up to date action! I’m off to ask for more toilet paper, nerves? What nerves? Its the French food fuck it… Don’t wish me good luck, just say a quiet prayer for my front Enve wheel!