If your bike GPS fails, does Mont Ventoux fail to exist?

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider with a Pete Matthews bike on Mont Ventoux

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Amidst carbon fibre frames, there were a few classics reminding riders, legs mean more than the bike to get to the top of Mont Ventoux.

“I was three kilometres from the top when my Garmin gave out, so I suppose I have to do the hill again.”

Photographer’s notes: When you get to the top of Mont Ventoux, it is like the end a marathon. The athletes mass at the finish, share knowing glances amongst each other of their shared suffering, make changes in clothing, stay warm, drink fluids and reflect on what they have accomplished.

And then there is the obligatory, the iconic, image of the cyclist and bike in front of the Mont Ventoux altitude marker. Proof that the ride has been done, that they have earned the right to stand there and be photographed.

And, like marathon runners, we share stories about our climb, the hardest part, the suffering, the barriers we had to break through.

It is also a chance to scope the other bikes, the collection of carbon fibre models, the gear ratios used for the assault. And, perhaps, a look at the physique of the others. Who is carrying a few extra kilos on the ride, who might have had an easier time of it.

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