The Watcher in the woods: Mt Ventoux Update

Just come in from one of the scariest encounters along the deserted and mysterious lanes, animals scurrying through the undergrowth-their eyes glaring back at me from the woodland as I swoop into the bends….

Just come in from one of the scariest encounters along the deserted and mysterious lanes, animals scurrying through the undergrowth-their eyes glaring back at me from the woodland as I swoop into the bends….

Lights burned brightly from cottages and distant farm buildings. As I increased the tempo, a hooded figure emerged from the shadows. Inexplicably at my mental processes insist that I am the keeper of the lanes and should, with the notable exception of nocturnal wildlife be allowed to churn along without interruption.

The full moon was aglow and an hour previously I’d had to perform an emergency stop to prevent collision with an old man who’d clearly been at the giggle juice but I hadn‘t bargained for an encounter of Edgar Alan Poe proportions. Had churning along at 26.4 mph spinning a 42X16 suddenly blasted me into another dimension? Swooping into the bend singing “She’s something else” (That’s the New York Dolls version for those needing to know) the hooded figure appeared from a clearing.Slowing to a halt using the transmission, my heart thundering in my ears, gasping for breath I demanded to know who or what the figure was. An eerie silence lasting only a few seconds was broken only by the snapping of twigs and the gentle hum of a generator. I rode the last six miles to StenningTowers and the spare bed as fast as a 42X16 and legs leaden with lactic acid could carry me.

I had a similarly spooky encounter a few weeks before. Tense at the prospect of seventeen five year olds celebrating our son’s 5th birthday in a confined space, I sought solace in the hills aboard a newly reconfigured Izzie. On entering a main roundabout I was greeted by a scene plucked from a George A Romero shocker, twenty teenagers clearly under the influence of drink/drugs were lumbering over the roundabout! Needless to say, I didn’t hang about, accelerating past the imposing 60’s tower blocks, I reasoned this was great, if unorthodox training and perhaps I’d be better served making the ascent of Ventoux at night-the temperature would be more forgiving for a start.

On the subject of temperature, I’ve been turning up the heat on the sponsorship front. Banardo’s have got the sponsorship forms to me this week and Andy, my companion might shun making the attempt on a fixed but he’s really pulled out the stops, devising a page on The Just Giving site (www.justgiving.com/mountventoux). By contrast whilst I’ve been enjoying the unseasonably chilly conditions- my nocturnal antics seeing me banished to the spare room, Andy’s been hot weather training in New Zealand.

I’ve closed the door on the idea of getting a 504 and have turned my attentions to car hire firms- my efforts seemed to be falling on deaf ears but then a potential contact presented themselves courtesy of a large VW dealership so, I’m in the process of trying to negotiate the loan/use of a suitably capacious load-lugger in return for some publicity. On the publicity trail, I’m continuing to metaphorically knock on the doors of regional radio to see if I can bag some airspace. Under estimate Ventoux at your peril are wise words indeed but the greatest exertion is not physical- duelling with the rightly notorious mountain, so much as event management, the co-ordination of cars, families, sponsorship and publicity.  We’ve still a way to go but the project is at least moving again.

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