A Word of Caution When Riding Fast
Over the last week we have been discussing cycling at speed. From fast downhill descents on Mont Ventoux, to riding fast generally, we have provided tips and tricks to make riding fast more effective and safe.
This has prompted a response from several friends, one of which caught our eye. John Hannin, a rider who has made the ascent of Mont Ventoux many times recounted one of his experiences:
“I smiled when I received your earlier mail as I’m only too familiar with the challenges and beauty of Mont Ventoux. I’ve made the pilgrimage several times during the past few years, either solo or in the company of friends, but each time I’ve been blessed with good weather and fantastic memories, including a nerve tingling 88kph descent into Bédoin, passing out a Porsche 911 en route.
“However, my last trip back in Sept 2014 proved rather more memorable in so far as it all came to a rather sudden stop on the descent to Malaucéne when the rear tyre malfunctioned on a sweeping bend. Thankfully, my helmet bore the brunt of things and after a few hours in hospital, I was eventually released, battered and badly bruised but still smiling.
“Following that unfortunate event, my desire to whizz down glorious descents has been curtailed and replaced by a new-found element of maturity and respect for life & limb.
“Nonetheless, some of my previous descents off Soller (especially on Sean’s wheel), Puig and into Santa Ponsa remain both vivid and treasured memories. Happy days indeed.”
This cautionary tale sums up why it is important to ensure you are wearing a helmet, are vigilant, and you keep an eye on your speed. Descents are not on closed roads so traffic and other riders will always be present and can catch you by surprise. Many Ventoux riders state that cyclists come out of nowhere on long descents.
Caution is advised at all times.
We would like to give John a special mention for allowing us to share his story. Although his trip didn't end in the best way he did make it to the summit of Ventoux, the mountain the professionals respect. A glorious cycling achievement if ever there was one.
As well as the cautionary elements in John’s tale, we can take inspiration. Undeterred he continues to ride and climb the summits of the toughest cols in the world, and did not let the setback keep him out of the saddle for long.
For climbing Ventoux and for carrying on riding after a pretty bad mishap, John, SportActive salutes you.
You can learn more about Ventoux by clicking here.