Thursday, July 14th, 2016
4:00pm – Close
terroir | tribeca
celebrates the Mont Ventoux stage of the Tour de France (edition #103).
By consuming wines from the Southern Rhône Valley*, of course:
(Côtes du Rhône, Saladin, 2012 / Ventoux, des Anges, 2012 / Cairanne, Alary, 2014 / Gigondas, Saint-Damien, 2013)
*Note of importance: Mont Ventoux is located in the Southern Rhône Valley…the area rose to wine fame
during the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy.
Because it is also La Fête Nationale, aka Bastille Day
Okay, but really, why?
Because on this day, the riders will begin their day with oatmeal / a cup of coffee /
a 24 oz. steak / a plate of pasta / the knowledge that history is repeating itself with a monstrous stage,
of epic proportions and epic length (a total of 184km).
In the first running of the Tour in 1903,there were only six stages but the average length was 404km. The winner, Maurice Garin, spent roughly 16 hours on his bike for each stage of the race (holy saddle sores!).
This year’s monumental stage will allow the riders a small taste of what the Tour was like in its infancy.
Because Le Mont Ventoux ne tolère pas le surrégime.
Because Mont Ventoux is a bald mountain, as the crest was entirely stripped of trees in the 17th century to supply wood to shipbuilders in Toulon. In addition, the ravages of pigs searching for acorns, sheep and goats grazing, and man’s need for firewood and homebuilding materials further denuded the land. From a distance, this outcropping of Mother Earth looks snow-covered but is actually the exposed limestone devoid of any vegetation. This appearance is amplified by the fact that no other mountain of equal footing is anywhere near it…it is literally in the middle of the bustling region while the other mountains of France are where they should be: with the other goddamn mountains on the fringes. If you want to visit a moonscape in France, this is the place.
Mont Ventoux Facts:
The Giant of Provence rises 6300 feet. Venteux means windy in French and the wind whips across this mountain with the same vigor that Cristiano Ronaldo inspires his team…from the sidelines (the wind blows at 56+mph over 240 days of the year…on a related note: no resident of Mont Ventoux has ever won the World Kite Flying Championship). This mountain stage was first introduced in 1951. The journey to the top of Bald Mountain runs for 21.5km, rising over 5300 feet at an average gradient of 7.6% (over the final ¾ of the climb, the gradient is actually 8.9% AND you have hurricane force winds trying to throw you off the bike). The fastest man to the summit on a bike was Iban Mayo in 2004 with a time of 55 minutes. In 1875, the flora / fauna devastation of the mountain began to be reversed with a massive replanting effort, especially of cedars and pine trees. The top of the mountain, however, remains completely bare save for a 150ft telecommunication tower.