Have been on Hols down in the Languedoc close to the Spanish border. Agreed with the Mrs FF that if we were going to the Med (no surfing), then the bike would have to come and that we would hack across country so I could have a go at Ventoux. Deal done. First week down ther did 2 big climbs as practice, an 8 miler climb of 700m with (according to the map, some 18% bits), and another slightly less steep but longer climb as practice. All felt good. 3 days rest and the following Monday the 3 hour drive to crack the mountain. Good spirits as we set-off. BUT, as the mornings drive wore-on, there was one detail which started to trouble me...the temperature. The previous weeks had been variable, but my morning training runs were hot but not unbearable (for me at any rate), as we approached Bedoin, the temp doggedly stuck to 100 F (OK, the kids changed the scale on my car computer and I can't be bothered to change it to degrees C). Arriving in Bedoin, it was market day, we could not drive to the start, but s few other cyclists pointed us close. Parked and got kitted-up. Last fig roll, more water, photos and was off. It was about 12.30, 100F, high humidity, no wind whatsoever. Got a few miles in to check everything working OK and then started on the main road up. My god the heat! Was OK until the tree-line, the sun beating down, the tarmac reflecting the heat, no wind, no shade...the road going-up....but it's only 10%....I've done waaay worse....god I'm hot...30/25 bottom gear now...there's the family ahead in a lay-by...will ditch the helmet and douse myself with water, that's better...blimey, this heat's unreal...bottom gear's hard today....check; nothing rubbing....more water, more over the head, really wet now, carry on, family will be a mile ahead, only 4 mph, can't be right...why did this have to be the hottest day of our hols....whoops weaving a bit...really hot, then really chilly...shade ahead...wonder how far ahead the family is....hard to keep upright at this speed whoops nearly fell, couldn't get foot out...will stop a mo...more water....more shivering....will be fine, family must be around the bend....there's Tom...a few more yards...there's the Mrs.... She speaks.... "I think you've had enough don't you think?" "I think you're right" I say. I collapsed, a shaking wreck under a tree, devastated. All this way, maybe my one chance and beaten by a 100F airless, humid windless day. I could not shed the heat fast enough however I tried (I am not good at heat at all) and I felt pretty weird. They say never climb Ventoux on a really hot day, if you must, go early in the morning, not the heat of midday. They say that the tree-lined bit is the shady cool bit, whereas the tree-less moonscape is called the furnace (actually, it was much cooler above the tree-line with a nice breeze). Bike loaded into car, Mrs FF drove me solemnly to the top. Stopping at Tommy Simpson memorial I felt so low, I could have cried. The memorial is beautifully moving, I planned to leave a memento, but felt I did not deserve too as I had not arrived there under my own steam. Sandwich and a beer at the top. Then! THE DESCENT!!!!!!! WOW! Top to the finish/start line ~22kms in just around 24 mins (including a brief wait at Chalet Reynard for the family to go by...so I could pass them again!)...chuffin' eck. Now I wasn't a good descender, but somehow I was rewarded on this day, whizzing past cars, the speedo on the straights hovering between 45 and 49 mph, hard on the brakes, lean hard, weight over the front wheel hoping that it all holds together, arms and hands aching, hammer on the pedals out of the bend...spin-out at around 45mph...sit back tuck low....BRAKES etc etc... Possibly the finest 24 minutes I have ever spent on 2 wheels. Totally amazed at the speeds AND just how hard a race-bike will brake (Thank god for Kool-stop Salmons) and go around a bend, even whilst still braking. The TCR was absolutely rock solid like it was on rails....fat-bloke and machine in perfect harmony. By the time I crossed the start/finish line, my hands and forearms were locked solid...just like the grin on my face. Driving home, discussing what might have been, Mrs FF said "I'm sure there are organised trips available for you to come and try again when it's cooler..." Me and Mrs FF have been together 25 years...these little things remind me why.