A voice said England have won the cricket. I didn’t respond. The voice appeared alongside me, barely going any quicker, weighed down with deep section carbon wheels and an English complexion. England won the cricket. By how many wickets? Five. Flintoff took five in the test. Oh, good. And he slipped behind. There’s 11 of them, I thought, but only one of me. One of me and this road. And this mountain and, oh look, Simpson himself. A drunk glance to the right, and thumb and forefinger pulled down the peak of my cap before straitening up. He went down for the final time, like a beaten boxer, around 1km from the top. I’m 1km from the top. Right then. A slightly faster rhythm and, looking up again, the searing ribbon angled up to the left. Slowing to catch my breath, I crawled, readying myself for the steepness to follow. The outside of the bend provided no launch, but I chose that line, hugging the scree on my right. Rhythm slightly faster than before and, then, pop. I was at the final bend, a hairpin. Taking the outside line, and shifting up, I lifted myself and, for the first time that day, attacked the slope, sprinting over the line.
Which was followed by throwing up. Throwing up at 1,912 metres and in a Unesco World Heritage site. That’s what the Ventoux does to you.