Cycling Coffee Society only uses the very best equipment in our Houses and that’s especially true of our coffee machines. Our coffee partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee are absolute perfectionists in the art of making coffee and they’re especially passionate that you, our CCS guests, are able to use their Rocket espresso machine to make and enjoy the fabulously crafted and blended coffees, using the finest beans from around the world – with all of their incredible tastes and delicate flavour combinations. So, take a few moments for Il Magistrale owner and cycling coffee addict Bas Van Den Heuvel to show you around their Rocket Espresso machine, how to polish up your barista skills and show you how to make the perfect Rocket coffee!
There was only ever one place for Coffee Cycle Society to lay down its roots.
After all, our goal, metaphorically, is to inspire, to challenge, to enable cyclists to greater achieve greater heights. So, when we were searching for our perfect first location, one steeped in cycling history, myology, and folklore, as well as swathed in natural beauty, that our search quickly zeroed into a short-list of one.
The mighty Mont Ventoux.
Unlike most alpine mountains that are often somewhat hidden, shielded from view until you are literally upon their lower slopes, the Ventoux stands alone. A great polished white beacon beaming its dominance across many hundreds of square miles. There aren’t many places in Provence where you can see ‘the Giant’ there, off in the distance, that is unless the cloud is in – but all mountains love to play that game of hide and seek and the Ventoux is no different in that respect.
The weather station at the summit, with its tall red and white painted tower reminds us of a lighthouse, warning passing ships of dangerous currents, treacherous reefs, and rocky shore. In a way the Ventoux weather tower is doing the same for cyclists. From the casual visitor keen to make it to the top for the best panoramic selfie in France, to the club riders looking to challenge themselves against the legendary gradient and exposure the road to the summit possesses, to the real gladiators, the professionals who earn their living from pitting every fiber of their bodies to claiming that King of the Mountain title – the Ventoux is issuing a warning –
“Don’t mess with me! I am the Ventoux, I choose who climbs, who wins and who, occasionally loses the challenge I set”.
Many riders of course complete the long and arduous ride to the summit, without exception all leave something on the road to the top. Of course, there’s the sweat, that goes without saying. But there’s more. To climb Ventoux, even at a pedestrian pace, requires a physical sacrifice that can’t be asked, only given. It’s the mental game that’s the real battle riders must search their legs, lungs, and mind in equal measure to find the ingredients required to succeed.
Can I get out of the saddle again? Can I hold this cadence? Can I make it through this next patch of blazing sunshine before I reach the shade? Why won’t the top show itself to me? The Ventoux sets the questions that appear in your mind as you climb it.
Sometimes the mountain bites. The word fearsome is often used when describing the Ventoux. Sure, everyone likes to build the reputation of a climb – it’s good for business, but with Ventoux, there’s the chill, mortuary coldness of truth about it. People do fail to conquer this toughest of peaks. Sometimes in the most tragic fashion.
None more famously than the British professional cyclist and 1965 Word Road Race Champion Tom Simpson, who collapsed and died during the 1967 Tour de France Stage to the summit of the Ventoux. His is a sorry tale that we’ll tell another time, but the granite memorial for him, as the very spot where he turned his last gasping pedal on the barren windswept roadside, with the summit in sight up ahead, is a perpetual shrine for cyclists. They stop to leave club caps, bidons, and other mementos, to pay homage to Tommy, but also as offerings to the mountain itself. The Ventoux swallowed Tommy that fateful day and he will ride the mountain forever. By their offerings, the visitors hope to assuage the temper of the Giant.
The Tour de France returns to Mont Ventoux in 2021, with a double ascent and descent of the mountain on the same stage. It will, hopefully, be full of drama, but of the safe sporting kind, but when the Ventoux is challenged, there are no rock-solid certainties.
That’s why this mountain is a true cycling legend and the natural home for Cycling Coffee Society. Join us at the roadside in July, and stay with us this summer.
From the 5th to the 9th of July, you and a few others, will be staying at CCS Ventoux House, to witness the drama of the Tour de France, as the peloton take on an unprecedented double ascent and descent of the mighty Mont Ventoux, on Stage 11 of the race. This event is supported by our partners, Rouleur Magazine, Band of Climbers and Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee.
The CCS Ventoux House is a luxury, bespoke cycling accommodation, situated at the heart of Bedoin, designed specifically to satisfy and exceed the ‘hors categorie’ demands of quality from elite professional athletes and you – our CCS Society members. You will be treated like a professional cyclist in every way; prepared 3 course dinner by our chef, massages, personal coach and mechanical support.
Some highlights of the Tour de France event – 5 days/4 nights
- Your arrival here in Bedoin.
- Welcome to CCS House Ventoux.
- Each guest will receive a special edition CCS riding kit made exclusively for us by our apparel partner Band of Climbers.
- Once you’re settled in you are invited to join us for a leisurely 75km spin around the “Cotes Du Rhône” vineyards, a relaxing ride to loosen the legs, soak in the views and sunshine and prepare for the great days ahead!
- Return to the House, with soothing swim.
- Your welcome dinner will be served at 7.30pm, made just for you, by our own chef.
- After a relaxing night’s sleep, breakfast is served at 8am.
- We will gather in the courtyard to roll out at 09.30 am for today’s full day ride.
- The ride will be a Recon of Stage 11 – 120km. To Sault via Gorges de la Nesque which will include two ascents of the infamous Mont Ventoux. For the most motivated riders there will be the opportunity for a third ascent of the Ventoux from the Malaucene side.
- We will return to the House, tired but triumphant, for a swim and a well-deserved professional massage.
- In the evening you are invited to attend a special edition of Rouleur Happy Hour hosted by Rouleur Magazine editors, who will be bringing with them a very special cycling guest.
Distance : 120 km
- This is the Tour de France – double Ventoux day!
- Breakfast is served at 8am (hopefully no sore heads after last night’s party!)
- We will leave in the direction of the route for Stage 11, taking in a guided ride, covering 100km of stunning Provence roads on the way.
- You will witness all the Stage 11 action and drama from our special roadside vantage point, to see the pros race for yellow!
- Return to the House for relaxation and dinner.
Distance : 100 km
- After breakfast there will be a special Barista event from our partner Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee held in the House in our own famous ‘Coffee Corner’, a chance to enjoy some great Magistrale coffee and rest those legs before the afternoon ride.
- After lunch we will depart the House to ride 100km to Gordes and the beautiful Luberon massif and stunning roads and villages within.
- We will return to the House to the aroma of our BBQ cooking.
Distance : 100 km
All good things come to an end, so after breakfast we will assist you pack your bikes and wish you a fond farewell with lots of lifelong memories of CCS, Bedoin, The Ventoux and of course, the Tour de France!
Your trainer for this event is Thomas Desonay, current holder of a top ten KOM time for the Ventoux Climb, 8th at the GranFondo World Championships and Elite winner of the 2019 GranFondo Strada Bianchi. Thomas will be providing valuable insights and advice on training, riding style, and the tactical knowledge of how to climb, descend and pack ride like a pro. The CCS team will design and develop specific guided ride routes for you and your group. Rides that take in the finest roads, climbs, descents and classic Provencal vistas on the days outside of the Recon Day and Race Day.
Your group will have a dedicated professional mechanic on hand, to tune your bikes during your stay – so every kilometre and gear shift, will be silky smooth.
Each guest will receive a special edition CCS cycling outfit to commemorate this once in a lifetime special event and be a lasting memento of your stay with us. The cycling kit is designed and made exclusively for CCS by our apparel partner at Band of Climbers.
Band of Climbers use the finest modern technical materials, and a long history of taking on the most challenging road climbs around the world, to create a kit design that features a supreme attention to detail, and a fit that will make you feel like a pro!
In stylish black with the CCS logo in white with our signature red dot, and the logo of Band of Climbers – you’ll cut a dash on the club ride when you get back home – just remember to have your Ventoux triple climb stories ready!
All food and beverages are included with breakfast, lunch and every evening a 3 course meal created by our chef. Our chef works only with local producers and organic products. As riders we know the value of great food, the fuel it provides for recovery from today’s exertions, the building of energy reserves for tomorrow’s ride, and never to be forgotten, the sheer delight of eating exquisite meals that that have been created just for you.
You just need to unwind, relax and enjoy the ambience of the greatest cycling race in the world! When you return home, you can proudly boast of this unique tough Tour de France stage – ‘The Double Ventoux – yeah, I rode that!’
We would suggest that the CCS Tour de France event is for intermediate or above level riders, or those with at least some experience of riding in the mountains. At no point will any rider be left behind on their own, as our support vehicle and guide will be on the road with you at all times.
Cost 1950 Euros per person. Limited places available!
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- 4 night stay in a twin room at CCS Ventoux house – complete with outdoor swimming pool, full coffee bar with Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee and fitness room.
- Daily cooked breakfasts, lunches and three course dinners – prepared in house by our private chef, served with wine at dinner.
- In house laundry service.
- Daily supported rides and mechanical support.
- All energy gels, drinks and bars.
- 1 x CCS Band of Climbers Cycling Kit (socks, bib, jersey, cap).
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Flights/Transfer to Bedoin.
- Spare parts or equipment.
- Medical Cover.
- Bike hire.
- Coffee or cafe bought snacks during rides.
Register your interest belowAfter receiving your registration our CCS Team will contact you with the more details.
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Coffee and cycling. You hear them mentioned a lot together. And not just by us here at Cycle Coffee Society either as we make another perfect brew with our Il Magistrale Cycling Coffee beans. A quick look around the sport of cycling, at the mainstream cycling media, and especially cycling social media and you see endless mentions, comments, and posts about ‘coffee this’ and ‘coffee that’…
But why? Where did it start, why has this love affair between the hardest and most beautiful sport in the world and a bitter-tasting hot drink endured the way it has?
It does seem rather odd that a hot beverage, that requires some skill and, in many cases some fairly clever machinery to produce should become the favourite drink of cyclists, you’d think we’d collectively champion something easier to make and convenient to consume, given our penchant for being outdoors.
Well, let’s look at the history books…
Back in the early days of competitive cycling, when rules were a loose collection of ideals, rather than strict sporting laws, races were incredibly long and tough. Deliberately so, because cycling was a spectacle more than a sport, the public wanted to see men suffer, like really suffer, so only the fittest, maddest and fewest reached the finish. Even the ‘father of the Tour de France’ Henri Desgrange wanted it that way – a race so unimaginably tough that only one person would finish… Along with stages that would be almost 500 kilometers (300+miles) in length, he even stipulated rules like riders had to finish with the same clothes they started with. Given many stages had to begin in the dead of night, such was their length, riders would often need extra jerseys, heavy woolen overcoats, and raincoats – remember there was no Gore Shakedry or Castelli Gabba…
To get themselves through brutal stages that were double in length to what we see now, on heavy bikes with tall gears – if you were lucky enough to have gears – and on roads that little more than gravel tracks and pave farm lanes the riders would use drugs. Proper, hardcore drugs. Mostly, very unprescribed amphetamine, swallowed on the go, often by the handful. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the ‘warmed up’ riders could charge along in warped oblivion at average speeds that aren’t so far from those we see today.
Clearly, that was wrong. Kids, drugs are bad. From physical, ethical, and humanitarian standpoints. It took a while to clean the sport up, but we’re pretty much there in 2021. That said, pro racers and amateur riders alike still like a little stimulus for their blood – to widen the eyes and make those muscles twitch and a healthy dose of caffeine is just the ticket – and there’s no better tasting delivery method for caffeine than our long-term love, coffee.
Get to a stage race about an hour before the start, and you’ll find small huddles of riders in the VIP zones sipping small espresso from the sponsor marquees. It’s a chance to mingle with mates from other teams, shoot the breeze, put the world to rights, talk about family, holidays, pay, or where you’ll be moving to in next the transfer window ( odd as it might appear, pro racers don’t often chit-chat about the nitty-gritty of racing, with each other. Five hours a day going full-gas on the pedals, cheek by jowl, soon extinguishes that need).
Once on the bikes and in the race, hot coffee isn’t a very easy or useful drink for a racing cyclist to use. Though a hot (actually warm) tea is sometimes dispensed by the team cars on very wet and cold stages. But the need for the stimulation benefits of caffeine remains. So teams sponsored by energy food companies have taken to adding caffeine to their energy gel recipes. Riders can now easily whip a caffeine-enhanced gel from their jersey pocket, tear the top off with their teeth and blast the giddy goodness straight into their stomachs and onwards quickly into their bloodstreams.
There are rules of course about how much caffeine (and therefore the number of pre-race espressos) is permissible in the bloodstream of a rider – before it constitutes blood-doping. But for non-racers and wanna-be racers, like you and me, it’s not a problem, two espressos before the ride, stop for a cake and a Capuccino (or two) mid-morning, and after a hot ride, a chilled Frappe to finish is the perfect coffee-fuelled ride. Never mind another after dinner…
So, it’s a long-burn love affair, steeped in history. We’re glad to be a part of it. So glad, we named ourselves Cycle Coffee Society.
The Giro’s highest accolade
The Cima Coppi is the name given each year to the highest point of the Giro d’Italia route. Named after the late, great Campionissimo the champion of champions, Fausto Coppi. Fausto Coppi was winner of his home grand tour no less than five times (1940, 47, 49, 52 and 53). Which would be remarkable enough. But in between times he also won another little race called the Tour de France twice (like you do) in 1949 and 52. The World Championships in 1953, add in five Giri d’Lombardia, three Milan-San Remo titles, a Paris, Roubaix and a La Flèche Wallonne. Oh, and the world hour record in 1942. It was famously said that watching Coppi pedal his bike, was like watching water being poured from a glass, he was that smooth.
His was an effortlessly stylish pedalling action, almost lazy and languid to watch – his long relatively thin levers belied the power he could deliver to the pedals. It was a fluid style that was forged as a child. Besotted with bikes as an often poorly youngster, he began to ride a heavy butchers delivery bike on the steep roads around his home in Castellania. Cycling quickly became Fausto’s passion. The family wasn’t well off, so Fausto’s father made him a set of wooden rollers for training. Every day from the age of 13, the young Coppi would pull them out from under the family stairs, into the dark narrow tiled space between the kitchen and the sitting room, open the front door to let in some air, light and the view across the rolling Piedmont hills and proceed to do four hours on the home-made rollers. Every. Single. Day.
Coppi never lost his love and innate ability to climb mountains, with a flair and panache that would be recognised and celebrated with his own Giro prize. – to celebrate the rider who crossed the highest point of the Giro – the Cima Coppi.
This year the Cima Coppi will be on the summit of the Passo Pordoi (2239m). The Pordoi has been a regular climb of the Giro d’Italia since 1937. In fact, the 22-hairpin ascent that tests the mettle of every rider, the Pordoi was the very climb, dominated by Coppi – first to cross it on five occasions – that led to the Cima Coppi being created. The Pordoi is the ancestral home of the Cima Coppi.
Who will claim the Cima Coppi for the 2021 Giro d’Italia? Hard to say, but the slight, bird-like figure of Ineos Grenadier Columbian Egan Bernal could well be in the hot seat. His win on the dirt slopes of Stage 9 showed that he may be coming back to peak form and the sort of power that saw him win the 2019 Tour de France.
As a side note, if you want to know more about Fausto Coppi, read the book Fallen Angel by William Fotheringham. A fascinating clear-eyed look at the life and times of a true cycling legend.
If you visit his home village of Castellania (and you really should make the pilgrimage), then you can, if you’re lucky, get a personal tour of the Coppi Family home – the house where he grew up. It has been left as a time capsule and to be in his house, his kitchen and bedroom, so see the rollers under the stairs, his bikes and all the private things in his life, is truly something special.
One funny thing, is in the sitting room. In pride of place on the sideboard is a small black and white TV that Fausto had won. He gave to his aging parents, despite the fact their house had neither electricity or any television signal to watch it.
photo; Cycling Media Agency
2021 will herald the 104th Tour of Italy – or the Giro D’Italia, to use its proper name. Only six years younger than the Tour de France, it’s every bit as tough, unpredictable and beautiful as it’s French cousin. The challenge of wearing the Maglia Rosa the leader’s jersey of the Giro, and the honour of lifting the winner’s golden spiral trophy aloft, at the traditional finish in Milan, is just as great.
The Giro is just hard because of the distance and the challenging terrain, the race is prone to bouts of very unpredictable weather, thanks to its May slot in the calendar. The riders in the Giro peloton have to expect stages that can range from the blazing heat of the southern regions, to ice-cold hail and snowstorms, as the race takes in Italy’s northern alpine regions. To win this Grand Tour, you have to be tough and resilient, as well as fast.