In late fall of 2006, Western Washington had a few days of abnormally heavy rain. The overworked streams and rivers on the slopes of Mt. Rainer washed out roads and entire campgrounds. Ed Josberger’s research colleague was visiting from Michigan in mid-December, so Ed had invited a few of us over for dinner. An abnormally strong wind storm was predicted for that evening. In previous summers, a group of us had ridden our private version of RAMROD, known to us as CRAMROD — Crankers Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day. But it was clear from the road damage that the 2007 edition of CRAMROD might be doomed.

The wind storm came as predicted, and Ed’s house was one of the first to lose power. Sitting around in the dimly lit house, sipping wine, Ken suggested we ride Mt. Ventoux, the Giant of Provence in southern France, and frequently a critical stage of the Tour de France, as an alternative to CRAMROD. In jest, or in seriousness, we couldn’t be sure.

Some emails ensued and Rick ran with the idea. The classic climbs of the Tour de France could well still be snowbound in southern France in May, so the trip you’ll read about now is the result.

Rick is a lawyer in downtown Tacoma — a litigator to be precise, with several high-profile verdicts to his credit.

Ken is a professor of chemistry at the University of Puget Sound — more precisely the University Professor of Natural Sciences. Oldest in the group at 59.

David is an anesthesiologist. Also resident art collector, wine enthusiast, encyclopedic historian — more precisely, a Renaissance Man.

Rob is a professor of mathematics at the University of Puget Sound, and your scribe.

Tony is the Chef at Auburn Regional Medical Center (aka “the chief”). Born in the Philippines, he’s a marathon runner and weightlifter and formerly spent 19 years as the Chef of the Tacoma Club. Youngest in the group at 44 years.

Robert A. Beezer
Gig Harbor, Washington
June, 2007