In this blog, we follow the journey of our colleague Henk van Laar, to reach the summit of the Mont Ventoux in June 2022. Henk will be joining the Give&Live cycling club, which is a group of cyclists that are either organ- or stem cell recipient, donor, or working in the field of transplantation. GenDx sponsors the event, and Henk is the lucky GenDx representative to support the Give&Live cycling club on their way to the top of the mountain. 

June 24, 2022

After a good night’s sleep in the cozy cottages, the plans for the day are made and adjusted due to the expected rain, although you wouldn’t say that when you see the Mont Ventoux so bright in the sunlight early in the morning.

Most are sensible, and go for a walk or explore the area, taking a rest day. There’s also a group that decides to cycle up the Mont Ventoux, most of them have done it before. But the weather forecast is not favorable, shelter will have to be taken along the way and that is difficult to plan. Luckily, all return unscathed at the end of the afternoon, cycling in a radiant sun.

A few people were supposed to cycle up the Mont Ventoux today, to put the memorial stones at the monument, but eventually it was decided to do this by car. Fortunately, the weather was kind once they reached the Tom Simpson monument, so that the memorial stones can be laid down in peace and with respect. It is good to think about this for a moment; a successful transplantation is never guaranteed. No matter how hard we try. During the erupting storm, they can drive back to Montbrun, where the catering team barely manages to keep the tents on the ground…

I decide to join the medical buddies today. Because they have to stay with their athlete on Saturday, they cycle their own round on Friday. A total of 4 “cols” will be climbed, 3 of which are above 1000 meters. On the peaks it looks like Autumn: strong wind, later also rain gusts, but when a thunderstorm comes, we must look for shelter. After half an hour we can continue again, cold and wet… a special mountain experience. The descent brings us back to Spring, and we end in a Summery valley. On the top it was only 11 degrees Celsius, in the valley 31…

At a restaurant we only get a little warm again. It is nice to hear the stories of these doctors, how they speak respectfully about patients and the task of supporting them to reach their personal cycling goal tomorrow. How will we do it, where do we expect problems, does anyone need extra help? So, good company and not unimportant: all have good cycling experience in the mountains, today they can learn a lot from them on all fronts.

After dinner, the planning for Saturday is made, a part is taken to the start by bus, most of them will cycle themselves. This evening there is a slightly nervous atmosphere. A last check of the bike, preparing food and drinks, getting the right clothes ready… And then getting to bed early, to get a good night’s sleep for the big day!