People behind the Parallel Passion: Imme Mattern
It’s official since the end of July: Imme Mattern is one of the few women who are members of the “Club des Cinglés” – the club of the Mont Ventoux Srewballs. This is a French club for cyclists who have mastered all three routes of Mont Ventoux within 24 hours. A mountain adventure in Corona times.
Photogenic by nature
Her Instagram profile suggests that Imme is a model in her prime. But the Brunswick girl waves her hand away. “I work as a controller,” she says with a laugh. “But my best friend has a boutique for second-hand clothes. I like to be photographed there. Also to promote sustainability!”
Sporty with a VW bus
Imme is actually at home in the world of books and art. Very soon after her studies she switched to the tax profession. She also began to discover endurance sports for herself. She started running, true to the motto of the great runner Emil Zatopek: bird flies, fish swims, man walks. Imme also took part in a marathon. “After a break-up a few years ago, I was sitting around alone in a VW bus. Okay, I thought. Then I tried out the idea of being solo with the bus,” says Imme.
Three weeks France
She likes to tour Italy and France best. As without a bike you would be stuck on campsites, she always has her mountain bike and meanwhile also a road bike with her. However, because of Corona, she didn’t want to ride around as much as usual in the summer of 2020. So the tip of a French friend came in handy, to spend three weeks in June on a small campground at Mont Ventoux, in the middle of Provence.
A Crazy Plan
“The mountain also fascinates me in terms of cultural history,” enthuses Imme. “To get in the mood, I read the famous letter of Petrarch, who climbed Mont Ventoux in 1336 and wrote about it. But this only in a side note …” Furthermore, Imme sent her documents to the Club des Cinglés, The Mont Ventoux Screwballs. This club gathers cyclists who have completed all three asphalt routes of Mont Ventoux within 24 hours. Getting in as a woman – that’s it!, thought Imme.
Card at the last minute
But at the ticket station in France, nobody knew anything about Imme. Instead, she learned that so-called last-minute tickets are not distributed, but that the required stamp cards are only available via the Internet with a little lead time. After a few phone calls, Imme was lucky – and exceptionally – to receive the participation PDF, which she could print out at the campsite.
Waiting for the weather
Imme had put the ” crazy tour ” at the end of her vacation weeks and had already tried out two of the mountain routes. However, she had to wait for good weather. Because on the treeless Mont Ventoux, sun and wind can give the cyclists a hard time. Finally it was time for Imme to start at three o’clock at night from Malaucène. “I didn’t know this route yet. That’s why I thought: If I can manage that, the other two routes will also work,” the power woman recalls.
Unknown tour at first
With the stamp card in her pocket, she reached the mountain peak for the first time from Malaucène at six o’clock in the morning after 21.2 km and 1,570 meters of altitude. There followed a short break and the descent to Bédoin, where Imme had the first stamp put on her card at seven o’clock in the morning. Twenty minutes later, she started to climb again from Bédoin – this route is considered the most difficult and is a legendary part of the Tour de France.
Whole day with no wind
At 10:40 a.m. Imme had arrived at the top, took a half hour break and then rushed down to Sault with the peak stamp in her luggage for the next stamp. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., meanwhile in glaring sunshine, she took the third and, compared to the others, most leisurely route from Sault back to the top. “All day long I was lucky with the wind, it just wasn’t there,” rejoiced Imme, who reached Malaucène again after a happy departure at 4:20 pm and had the last stamp put in. So the wait for better weather was really worth it.
Probably because of the corona situation, a certain calmness had been present during the whole vacation. Otherwise she would have changed the campground more often to see more of the country, and the tour from the “club des cinglés” would either not have taken place at all or she would not have finished it. “So I was just there, with me, and drove,” says Imme. “I cycle, therefore I am. That’s my motto.”
I cycle, therefore I am. That’s my motto.
Long preparation tour
All kilometers from France are also included in the Parallel Passion. Imme got the Charity-Challenge Die Parallele Passion because of the rejection mail of the Mecklenburger Seenrunde and registered immediately in this Strava-Club. At the originally planned date of the MSR she simply drove her own long distance: From Brunswick it went to Luneburg. “I wanted to do 300 km. Admittedly, it was only 290, because I had no lights with me. But safety comes before ambition – and I was still very well prepared for Mont Ventoux,” says Imme happily.
So many kilometers alone – lonely wolf? Imme laughs. No, she likes to be on the road like that. Or at least you first have to meet summiteers who take part in such tours and stay happy. The Parallel Passion team always wishes Imme a good trip and suspects that anyone who reads Petrarch, can wait for the right weather and then crosses the Ventoux three times with such ease will probably also manage to become a model.