Note – This post is a recap of the Trans Provence Tour in June 2013, not a real time update!
Day two greeted us with brilliant blue sky and a classic French breakfast in the dive of a hotel (I use that term lightly, it was closer to staying at a weird uncle’s house that hasn’t changed or been cleaned since the early 1980’s) of croissants and OJ… I hooked straight in, much to the horror of the dok who remembers my gas rampage of last year. Clearly his night rooming with the German BOSS (twin share can be a fucker at times) had taken its toll on the Dok. After dominating the basket of pastries we were well primed for another day of awesome riding and French alps goodness:
The day started with some more excellent uplift, farting in the van, taking the piss out of the other tour attendees (they had all been allocated code names by that stage, so we could not so subtly pass commentary between us in plain sight) and general MTB trash talk, a definite highlight of any boys trip. We got taken to the end of the road on a very long climb (honesty call, I may have got slightly excited thinking about riding my new Evo Black Inc up such a climb, it was switch backed and very quiet with awesome views). From here we had our first big climb of the day, a long meandering fire road trail that worked its way up to a ridge line. Here are the boys at the top of the RIDING part of the climb, and yes, we had matching tops on because we are rad:
Shit got pretty serious after this, with an EPIC portage up to the ridge line, and I mean epic, with a 30 to 40 min slog pushing the bikes up to start the first main DH of the day… it was worth the grind though as we topped out to firstly amazing views, but also a fantastic first run of the day. Dok was so pumped he not only got his fav bond singlet out on display, but also put his jersey on back to front when getting ready to roll (a team infringement notice was issued), here he is confirming his ability to produce an epic blow out is not hindered by the French Alps:
Not to be outdone, Das Wolf was also pumped and here is a shot of the hairy one confirming that ‘V’ is for Virgin:
The scenery was pretty epic… No question:
From this launch point we set out for the first run of the day, dropping straight into some seriously loose and steep shit that gave no time for a warm up of ones gravity skills, with the wolf being claimed early on with a decent crash, but a soft landing thankfully (there is video footage to come). DH1 of the day had it all, loose rocks, fast steep straightaways, tight hairpin turns, exposed ridge lines and flow through the forest lower down, it was variety city and reinforced one thing about riding here, mother F the bikes pick up speed FAST! It takes literally a few seconds to be at terminal velocity, quickly followed by an ‘oh shit’ moment. I was having a much better time of it today as the Dok had tuned the front forks to perfection and carving was kicking in, so all good.
After another fabulously laid on lunch break by the TP guides, it was time for some more van assisted uplift and then climbing, portage and then a fun downhill (not a special stage), well, it was fun for me as I had clear air in front of me, but not so fun for the Dok and Wolf, as they unfortunately started behind the German BOSS, who proved that she was both slow, but also immune to giving a fuck about rooting the trail for those behind her… trail etiquette clearly not a strong point. From this point on we had a rather looong fire road climb up to a very cool transient section, traversing a ridge line with epic drops to the right.
And finally, the Downhill that has universally been agreed as being the best so far… its hard to do it justice with my words, but lets just say that this one was massively rad, sick, ill, hectic, bad ass, bitchin, mean, hauling, BOSS, epic and any other description that you want to throw at it. It started mind numbingly fast over open terrain, a mix of rock, grass and steep four wheel drive track, before it got into the trees and continued on its high speed and flowing roller coaster ride. The Dok and I pinned it behind the guide and hoping like fuck that they picked good lines, otherwise we would have been vaporised.
It then closed in and we had an awesome slalom like speed fest through the lower slopes forest as lightening cracked above us… It was all there, jumps, fast flow, hair pins and lots of grip. We burst out of the forest into an open meadow that was steep, fast and super straight, cracking close to 50kph through the meadow. To say this was fun is a massive understatement!
And then along came the rain… and hail… and lightening and thunder… Luckily for us we were on the tarmac by this point and after a particularly close lightening strike the group took shelter in a barn to avoid a 90% chance of death. After it dropped to about 6 degrees and more hail arrived, it was universally agreed now would be a good time to pull pin and radio for van rescue! Multiple close vicinity lightening strikes confirmed this was the go to option:
For those of you that love stats:
- 1568m of climbing
- 2.49 moving time… again these stats are skewed due to uplift and portage, but another great day out
Product of the day went to 510 shoes for being awesome to portage in… cunt of the day going to my Go Pro for claiming it had a full battery and then running out in 3 mins, before we even started the first DH!! Arghhhh!!!!
Back to the future – In the TP Race day 2 (held yesterday 30/09) you can see the actual trails that we rode in this video, including the ridge line that they had to trek up to at the start: