Note – This post is a recap of the Trans Provence Tour in June 2013, not a real time update!
The Day 3 report was a struggle to write… Why? Was it because I was flogged? Not really, I was semi flogged… Was it because I was farting so badly that my brain was mildly baked with fumes? Potentially… Was it because Wolf kept borrowing all my shit? Maybe that was a contributing factor… But, mainly it simply boils down to this basic fact:
There are no words invented or that I can use in the kings good language to describe how fucking awesome the Day 3 riding was… Sure, I can attempt to throw the overly used ‘epic’, ‘massive’, ‘awesome’, ‘unreal’ or ‘I just lost my load in my cycling shorts’ descriptions, but they won’t be adequate to describe how incredible Day 3 was. To save you all having to read gushing paragraphs of my superlative language I will simply say this:
It was the best day I’ve ever had on a mountain bike in 23 years of mountain biking
Big call I know, but to back me up both Dok and Das Wolf also agreed that it was a special day… By now you are probably thinking I am either drunk of full of my own sh1t, so let’s examine some of the drivers behind such a bold assertion:
- We started the day at 2070m in the snow riding an amazing DH dropping 1000m via some of the most bad a55 terrain I have ever dropped a bike into, followed by 4 of the best downhill trails you are likely to find on planet earth.
- The variety of terrain was amazing, from high alpine, rock, high speed runs through forests to the ‘Grey Earth’ section which would be a piece of track that none of us have ever been on before, quite an amazing surface and super high speed moon scape like terrain. We also encountered more switchbacks than a years worth of normal riding. All of the trails on day 3 were amazing and there was so much variety it actually felt like two days of riding and not one.
- We had mainly uplift – Lots of van action, which was awesome as we basically had 33km’s of DH riding… Which was epic. The weather was also mint.
- Speed and skills hit the sweet spot – We were totally in the zone and became one with the bikes. Yes, I know that sounds massively cheesy, but when you ride terrain this epic and this fast it totally changes your relationship with the bike and the way you ride. I have experienced something similar in Whistler 2 years ago, but this is a different ball game as every trail we ride is new, we have no idea what is coming around the next corner and we ride nothing twice… So its all about how you can read the terrain and respond. This accelerates the relationship between man and machine like nothing else (yes, I want to fuck my bike, well, that’s how it appears to read on my second read through). We also managed to keep up with the guides on day 3, a sign that our Dirt Kung Fu was getting strong.
I realise that I have ranted on a bit in a religious like manner, so here is some other bits & pieces. The wolf’s day got off to an awesome start when he got the prime seat next to the German BOSS, see the look of excitement:
Following up from this huge win, the wolf really hit his straps when, building on his brekkie success, he went into the local village and scored us our first French Beaver of the trip, full respect for doing the hard yards and even managing to keep it warm:
The start of the day was a 1.5 hour drive to the 2070m peak that was our kick off point… Along the way we stopped for water and a leg stretch and luckily for us this is where we managed to secure the ‘Cunt of the day award’, we were lucky enough to have the Rapha Jaguar station wagon (adorned with Rapha Dogma’s on the roof) roll past us with a very sour looking dude driving it, doc was so shocked at the cuntery of it that it was an instant winner for the award (Yes – I own copious amounts of Rapha kit and have a modelling contract, but this is an MTB trip and so I must be anti anything that isn’t epic MTB gear or kit):
And yes, that is Dok dropping an elongated C Bomb. We then decided to take our team work up a notch and at the next toilet stop, we synchronised our effort on the pissing front, its a 10 out of 10 for style, focus and head down positioning… I don’t want to judge, but it does look like its taking the wolf more effort to locate his gear… (I got to make that judgment as I was up late typing this shit up and I could hear him snoring next door):
And finally, here we are at the top of the start of the day… The video footage is better to be honest (especially when one of the Austrian Assassins drops into the snow full gas and finds a deep patch, resulting in a massive over the bars and face plant), but hopefully this photo does it some justice:
How good was this trail? Well, once we cleared the top snow section and a bit of portage, we were well set to get into some serious shredding, here is part one of the three part series on this massive long downhill:
Sweeeeeetttt… But, the best was really still to come, for today was Grey Earth day. Yes, this pieces of track is massively legendary due to not only its insanely unique terrain, but also due to its speed and just all round radness. This is worth a look:
Product of the day? There are a few worthy mentions:
- MRP chain guide and bash ring – Dok snapped his in half with a massive rock hit… So it has done his job and saved the chain rings
- 750mm wide bars – You’d have to like eating shit if you didn’t run them up here, they are awesome for this type of riding
- Shimano shadow derailiuers – Yes, I know I am a well documented SHAM hater, but these shadow clutch rear D’s are the absolute business and we have been threading through rock gardens that would have torn off a normal rear D by now, the things are also super quiet and work endlessly under any conditions or abuse, so full marks to Shimano San.
Back to the future – As you can see from the below video, the racers in this years TP had an awesome day yesterday on the Day 3 terrain that we rode, this edit gives an awesome summary of how insane the riding is: