Note – This post is a recap of the Trans Provence Tour in June 2013, not a real time update!
Well, here we are everyone – The post for the final day of the Trans Provence Tour. I would like to thank the Dok and Das Wolf for making the week of epic riding that was the Trans Provence Tour a great experience, they were both awesome shredders and bad mother F’s all week. Aside from Wolf’s snoring and borrowing of my shit, it was simply awesome. Respect to the wolf for boxing on when his steed gave up, I would have cried and sulked, but he got on with it, nice work. As I have said, these trips are all about the people you do them with…
Right, before I get gushy and tear up, lets rip into the Day 6 action immediately with a shot out the window from Sospel, we woke up to another perfect day, BOOM:
Better yet, we had BACON for breakfast (or Baycon if you are Filipino)! Fuck yes, awesome work… Downside to the bacon was the MAD English woman that ran the hotel… Oddly she took a shining to the wolf when we sent him in to do the laundry, he got a bollocking to start with, but she eventually gave way to his sweet wolf charms. Its been awesome this week seeing the BOSS and Crazy old women take a shine to Das Wolfenstien, he really does know how to secure a niche market.
Right, on to the good shit sports fans! We got an uplift out of Sospel and then were told we had an hour long fire road climb to the summit… Like gullible lemmings, we commenced the grinding death march, day 6 and the legs and body were feeling it BIG time man… Creaking and fatigue out of the gate. Wolf had ditched the Nukeproof bike in favour of the weirdest piece of shit you will ever see, a Spanish Avanti called the Mondraker, so he was in full testing mode. True to form the lying guides had set us up and we only had a 10 minute climb before some initial down and traversing to get to the first special stage DH of the day, pads on boyz:
The landscape had changed a lot over the 6 days, but as we approached the coast it was still epic views to be had for all:
First DH of the day – This one was described as ‘Super Technical’ and ‘rocky’ and we had to space out the gap between riders as a result… No shit, for once the guides hadn’t lied as this was truly mental. Straight away it was into some mind numbingly tight rocky switch backs that were littered with gnar and loose rubble, backing up on each other that basically meant you had to be inch perfect, with some track standing and trials action in some of them to make it around. It also had drop offs, limited visibility and some fast sections to make sure that your brain cortex was well and truly fried by the end, along with your hands and arms… An easy start to the day this was NOT!
Dok and I agreed that we couldn’t have gotten down this on day 1, but skills had improved to the point where we could now manage this savage little fucker of a track, we were particularly stoked when we pinned the pro line to flat on one of the nasty sections, including dominating the drop in at the end of the chute. Wolf was grappling with awful Avid brakes on the loaner bike (more SHAM cuntery). But, he wasn’t struggling as much as Obelix, one of our Dutch friends. He found this section so epic that he went over the bars and broke two bones in his hand, so it was a long wait as we got him and his bike down the mountain. Here is the dok showing via hand motions how sh1t it is when a Dutchie fucks up your morning:
Meanwhile, I decided to make a far more appropriate gesture to show my endless patience for waiting:
We then sat and lay about in the French sun waiting for the ambulance to arrive and eating sammies, after all, this is a holiday right? Here is kicking it French styles:
Are we shipped our Dutch brother off to the meat works, we had a road climb up to the most beautiful village for a water stop… This place was super cool and perched on the side of the mountain, check out its form here, super hot and definitely village of the day award:
From here we had an hour climb up to the top of the final DH of the trip… and Fuck me, it really was an hour… Grinding away up a French Col on my Evo road bike is one thing, but on a 30 pound MTB with 160mm of Travel both ends is quite another proposition… It was helmets off and a grind all the way up to the view over the coast line. Along the way we came across a herd of the mankiest looking sheep you will ever see, not a big deal, until the guides stopped and made us dismount to walk through them to avoid being eaten by the extremely large and autonomous sheep dogs guarding the flock. These fuckers are massive dogs and live with the sheep to protect them from Wolves… Naturally our wolf was nervous as they sniffed out his shrivelling nut sac, eventually working out his was empty and he posed no threat to the sheep, we were therefore allowed to pass. This led us to the final DH of the trip! Here we are lined up before the final drop in – This is possibly my favourite photo of the trip (aside from the wolf sleeping sitting up photos):
The town in the background is Menton, where we would eventually end up… As you can imagine from the distance, there was a lot of down to be had to get there! The final DH was tough right from the get go, into some seriously rocky tight steep sh1t, example:
Honestly, I did start to think that it was a turd of a final DH, but it suddenly turned as we reached the tree line and Dok and I turned carving speed to HIGH and set about taking the final DH apart at the seams. Full gas and about halfway down Dok got a flat, so it was tube change time. Here is the Dok getting a quick blow job from Julia the guide:
Shortly after this we took to the last section of the DH with a pair of pliers and a blow torch, smoking it to pieces in a high speed smashfest which was an excellent way to end the last major DH of the trip! Seriously, we were actually shredding this thing, it was a culmination of a weeks worth of skills development, total integration with our carbon hell machines and epic confidence building. Its a super rad feeling. Then the wait for the Wolf started… Then the call came, there had been a fatal mechanical of the Rear D kind and Wolf had killed another machine off. Here he is with his handy work:
Look at that, munted! Nice work… Yes, Wolf wanted to have a crack at the COD award, but try as he might, he could not edge out the BOSS, who somehow managed to jump the week long agreed pecking order on the very last piece of trail (there was more than we had though there would be), holding up Dok and I no end… We heckled, harassed and locked brakes, but she was oblivious to reality. At one point we did go three wide and I was about to unleash a massive chop in, but wanted to finish the trip in one piece. So, end result, COD to the BOSS.
We then rolled down to Menton and along the promenade, which was golden action. Along the way we spotted a Maccas and it was time to deliver on a key mission objective: Consume a ROYALE with CHEESE! Here we are smoking down these bad boys:
We then consumed a few beers on the beach in Menton for good measure to celebrate an amazing week before cruising back to Sospel for the final trip dinner:
Wolf managed to outdo himself and tried to claim the Cunt of the tour award by proudly wearing a Rapha T Shirt to a hard core MTB dinner, drum roll please:
Product of the tour went to our bikes (well, my bike and Dok’s bike really, as they were still intact): They had everything thrown at them that week, all conditions, all terrain and an epic amount of abuse with only limited maintenance in the short time we had at night. Each day they trucked on and were superb machines that made the riding fantastic. To break it down to an individual product of the tour, its definitely Shimano Saint brakes – They never missed a beat and were as awesome on the last DH of the trip as they were on the first, an amazing piece of kit.
So, that about raps it up… It was a life event and experience and probably forever changed the way we ride, as well as giving us some awesome perspective, memories and laughs along the way. Simply put:
The best week of mountain biking ever
Back to the future – So, the TP Racers have just finished day 6 of their epic journey (WOAH – it would be so hard to race this thing!), how did they go on the final day? Check it out here, but, its worth noting that over those 6 amazing days the winning margin for the PRO’s was ONE second! WTF?!! Insane and quite incredible: