Seven days of rally style racing, ‘predominantly’ downhill single track, sounds too good to be true – I’ll probably regret saying that. However, the Trans-Provence offers just that. The race starts in Digne-les-Bains and finishes in Monaco – so only the Pyrenees stand in our way before we reach millionaires paradise.
Now in its second year the word is out and the 45 riders descend from all over the planet – Australia, Canada, UK, Italy….the list goes on. From my experience of intimate races like this I am expecting some competitive rivalry on the trails and sociable times at the camps.
Now to the interesting stuff! Each day’s riding has either three or four timed sections, all of the times accumulate until all stages have been completed and the TP champion 2010 will be named. We are expecting 1,000m+ elevation a day and 1,500m+ descending – take these stats as brash averages. The distance covered each day is less than 60km, but I am guessing this is a moot point considering the profiles.
I don’t know much about this event but considering the stats I am sure there will be some pretty hard riding and some extreme climbing – time will tell.
Day Zero – The long road ahead
After a three hour transfer from Nice airport it was time to meet and greet Ash and Melissa (the event organisers), register, sign disclaimers and unpack our bags into our tents. Food good enough for champions was served in an open air ‘hall’, which was a real treat having just arrived from London with a winter jacket on!
The riders briefing was something that either scared the hell out of everyone or lifted excitement levels – either way we are in for an epic journey through Provence. My bike choice (steel hardtail 29er with not much front suspension!) might not be ideal but I am hoping gravity is on my side and a bit of luck.
Finally, time to hit the sack with the Alpkit mat as the protection between mother earth and my sleeping bag.