Day 5 of Mavic Trans-Provence showed in equal measure the spirit of cooperation and support that has always been the part of the spirit of Mavic Trans - Provence, but also the transition of the event, the sport, and the concept of multi day enduro style racing. From a mostly amateur affair to a to a recognised discipline in its own right, and with it the need for more stringent rules and the application of penalties for those that break them.
Day 5 itself is a very physical day with some of the hardest pedalling, Special Stages of the week and still really technical. If you're not already spent after four days of riding and racing the days Special Stages are punctuated by big asphalt climbs over two Cols.
So lets talk about the spirit of the event then, and what makes it so special. Yesterday saw Fabien Barel happily lend his spare Mondraker to one of our amateur racers to ride after he broke his own bike. No fuss , no drama just another rider helping out another rider - Watching the riders face as he was handed Fabien's nearly brand new Mondraker was a priceless moment.
More of the spirit of camaraderie was seen at the top of the second Col, and the start of Special Stage 3. Mixed groups of riders clean the last of the climb, maybe led out by a pro downhiller with a xc world cup racer in tow, the most unlikely grouping of riders imaginable taking turns to slug it out in front. Taking time to catch their breath, sitting along the edge of the start of third Special Stage to cheer each other on through the first few switch backs. Imagine dropping in to a section and being whooped and whistled for your efforts by Mark Weir, Fabien Barel, Nico Vouilloz, Nicolas Lau, Matti Lehikoinen, Anne-Caroline Chausson and Adam Craig to name but a few and you're just a regular rider who's out for the week to take part. Where else are you going to being cheered on by some of the fastest riders in the world? All of this happens, and it only happens at Mavic Trans-Provence!
Those of you that have been following the event will also be aware that yesterday for the first time in the history of Mavic Trans-Provence time penalties we're given out for cutting corners on sections.
This year, perhaps reflecting the way the event has changed, rules have been added regarding cutting corners through switchbacks , as much as anything to protect the trails that we're privileged to be able to use, and secondly to keep competition fair. We cannot police every corner, but if riders are openly cutting corners in front of riders , they will be and were time penalised.
Ash Smith, Mavic® Trans- Provence 's Race Directors official statement.
On the Mavic® Trans-Provence 2012 Day 5 (Thursday 27/09/2012) approximately 15 riders were accused of, and subsequently admitted to, "cutting the course" at the start of Special Stage 17.
However, the complex set of circumstances of which the stage start situation was comprised, and the lack of information from Mavic Trans-Provence staff sources regarding rider discussions, decisions and actions, leads Mavic Trans-Provence race director to believe that the standard 3-minute course cut penalty cannot be applied. Nevertheless, due to the fact that most riders did ride the corner in question correctly, a penalty reflecting the time gained by the offending riders was applied. The penalty given was 30 seconds.