Trans Provence is an annual 7 day enduro mountain bike race that weaves its way between Rochebrune and Monaco, crossing the Monges massif, Haute Verdon, and then the Mercantour National Park before descending towards the coast.
Each day consists of a selection of timed “predominantly singletrack, predominantly downhill” stages, linked together by “predominantly ascending untimed Liaison Stages”. Most stages begin with a minibus uplift, allowing a greater proportion of downhill riding to uphill, although the latter is still considerable, at around 1350m per day.
Compared to other enduro events, especially those like the hugely popular Megavalanche, T-P is very small – only 55 riders. However, because of the quality of the route and organisation, it attracts the very best enduro riders in the world. This year, entrants included Nico Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Jerome Clementez, Mark Weir, Mark Beaumont, and Tracy Moseley.
Having been glued to the videos and coverage of T-P 2011 over the last week, I came to the conclusion that this race is without a doubt something that I want to ride more than any other. I can’t think of anything else that really tests the skills and abilities that real mountain biking demands more than this. It’s not enough to be a one descent wonder – you’ve got to be resilient enough to keep the focus and drive throughout seven consecutive days, and be ready to push hard downhill after riding up big steep hot hills.
Now the Nomad is built up I’ve got the perfect machine for the job. I really want to enter the 2012 event – I just need to figure out if I can really commit enough time to the preparation, and also come up with a strategy to possibly include my then wife and little daughter – perhaps they can be the support crew?!
I’ve linked the Vimeo films covering this year’s event below.