Les Thuiles to Villars-Colmars
The report from day two of the Trans-Provence. Our man on the ground Gary Perkin hooked us up with a dispatch from deep in the High Alps and close to all the action.
We all awoke bright and early in Les Thuiles knowing that Day 1 was behind us and we had started the journey to Menton and the Mediterranean Sea. After a shuttle to the top of Col d'Allos - where I celebrated a birthday sunrise two years ago - the media crew were greeted by the most amazing light filtering through the lifting clouds. It was going to be a good day!
The first day's exploits had taken place near the Var river valley system, and today we crossed over the the Verdon with stages 5 and 6 called Transverdon Part 1 and Part 2 to reflect this. Stage 1 is long, flowy affair with a quite few tricky power-sapping turns in and out of gullys created by the flow of water through the forest, and the stage ends in some long sweeping turns through lush mountain meadows filled with flowers.
After lunch and a major climb through the woods - Stage 7 - La Serriere - begins. This is a favorite of mine for the crazy fast balcony trail that lures you in to go faster and faster yet you know that it's just waiting to catch you out with a pedal strike or some hidden danger to ping your front wheel off into the unknown. You find yourself realizing this and slowing down ...and then speeding up again a turn or two later and then repeating the process over and over trying to get away with as much as you can.
Stage 8 - Croix de Puy - is a great way to end the day's racing, and with similar features it's almost a simplified version of Stage 7 but with slightly less exposure and risk. The loamy woods and rooty, rocky turns added a great twist to the day's racing with tired bodies hanging on as best they could till the time check with the Trans-Provence Mountain Staff.
After a liaison that ran through cobbled streets wedged between medieval walls and castles we got to camp to check and compare times with our mates. It wasn't long before we were sharing the whoops and hollers, near misses and what-could-have-beens over a well earned beer. Or two. It's midnight now and we all have to be up and at it again in 5 hours.
Follow the results for Santa Cruz's Max Schumann, Jamie Nicoll, Shane Kroeger, Conrad Murdoch, and Seb Kemp along with Juliana-SRAM pro team's Anka Martin on the Trans-Provence site and then check back here for more from the team tomorrow!