Villars-Colmars to Valberg
The day-three Mavic Trans-Provence dispatch from Santa Cruz Trigger-Man, Gary Perkin.
It seems quite relevant that we get to the halfway point of the 2017 Trans Provence on the eve of the summer solstice—as our racing days on Trans-Provence draw shorter so do those long summer days. But before we get all maudlin on those facts, the race has so much more to offer on the remaining days.
Day 3 started with a shuttle up high to Col des Champs at 2080m. Before long we were on a long traverse around and down to a previous stage down that lead to Entraune which lead to quite possibly the most epic hike-a-bike in the history of on-foot bike riding.
We climbed - sometimes literally - up to the Parc National du Mercantour - the largest national park in France. Under the watchful eyes of rangers we pushed our bikes through this pristine wilderness before climbing to a ridgeline with 360 degree views of where we'd been and quite possibly where we were headed next.
We took a good few moments to reflect up high, and then we dropped into the racing stages. I won't go into the details of how many turns or root gaps or grey earth drifting or flat out grassy singletrack - but let me say this - you had to be there!
After a quick post-race hydration beer, we traveled on from Guillames and headed up to camp at the Valberg ski resort. There quite a few people headed to sleep even before sunset - the conclusion to a long day well spent.