Bourg St. Maurice, France
It's surprisingly rare to find someone who can envision a grand journey even remotely as well as Ash Smith. An engineer by trade he gave up developing Swiss railway systems to devote himself to engineering a route by singletrack through the Maritime Alps that he lead others to experience the true mountains and what he felt was true mountain biking. In 2007 he organized a small gathering for friends but looking back it's clear that it was a prototype for something much bigger.
The Trans-Provence, as it was named, was a melting pot of mountain biking's finest ingredient elements – long rides through breathtaking scenery, spiced with 24 timed (mostly descending) stages – or indeed a manifestation of what Ash believes MTB is all about. The event ran for ten installments from 2009 until 2019 as a rally-style race which many past participants will tell you is more about the adventure of ""live trail discovery"", than the time on the clock. So what's next? All we know is that Ash is always 'just scouting'...