Santa Cruz Bicycles - Jamie Nicoll at the 2019 Mavic Trans-Provence

Trans-Provence Day One


Mavic Trans-Provence - Day One

Juin 16 — 2019 | France

The first race dispatch from Santa Cruz’s own world-traveling lens-slinger, Gary Perkin who's on the ground and in the mix all week at the 2019 Trans-Provence.

After a two year hiatus, the Trans-Provence is back for the tenth and final edition. It was a bit of a bittersweet moment for me. I spent a chilly, yet very memorable birthday morning there a few years ago and today less than a week from my next birthday I realized this would be the last such time on Trans-Provence.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

I don’t want to turn this into a sad occasion, though, because it is, in fact, a celebration – a resounding celebration – of the race that has changed how we perceive what can be done and where we can go on a bike. It allows us to learn the ancient history of trails in the area and how their use, once so important to trade, commerce and strategic influence waned but has now been resurrected for different use.

It's through the passion of Ash Smith and Melissa Munro (his partner in both the race and life) that we are allowed a glimpse into the history and beauty these trails pass through. And of course, the crew that brings us this event.

Enough about my emotions at the top of a col at 2250m above sea level; what about the trails? Well, Ash has promised us twenty-two and a half new stages out of twenty-four this week. And the first stage, Chancelaye, was part of that half. After a shortish climb on a track we rode a few years ago, we started down from the col only to turn off partway down and traverse the landscape much lower down the valley to Villars-Colmars. New and exciting exposure awaited!

It was interesting that despite knowing it was a fresh track we had never ridden, it felt familiar to the stage it replaced; one with similar woods, grassy turns to begin with, and a similar chunky rocky ending just to catch you out. Stage 2, La Secréte, ran in yet another similar vein by reversing a pre-existing stage into a climb and descending another fresh and historic track to lunch in Colmars.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Stages Three and Four, - C.S.M. and Megatanker, were unlike anything we’d ridden in the area before. After a long climb, the liaison to three was an amazing ribbon of loam through a wooded ridgeline that reminded some of Slovenia and others of British Columbia - depending on their experiences. The stage itself was an interesting one whereby it seemed that someone was turning up the chunkiness the further down and more tired you got.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Stage Four was the perfect end to the day in that it reminded those of us who were struggling with exposure or switchbacks (or chess moves as Ash likes to call them) that we actually could still ride a bike. It was filled with confidence inspiring turns and grip that embraced your tires so well that you ended up going way faster than you thought you could on the unusually long un-Trans-Provence-like straights.

All in all 51km with 1794m up and 3313m down made for a perfect start to the final week of Trans-Provence.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

From the Riders

Follow the results for Santa Cruz's own Steve Peat, Chris Johnston, Jamie Nicoll, Max Schumann, and Romain Paulhan, along with Mary-Anne Wannamaker, Loic Delteil and Lyle Hyslop of Santa Cruz Factory Racing, and Juliana Bicycles’ Tanja Naber and Emily Slaco on the Trans-Provence site and then check back here for more from the team.

Romain Paulhan: 2nd Overall

“I’m dead at the end of today! Just kidding, it was so good man. The last stage - well every trail - was so beautiful, so skinny and in the mountains. It was a great day.”


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Steve Peat

I had a good day today, started off the morning with a good feeling, but it’s been a long and very hot day. So I sweated a lot of my salts out and *that* caused lots of cramps. I struggled a bit with cramps today, but really enjoyed the stages - especially that last one. It was awesome, it made me forget all about the pain I had before that with cramps up those climbs. Its been a good day!

Chris Johnston

Day one was a tough one. Stage one was just adjusting to the trails and then at the end of the day I flatted at the top of the last stage so I rode the stage with a flat tire and *I’m* just amazed it held out and is still straight and true. I’ve just put a new tire on for tomorrow so going to be playing chase!

Dickon Hepworth

Hot, sweaty, hard, very enjoyable. Amazing. I think the stages were as I expected them but the climbs were a lot more than I expected - especially with the heat today. Overall no dramas, no crashes, no punctures so I’m very happy with it really.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Chris Ball

It was a great day - it reminded us of why this is such a special race. It had a bit of everything. It was definitely a roller coaster of emotions - with mechanicals, crashes, punctures. Not many tears that I saw - but some sweating from eyes. It had everything - that last stage was one of the best bits of trail I've ever ridden in some of those corners. Fantastic.

James Pretty

On the first stage, I got to the exposure and was basically terrified and went to safe mode and the rode like a muppet for the rest of the stage. On two I got a bit better but missed all the left-hand hairpins - kind of like a Zoolander scenario.

Then on Three, I got behind Jeff Carter - reigning 2W masters champion - and that was like radar lock - and as you saw we basically flew down. A couple of close over the bar moments, but then he would get away and I’d pull him back - and we tied on the same time.

And then Four was just flat out - it was amazing. It was called Megatanker but was actually the perfect trail for the Megatower - you know... set it free and away she went, and I just sort of hung on. A few safety braking moments where I thought about the consequences of a pedal clip. All in all an awesome first day - long though - 10 hours. I didn't think it would be that long - but great.

Emily Slaco

Day one was a good day. You are kind of trying to wrap your head around it from the start to the end - you just have to get used to riding in Europe. It's a different kind of riding to usual and it just got better every stage. Actually, it was really fun. The last stage was amazing, really fast and finished off a good day.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Bérengère Boës

Day one was lots of fun, lots of climbing - but we knew that at the start - it was going to happen. Perfect day, can’t complain - no crashes - Perfect.

Mary-Anne Wannamaker

So much pressure … it was a struggle, it was sweaty and hot. Stage Three was my favorite it was rowdy, rocky and totally different to anything I ride at home. Stage Four was fast and fun - maybe too fast. It was hard to stop braking.


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Check back tomorrow for the dispatch from day two of the final edition of the Mavic Trans-Provence.

Previous Next Post Links

Related Posts