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Trans-Provence Day 3

 

Mavic Trans-Provence - Day Three

June 18 — 2019 | France

The third 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.

When we all looked at today’s Trans-Provence route profile and stage descriptions we all thought it looked like an easier day than the previous days. Those of us who have been lucky enough to do multiple editions of this great race should have known it profiles, distances and vert - both up and more especially down - can take a bigger toll on your bike and body than they suggest. 

Mavic Trans-Provence 2019 // Day 3 from Mavic® Trans-Provence on Vimeo.


The day started with a fairly gentle pedal out of Valberg to SP9 - Precipas - a stage that was run in the Enduro World Series here a few years ago. Some riders thought their previous experience may help - but the early morning dew, smooth rocks and long grass covered in dew threw that all out the window. One rider described it as like trying to go tenpin bowling on an ice rink. It was greasy, to say the least. 

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Gary Perkin

Then in what felt like a reprieve race organizer Ash Smith negotiated to the Valberg Bike Park and its main lift opened for two uplifts in the park. The stage that was run was officially a blue bike park trail. Pinguiller was easy, tame, what have you … but it was more sorbet, a palate cleanser if you will after the madness of the previous 9 stages .. and the upcoming ones. The track was loamy, flowy and not over bermed or bike parked out. You felt like you were in complete control of your bike - decisions you made to where we wanted to go just happened. Unlike some of the other stages where sometimes you are not in complete control of your biking destiny. 

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Gary Perkin

SP11 - Tony’s - is the direct result of Ash’s constant hunt for more varied trails for the Trans-Provence. Even in places where he has discovered winning trails before - Red Earth is an example. Instead of running the stage that has featured in two previous editions we were treated to a whole new trail high above the same valley. The stage was an exercise in navigation and trail reading skills. Thorn scrub and loose, off-camber dirt everywhere added to the drama.

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Gary Perkin

Then it was time for the final stage of the day - Abeliera - aka Hobsons Choice. This was billed as the most physical and toughest stage of this year’s TP. At 5.48 km and 820m down its no laughing matter, couple this with exposure, sniper rocks and some of the steepest combination of switchbacks around this was one to be wary of. I have ridden this trail 4 or 5 times if memory serves correct and I worried the whole day about trying it again. After about 7 or 8 hours in the saddle trying to get down this trail requires all you’ve got. But with a fair chunk to be kept in reserve for those OS moments.

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Gary Perkin

I struggled in the beginning, trying to calm down and roll with it, really struggled in the festival of steep switchbacks but then when the rain came I somehow found my rhythm in the sort of flowy woods … boosting my confidence the further and faster I managed to push myself. But the last few rubble filled turns and straights robbed me of all my new found confidence and I ended up in a pile on said rubble with my foot wedged between my tire and my Marsh Guard. 

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Gary Perkin

The Trans-Provence giveth and the Trans-Provence taketh away … usually on the same trail and many, many times a day. 

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Gary Perkin

Romain Paulhan

Oui c’est bonne! Another good day, pretty tired but a good day. I wasn’t too angry on the bike today I finished second on the day and Marco took 3 seconds back and we are now 14 seconds apart with me in the lead. We have three more days so we’ll see. 

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Gary Perkin

Loïc Delteil
Day 3 was a tough one - I’m pretty tired. We expected the day to be a little easier, less physical, less climbing but we had some gnarly stages with a lot of navigation and a different type of difficulty. But despite all that I’m happy with a top 10 at the end of the day. 

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Gary Perkin

Steve Peat
I had sh!t day, snapped my chain on the last stage and lost loads of time. But seriously it was alright, I enjoyed it, some great views, and had a few laughs and jokes with Lyle.

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Gary Perkin

Lyle Hyslop
Today was tough, Seb Kemp called tomorrow 'The Unravelling' but I’m pretty well unraveled already. I crashed on every stage bar the second one and twice on the last just to make up for that

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Gary Perkin

Dickon Hepworth
Day 3 a game of two halves for sure. First two stages were very nice. The fact that Ash gave us a chairlift shows he might be going soft on us. But then it all went a bit wrong after stage 2. I got distracted by the Red Earth - it wasn’t quite as grippy as I originally thought and I lost my relationship with the front end of my bike. That relationship is now in need of some repair - as are my knees and shins. But we survive intact  - 50% of TP done and we roll on to Day 4. 

Chris Johnston
Still not super smooth on the bike side of things. I had some more drivetrain issues and just hemorrhaged a bit of time on the last stage. But I was third on the day, so I can’t complain but there more in there if I can improve and hopefully get it dialed for tomorrow. 

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Gary Perkin

Chris Ball
Rowdy, physical, emotional, wet at the end as always for the Dark Cloud Crew, laughing at Smaily for breaking more of his sh!t. Another classic Trans-Provence day. 

James Pretty
Day 3 was quite good actually - I beat Jeff (Carter) on the third stage - Westworld as I called it - that was fantastic. And then on the fourth stage, I think it was either Ash’s briefing or what was written on the top of the stage marker hit me psychologically and I went into that like a small kitten and then got dismembered as I went down the hill. First I got caught by Wolfgang () in a field somewhere and he said “We have gone zee wrong way” and then it was just a nightmare with one of my classic patented meltdowns. Once it's over it's over and then it gets worse and worse. Sven was screaming at me and I almost tucked the front end under and over the bars and I would have gone over the edge and down a ravine and I would have been KIA. So, yeah, it was a big day. Crazy. Looking forward to tomorrow, to be honest. 

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Gary Perkin

Tanja Naber
The stages were really blind racing because you couldn’t really see where to go - but the stages themselves were pretty good and we didn’t get lost so that’s the most important. 

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Gary Perkin

Emily Slaco
Day 3 - we’re halfway done now. It was really beautiful out there today - the transfer stages were awesome, and the red earth was so fun - really cool like mini-freeride lines. Then we finished on a really awesome but hard stage - with lots of navigation and craziness but cool to finish day 3. 

Bérengère Boës
Today was good … honestly, I think the liaison made my day because it was so beautiful. The stages were quite gnarly and it was hard to see where you had to go but that’s part of the deal. Honestly, I was just happy to ride this stuff. We are halfway now - which is crazy to think about as we have done three big days already. Its all good and the sun is still out and we just have to keep it rolling. 

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Gary Perkin

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

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