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Trans-Provence Day 4

 

Mavic Trans-Provence - Day Four

June 19 — 2019 | France

The fourth 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.

What a day! I’m on my sixth Trans-Provence and been lucky to have ridden in Sospel and Breil-sur-Roya a number of times. Foolish me thinks I’ve seen all there is to offer in this region and yet today my mind was blown yet again by Ash Smith and his network of trail angels. The consensus in the media van and around the bar in Breil-sur-Roya was that Sp15 Piëracava must rank in the top three trails of Trans-Provence of all time. It was just that special. 

Mavic Trans-Provence 2019 // Day 4 from Mavic® Trans-Provence on Vimeo.

But first, let's summarise the rest of the day leading up to that point: riders climbed out of camp in Valdeblore and rode up to the col and La Colmiane for the first of the day's stages. The first parts of the stage felt like parts of some of the week’s earlier stages - almost alpine in parts - but then we hit the Mediterranean influence. Rocky ledges, short sections of flat out trail filled with rubble and then for your navigation skills to be on high alert. 

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Gary Perkin

Next up was SP13 - Maluna - an exercise in managing seemingly over-countable switchbacks during a 607m descent that covered just 3.2km. Let's just say that most won’t want jog the memory on this one, but it did allow us to descend down into the valley ever closer to Breil-sur-Roya and the Trans-Provence spiritual home of Sospel and the neighboring Roya valley.

A quick shuttle brought us to the incredible Col de Turini, a 15km climb made famous by the Monte Carlo Rally, and the fact that we media squids climbed it all the way from Lantosque in 2013 or 2014 when we had things a little tougher than today! 

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Gary Perkin

From the top of the col, a seemingly innocuous wooded singletrack led us to the start of SP15. A trail newly re-discovered by the TP race doctor, Brice. We’d been briefed on the tech features around some old ruins but getting to the ruins was an absolute blast. And for a photographer, they were a creative playground. We could all have spent the day honing angles and trying shots over and over. But race photography and, more to the point, the Trans-Provence photography is about shooting then moving and doing your best not to get in the way of racers.

To this end, we shot as much as we could to try do justice to the history of the place and then railed as hard as we could in between riders separated by 30 seconds or so. Try counting to 30 in your head as you try to navigate some of the most technical trails you’ve ever ridden and then try doing that with a camera bag on your bag. It’s a blast! The rundown from a hidden waterfall in the bottom part of the trail was all time for me - bedrock, flat out flat turns, trying to judge just how long you can keep off the brakes for. I found some limits and thankfully they were higher than I thought. Stoked. 

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Gary Perkin

After the high of SP15 it was crash back down to earth with a liaison that tried its best to break most of the racers. It's tough to hike down tech features after doing three big stages over four days — n the mind as well the body. But persevere the racers did and it was near the start of SP16 that we got our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea - our endpoint in two days time.

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Gary Perkin

SP16 - Mouta - started off with the complete opposite to the previous stage - with man-made bike park-esque timber features at the end of the first straight. It was a bit of a shock to the system after 4 days of almost completely natural trails. But variety is the spice of life - and the Trans-Provence - so in we dove. Some crazy rubble strewn corners eventually gave way to wooded goodness where the route markers had to divert off the main line and onto a much smoother and flowy trail due to a landslide. Another game of two halves. Arriving back at camp in Breil-sur-Roya straight from the end of the special stage dropped riders at the Roya river and welcome chance to cool off and ease some aching muscles in the cold water. 

A day to remember for sure …  

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Gary Perkin

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Gary Perkin

From the Riders

Emily Slaco
Oh god, today was awesome - as usual, and it was really hard and I went through a lot of highs and a lot of loooowws! Real lows and real highs and here we are in a new place and its beautiful. And it has a river. Love it. 

Lyle Hyslop
I don’t even know where to begin. I had a chilled one on SP13 - stayed upright was buzzing. The stage after that I got caught in the grass and put my bars into my pubic bone, went over the front and spent about 5 minutes trying to get my handlebars out of my shorts. And I still didn’t beat Steve Peat - who almost broke his wrist on that stage. Fell off twice on the liaison, then basically sat down on the last one just to get home. But I have just spent 20 minutes in the river so I’ll be on it tomorrow. 

Dickon Hepworth
Day four stayed off the floor so success all around. Found my relationship with front end again .. we’ve been through counseling and we’re all connected. Happy days.

Steve Peat 
Started off pretty good - I got fourth on SP13 and I really enjoyed that stage. But I dinged my rotor and my braking was all over the place because it kept grabbing but I still had a good stage. Second stage of the day - nightmare - crashed loads, too big to slow down on those steep switchbacks. The third stage I was going alright until a product I won’t name ended up in my front wheel and slowed me down and nearly put me over the bars. Luckily, Gary Perkin was there to tell me what was actually up with it, because I was fumbling. Got going again and then I had an absolutely massive stack down the bottom on a really high-speed section. It came out of nowhere, grabbed my foot and I stopped dead and I landed in a load of bedrock and stuff. Ive got a little bit of a sprained wrist, but I managed to ride the last stage and still got 9th or 11th overall. It's not all about the racing though, it's about taking part in the Trans-Provence and seeing the scenery - the last couple of days have been really cool checking everything out. 

Romain Paulhan 
Day 4 - a pretty hard day man. Im not sure how I made the big climb. I was feeling good on the first stage, crashes on the second and third ones. But somehow I won the second and a bit back on the third and I won the fourth and ended up first on the day. Not sure why I’m first but it was good, it was a pretty hard day. Two more days now, we’ll see.

Loïc Delteil
Today was good, I felt really good on the climbing - I felt better than yesterday. But I really struggled to find the pace to charge on the stages. Still managed to stay on the bike despite all the loose corners and steep tracks. I definitely feel tired after today.

Bérengère Boës
I think today was by far the hardest day for me. I really struggled today, the liaisons were hard and blisters were horrible. I had my first two crashes of the event as well - in tow stages back to back. But I got away without any pain - it was too easy crashes. Two more days to go - I don’t know how we’re going to make it through - but we will. 

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Gary Perkin

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

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