Mavic Trans-Provence - Day Six

6月 21 — 2019 | France

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

This is the end.

After six days and ten years of racing and traversing the southern Alps from mountain tops to the Mediterranean Sea the Trans-Provence has come to a close, and not just for the 2019 edition, but forever. This is a tough pill to swallow; tougher than all the hike-a-bikes and switchbacks over the years!

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

After creating a race unlike any other, Ash Smith and Melissa Munro have decided that the current ground-breaking, life-changing format has run its course. As someone who has done more than half of all the editions [of the Trans-Provence] over the last decade, I find it hard to comprehend why it needs to end. But after talking, hugging and tearing up with Ash on Friday at the podium ceremony I understand why it needed to end. Ash and Melissa are innovators and need constant change and inspiration to push the boundaries of what can be achieved. Anyone who has ridden a TP will know this.

Mavic Trans-Provence 2019 // Day 6 from Mavic® Trans-Provence on Vimeo.

Just when you think the combination of vert, tech, and flow couldn’t get harder it does - but you adapt and manage.

Just when you think you are at breaking point on a seemingly insurmountable hike-a-bike, you crest the col for a view that takes your already limited breath away.

Just when you think you have experienced the best trail you’ve ever ridden, another rises up - or rather falls away - to take its place.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

After putting the event on hiatus in 2018, Ash felt that this year - on the tenth edition and after a decade of racing - it was time to draw a line in the sand and close the chapter that is Trans-Provence. And what a closing: twenty-two new trails out of twenty-four; new valleys explored, ancient trails discovered, uncovered and then raced on; and the most vert descended in the history of the race - the list goes on.

The final day of any adventure is always hard. After spending all day on your bike for six days, immersing yourself in the beauty of the mountains and the company of like-minded people from all over the globe, you know it's coming to an end and that you’ll have to return to the real world. But this year when we crested the col overlooking Menton and the Med there was the added knowledge that after Special stage twenty-four that was it.

Fin. The End. Ç’est finis.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Selfishly we wonder what is next? What's going to be the event to challenge us in a year's time? When will we ride with such a rad group of people again? When will we laugh over beers at how tough the day was? The fact that the event will be no more is the not thing to dwell on, though … the thing to think about over and over in the weeks, months, and years ahead is how the Trans-Provence has changed us, changed our perception of what is possible on a bike, and changed what is achievable as a participant and for the future and progression of our beloved sport.

So somehow, despite my inherent reluctance for any kind of spotlight, and on the eve of my forty-ninth birthday, I found myself on the podium after the media crew presentation and attempted to follow up a Sven Martin speech with a few short words of my own before choking up at the enormity of what the TP has meant to me. I know there will always be more opportunities to ride, race, revel, record and realize what we can achieve in beautiful places but we will always know that the Trans-Provence changed us.

We see things differently now.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

And for that, I sincerely thank all who have organized, raced, believed in and supported the Trans-Provence over the last 10 years.

And just like that, the table is flipped. The mic most definitely dropped. Ladies and gentleman Ash and Melissa have left the building. Let’s see what the next chapter brings…

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Gary Perkin

Romain Paulhan

Massive week. An Incredible one. It's like Andes-Pacifico in Chile. We are all together here riding bikes in real mountain bike country. The views were amazing. I really enjoyed every day on the bike. I can’t even remember the first stage anymore. I’m just happy to be here with Loïc, Lyle, Peaty, BiBi, Gary, and all the others. Its a very cool experience and I’m stoked to share that with everyone here.

I’m a bit disappointed about a second place by just 13 seconds - its pretty close. I had a massive crash on the second last stage but I had to keep pushing hard.

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Gary Perkin

Loïc Delteil

What a week it was. It's just hard to summarise - I can’t even remember the first day. It was a crazy experience, it was just so different every day. I had blast riding with everyone - from new people to old friends. Epic trails, epic views - I just can’t believe its the last one. I sure hope there’s something else coming up.

Chris Johnston

What an incredible week it has been. The 10th and final Trans-Provence was a truly memorable experience! As I sit in the airport waiting for my flight home, my body feels spent. Scratches up my shins and aching muscles all over, I have been physically and mentally pushed to the limits while embarking on one of coolest adventures on bikes with some very rad humans.

Trans-Provence to me is about the adventure and enjoying the journey amongst good friends, new and old. It takes some true grit to make it through the week and it’s like one big family out there, helping each other across the line. Well done to all that were along for the adventure and a big thanks to Ash and Melissa who have created an event that has brought so much to the mountain bike world.

Jamie Nicoll

Another great day in a great week. It’s a strange mixed feeling of you're stoked but you’re also sad. Your emotions can tip either way so easily in those final stages you know. You are pushing hard just to make another second here or there - it kinda means nothing but so much too. The last day was smooth for me - happy with my riding, happy to be here and share it with so many people.

Chris Ball

It was amazing as you’d expect. Day Two I genuinely expected to not be able to finish this. I was pretty disappointed with myself. But you just kind of embrace the plod as it were - as we did at the back. And you kind of get fitter, more resilient, everything comes together and you just really come to love where you are. To the point on the last stage where I was looking at the view and fell off because It was so beautiful. You gotta be careful of that. It’s just an amazing thing really, I rode with a lot of different people. I spoke to a lot of different people about a lot of different things. I had a brilliant time.

Lyle Hyslop

It’s a beautiful thing. It’s so hard to know where to begin to be honest. Every day seems to take an eternity but after six days of that, you arrive at the beach and go “What? Already?” It is really hard to describe it without loads of cliches & sayings about journeys and stuff like that. It’s hard to describe - there are moments of joy, moments of sadness, the odd tear when you sit on the saddle on Day Five. But everything is instantly forgotten when you arrive at the top of that climb, or the col, or the stage or the bottom. There are times when you want to hit Ash, ask him why, [or] kiss him. I don’t how they have managed to create an event like this but it's like nothing I’ve ever done - and probably like nothing I’ll ever do again. So stoked to be part of the last one for sure.

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Gary Perkin

Tanja Naber

Trans-Provence was probably the most awesome race I’ve ever done - it’s got the most spirit, riding bikes out there in nature and mountains all day. It’s what I love.

Emily Slaco

Last ever Trans-Provence! It’s bittersweet, isn’t it? It’s pretty awesome to be here and its always such an accomplishment. It’s not just about the race or about anything like that. It’s about finishing, it’s about being with people & meeting new people. I’m happy to have been here and been part of the last one. Awesome.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Bérengère Boës

It’s the day after the finish and I’m just thinking about the good times. Obviously, it was hard sometimes, but we were all super lucky to ride this last Trans-Provence. It was the first one for me and I really enjoyed everything - the liaisons, the stages, the people, the staff and the media. I’m just so stoked I’ve done this in my life. It's a bit sad there won’t be another one - as I would have done a few more before this! I’m so happy .. and very surprised to finish on the podium - but I’m taking it!

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Gary Perkin

Steve Peat

It’s been an absolutely amazing week doing the Trans-Provence. I’m so glad I got to do the final edition of it. Ash, Melissa and all the crew around them do such an absolutely amazing job. It’s unbelievable all the amount of organization that a huge event like that takes.

Ash sets the route and to me there are twenty-four stages and they are really special and really fun but for me, and it’s not really about the racing at an event like that, it’s about the places that you get to, the people that you meet and the experience of having an epic week crossing through the Alps. I had an absolutely awesome time. I rode my Megatower - which I think was the perfect bike for that kind of event. Just unreal, made a lot of new friends, drank a lot of beers and had a lot of fun. Cheers Trans-Provence!  

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