by Ben Haworth
December 15, 2009
Trans-Provence is a 7-day mountain bike race in which participants cross the sunny Mediterranean Alps of South-Eastern France. Starting just outside Gap and finishing right on the beach in Monaco, the organisers believe that the route covers more singletrack than any other 7-day organised route, worldwide. The route is 320km long with 10,000 vertical metres of ascent and (thanks to a half hour trailhead shuttle each morning which itself is a key factor in allowing so much singletrack to be covered), 15,000 vertical metres of descent.
Apart from its exciting route, Trans-Provence is also set apart from other multi-day endurance rides by its ground-breaking competition format. The winner is the rider who arrives on the Med having accumulated the shortest total time from the many long singletrack descent “Special Stages” over the course of the week (of which there are 3 or 4 per day). Due to the fact that descents are timed and ascents are not, Trans-Provence is the first ever week-long competitive trek where the race is won on the singletrack rather than on double track or fireroads, making it more a test of technical ability than ironman fitness. A very welcome by-product of this multi-stage-per-day format is its creation of a friendly and collective ambience, where participants can ride socially when not being timed.
Supported by a comprehensive camps and catering operation, participants of the Trans-Provence have only to concern themselves with riding the great trails, eating the plentiful tasty food cooked for them, and sleeping in the comfy camp set-up for them each night along the way.
Registration is now open for the 2010 Trans-Provence event which will take place from 25th September – 3rd October 2010.
More details can be found at www.trans-provence.com