Jamie Nicoll reflects on his sixth, and last (as in the event is no longer happening) Trans Provence - the iconic multi-day enduro race that traverses the mountains of Southern France, before rolling into Menton and the azure blue Mediterranean.
The bustling city of Aosta sits in the valley of the same name and is surrounded by monster mountains with quaint villages and farmhouses perched on their rocky slopes. Ditte and I have had a couple of previous sessions exploring the valley’s magnificent trails and so were pretty excited to return last year for an encore.
After completing the Tour Aotearoa, I then (bravely) informed work that I'd be leaving at the end of the month. I was “heading overseas" for another solo cycle tour, yet still hadn't figured out where. I had a few ideas, but committed to none. Then fate popped the Tour Divide race up on my browser. I dug deeper and tickets were soon booked to Canada. I planned riding 8 weeks south to Durango.
"Stay safe", everyone said. "Be careful". Their fear and concern were infectious, by the time we left for Colombia I had to keep myself away from the internet, stop searching for tales of mayhem and terror there. Four weeks later, this picture records the reality we encountered - welcoming, helpful with not a hint of danger.
16 year old Hawkes Bay shredder Archie Elliot and Australian videographer Dominic Hook journeyed to Nelson Lakes National Park earlier this year. They thrashed St Arnaud's newer and older trails, capturing the adrenaline and ambiance on a short video.
Beyond St Moritz where all the beautiful people hang out and the bike shops are full of carbon and titanium shiny stuff, a lonely mountain pass (Julierpass) leads to the train-less settlement of Bivio.
We were ensconced at alpine resort Vulpera, opposite Scuol but on the wrong side of the railway tracks and river. The faded once grand hotels and 80s budget apartments have been left to the vampires, vultures, chain smoking Italian road workers, and us mountain bikers. A bouncy castle, mini golf and kids swimming pool had invaded our front lawn, but an amazing piece of single trail descended from this to the mineral springs and back along the other side of the river into Scuol, bliss.