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.
"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.
As we pack, shop and reluctantly bid farewell to Davos, we take a moment to reflect on a marvellous two weeks of riding, before heading for Scuol just 50kms away over the Fluela Pass. We adored Davos for its stunning trails, weather and discount guest pass covering bikes on lifts, trains, boats, buses and planes. Every trail and every day was a revelation. Our trips are studiously marked in sunflower fluoro highlighter on the 'single trail topo' map. A spiderweb of good times, challenges and climbs.