GREAT 13min movie with Matt Hunter in the back of beyond
The North Pole has a neighbour: Svalbard. It’s one of the world’s most striking wilderness areas, and it’s where Norrøna came up with one of its greatest and most popular concepts: svalbard. Inspired by vast glaciers, fantastic fjords and jagged peaks, svalbard also honours polar heroes of past and present. These products are outdoor essentials – arctic quality cotton for winter use, rugged summer mountain wear, renowned synkron™ backpacks and a special expeditionary concept developed personally by Børge Ousland. Durability and weather protection characterize Norrøna’s entire svalbard series. Yet we use materials that are kinder to the environment, like recycled polyester and organic cotton. View the products here: norrona.com/svalbard
As the season draws to and end (although there’s definitely still a couple of weeks of good riding left here) thought I’d whack up this little
edit ad 😉 of what has got to be the best timed, staged enduro event on the calendar…bring on TP 2014!
IT had been a week since my last ride (sounds like an AA meeting), although been hacking ’round town & skatepark on the Nukeproof most days – but not a proper off-road shred in the mountains and that is what’s required for a peaceful mind and happy body. So on Friday afternoon I decided to go for a big one, and what turns out might’ve been the last high altitude shred of the season…
I went to tackle the Double Descents of Col Des Ayes & Le Mélezin which when I look up at them today (3 days later) are both covered in fresh snow after the first pre-season dump that’s reached its icy hand below 2,000m
When I say Double Descents that obviously means Double Ascents too! I set out at about 14h00 at the usual fast pace down to the river then through town to Villar-St-Pancrace and then you climb. It’s a nice easy fire road all the way up to the little hameau of Les Ayes which sits at about 1,750m alt. After Les Ayes you get up to a nice clearing/pic-nic spot where you cross the river and continue onwards and upwards…the higher you go the worse the track gets and there’s some pretty steep sections but nothing to testing
Continuing up the trail and checking my watch I realise I have now done over 1,000m of vertical ascent and as I hadn’t done this route before I don’t know much higher I have to go. There’s obviously amazing views everywhere you turn but when you come across animals it’s always a good excuse to stop, take a some photos and have a breather for a minute or two…thank you
That young black bull wasn’t feeling me at all and I’d left my matador gear at home so thought it was time to continue up the trail and see how high it would take me. After about another 100m of vertical I reached a small gite and some little shepherds huts and a bit after that and three hours after setting out the trail stopped at about 2,300m alt. Time for a drink, an energy bar and try to find the top of the Col des Ayes descent so the fun part could begin 🙂
The countdown has begun for Felix Baumgartner’s epic jump from the edge of space. Supported by a team of experts, Felix will ascend in a helium balloon to an altitude of 120,000 ft / 36,576 m where he will take a leap of faith into the unknown in an attempt to become the first person to break the speed of sound during freefall
Watch it LIVE at youtube.com/redbull andhttp://redbullstratos.com !!
Felix Baumgartner draws from his extensive BASE jumping and skydiving history to prepare himself for the Final Mission. He relives the challenges he has already successfully accomplished and reveals the philosophy that drives him to push himself further and higher.
Click here to watch the Red Bull Stratos CGI Clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCqnQq86fkY
Watch Felix’s first successful Test Jump here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-TCO2IdoTA
Nicolas Lau is the overall winner of the Trans Provence and the drama of the race continued
Trans Provence came to a close on Sunday and the winner was Nicolas Lau. Over the trails, through the rain, thunder and lightning and to the beach at Monaco the last day of the Trans Provence was an eventful one.
One rider, Sven Martin, broke his arm and had to be airlifted to hospital and despite this his wife Anka Martin finished the day.
There were two severe storms, which saw riders and mountain staff dodging lightning and the trails becoming even more perilous. Following the second storm there was a three-bike pile up but thankfully no more serious injuries.
So the final top three for the men’s race was Nicolas Lau in first, Nicolas Vouilloz in second and last year’s winner Jérôme Clementz came in third.
The women’s race was won by Anne-Caroline Chausson with Anka Martin in second and Rosara Joseph in third.
So a dramatic week at the Trans Provence, what excitements will next years race hold?
Check out the latest video update from Trans Provence as the riders make their way over the trails
It’s Day 3 of Trans-Provence and day 3 is the day that things got physical.
With a 500 metre carry as part of the first Special Stage the riders were most certainly being pushed to their limits as they either push or carry their bikes uphill.
The descent is no friendlier but speedier as the riders are almost fired onto the valley floor which is then followed by a road climb to the feed station, things only got more brutal from then on in.
Cube Action Team’s Nicholas Lau maintained his lead today with last years winner Jérôme Clementz keeping in hot pursuit in second coming in four seconds after Lau. Nicholas Vouilloz also stayed in the third place.
Ann-Caroline Chausson is leading the women’s race followed by Rosara Joseph and Anka Martin.
We also meet the mountain staff who enable the race to happen as they check the riders in and out at each stage, stay tuned for more action tomorrow with day 4.
A storm of biblical proportions greets riders on Day 2 of Mavic Trans-Provence
Trans-Provence is a pure test of endurance but it is also a test of commitment and so Day 2 proved to be for the 70 riders that set off from Clamensane to Digne-les-Bains.
Weather conditions were atrocious for the 57.6km of riding on Monday. Wind, rain sleet and hail made riding difficult at times. Special Stage 6 on Monday was cancelled for this very reason.
By early afternoon the storm had blown itself out and riders pedalled some warmth back into their bodies but all the participants warmly welcomed the end of a torrid day out on the trails.
Day 2 saw Nicolas Lau make a move into first place overall after being the fastest over the three Special Stages that did go ahead (4, 5 and 7) on Monday.
Fabien Barel was fastest over Special Stages 4 and 7 but was 11th fastest on Special Stage 5. Barel was absent on Day 1 of Trans-Provence so is already someway behind the leaders.
Jerome Clementz, who had been leading after the end of the first day, was third fastest on Day 2 but lost a minute and 14 seconds overall to Lau over today’s Special Stages.
Lau has an overall classification time of 48:43 after the end of Day 2. Jerome Clementz is second on 49:43 with Nicolas Vuilloz third on 50:22.
Caroline-Anne Chausson is still the leading woman with a time of 58.14 and is 23rd overall. MTB snapper Sven Martin is the leading amateur rider and occupies 12th place overall.
This was a hard ride. I set out from home at about 10h45 to meet a friend in Villeneuve. Together we were going ride to the Col du Granon via the gravel track and then hit one of the amazing singletrack descents back down again.
It was a sunny but windy day and I knew it was going to be a tough one when I’d already run out of low gears on the main road to Villeneuve! The wind was blowing straight at me with the odd big gust from the side, making riding tricky from the start. I arrived at the meeting point 10mins late and already breathing hard…and we hadn’t even begun the ascent yet…this didn’t bode well
When you take the gravel track up to the col from Villeneuve, it starts off fairly tame (by Alpine standards) but before you know it, your bums on your seat and you’re dropping to your lowest gear and just spinning your way up trying to not count km’s or metres above sea-level. It gets pretty steep in some places and the chat and banter seem to peter out the higher you climb. I was sorely missing the 11-34t cassette that I used to have before I upgraded to a 11-32t. Those 2 teeth would’ve made my life just a little easier right then…
The gravel track is about 6km long and in that time you gain about 550m in altitude. We got to the top of the track in about an hour and that’s when the real fun began
At the top of the track the only way up to the col is to join the road for the last 5km. Sounds easy hey? Well it’s not. It’s very steep & very exposed and it was very windy and very hard work. The roadside signs telling you how high you are and how many km to the summit seem to take a lifetime to come along even though each sign is only 1km apart…
Those 5km took us nearly an hour to cycle and in that time you gain another 500m in altitude. My maths is terrible but even I can work out that that averages at a 100m altitude gain for every 1km of tarmac your tyres roll on. That proved hard work at over 2,000m up in the sky and for half the time into a very strong headwind. As you follow the road your direction changes and for the last couple of km the wind is behind you which is a relief. By that time my legs were begging me to stop but I pushed on for the last couple of km and got to the summit feeling good 🙂
So we made the top but we still had the traverse to do. It’s a pretty amazing little trail, nothing more than what looks like a goat track in some places and continues up and down for another 4km of rocky, exposed singletrack but with amazing views down across the valley and beyond to the south east where the mountains continue to the horizon…
The descent has got to be one of the best mountain biking trails in the area. Just awesome. Very technical and steep with lots of rocks and sketchy bits and plenty of tight switchbacks and trees but also some amazing fast, flowy sections where you can just let go of the brakes and rip it!
All in all, an amazing loop – about 30km from start to finish and if you’ve got it in you to do that climb you will be rewarded with some very special stuff on the way down 🙂
…of course if you haven’t got it in you to do that climb, you can just get someone to drive you up…but that’s cheating 😉