There were a handful of minutes, about seven hours into day four, when I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Legs burning from scaling a near-vertical wall of ancient stone terraces, I was hiking my bike downhill around a seemingly unyielding succession of the tightest switchbacks I’d ever seen, and the thought of calling it quits was devastating.
Trans-Provence is (or was) six days of blind big-mountain enduro racing, or riding, or pushing, or carrying, or just simply attrition, through the French High and Maritime Alps and down to the Mediterranean. It was my first time at TP or any “trans”-style race like it, and I was sitting very nearly at the bottom of the results sheet that filtered around the dinner table each evening, but the idea of not riding to the beach was crushing. This, I know, was thanks to a very particular blend of magic I’d been swept up in over just a few days, and the knowledge that this unique blend of an experience on two wheels was not only definitive to myself and my sport, but also finite and fleeting.
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