Skip to main content

Lean, mean and green

Southern Roadtripping



I’d just come off the top of Europe, Mont Blanc with a 2000 metre powder skiing descent, but Wouter was still after final plan ideas for meeting him, my Dutch guiding buddy somewhere in Provence.
GAP was of course at the top of the list, being the most northernly town in the Provence Region, and having some very tasty dry and dusty trails! Read here about last years southern trip that put Finale Ligure to shame.


Even though there is more than 6 days worth of riding in the Gapencais, we wanted to taste something else and I’d seen a nice instagram photo from the VTopo Crew riding on this weird “terre noire” (black earth) stuff earlier in the year that looked very inticing.

The first day down south, my first major bike riding day of 2016 and I thought we’d get everyone going on some trails that I knew from previous trips over by the stunning Lac Serre Poncon.  Sitting having lunch in t-shirt and shorts at the end of April was a great feeling for us Northern Europeans.  The feeling after that days descending was an even greater one.

And this, this is how the trip continued for 6 days.  Coffee to begin with on the campsite, big climbs, good chat, lots of bread & cheese and then epic descending in beautiful surroundings.



We were joined halfway through the week by some Chamoniards and we all headed down to Digne Les Bains in search of this terre noire tastiness.
Oh boy what a treat it was for all of us, even the climb in was challenging but fun.


We had lunch just above the first section of terre noire before carrying on down through the forest on sublime singletrack for a couple of hundred metres until we broke out into the bright southern daylight.  We all came to a stop, looked out, looked around at each other, looked out again and then, looking back at each other, broke out in fits of shrieks and laughter.  It looked super special!




It also looked a bit narrow! You had to concentrate along the ridgeline sections to keep your speed into the steep uphill rises and then into the downhill's.  We managed to link together a few great sections of terre noire before finishing on a super fast rollercoaster down into the bottom of a valley.  What a superb area of unique grippy trails!

We wondered, that night, over obscene portions of pasta red sauce, how could this day could be topped.  In fact how could this day be beaten all season?
Luckily down in Digne, the "normal" singletrack trails are equally sensational and the remaining days, as ever, involved huge climbs, into huge amazing, grin inducing trails.
The kind of trails that make beer and ice-cream taste good at 5pm in 20.C temps...




The southern Alps reaped it's early season rewards again.  We scratched the surface on another small part of the Provence Region, there's still so much more to explore!

THANKS TO CANYON Bikes






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere 3751m

One of those pure adventure days *warning mega photo post*Ali-venturing as it's been known by over the summer.  When Ali from trailAddiction gets grand idea's in his head it always leads to hike-a-bike. Read here on DIRT Mag about a previous mission, its the highest rideable peak in the alps!
A special team was organised:  A top ten finishing team from the Bivouac Enduro, Mael and Max, Ali, myself and Fred the mountain bike mechanic from Mavic. All keen, all stupid?
And then my alarm went off at 04:30.  Time to eat and drink as much as possible.  I hadn't been up this early since ski touring in refuges last winter.  In my tired state I did subconsciously know how to load the bikes onto the trailer, it's easy after doing it everyday all summer.  We drove up towards Val d'Isere, then turned left up a singletrack road.  It was around 6am, and it was still pitch black. Slowly the sun began to rise: And the hike-a-bike continued and turned into carry-a-bike, but with the su…

That time in February when I forgot my gloves and didn't get cold hands...

Seasons are changing in the mountains.Its been the shortest "off season" that I have known.  It's been growing shorter over the last few years but riding into the the new year was something I have not done since I lived in the UK.  The skiing season is getting shorter and more temperamental.  We shouldn't have been riding dry trails in Aosta Valley on the fitth day of the new year.  We did, and we had a blast thanks to the generous hospitality of the locals.  Read more about inter season on Lorner's blog here: http://www.lornecameron.com/2017/the-longest-autumn/
With skiing stoke low I went for a ride in Servoz.  Now picture the scene, its the twenty something of February 2017, at 1000 metre altitude and I can't find my gloves in my riding pack.  I suffer from cold hands at the slight hint of mild air.  In winter you will find several pairs of thick gloves in my backpack, even in spring or autumn there could well be two pairs in my riding pack.  However on thi…

What guides do between work in the peak of July

Summer is here, and after fantastic spring riding in Southern France and then all over Valais, Aosta and Haute Savoie with good friends it's been time to get back to summer guiding, taking hikers around the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit.  There's much worse things to do, but with three weeks off the bike I was itching to get back on some trails.

With a carefully planned week between tours I was excited and made some plans to hit up some classic lines, and some new stuff too. It's mid July now, so in Chamonix valley you have to think carefully about where to go to miss the crowds, and to avoid going on the bike ban trails (July & August).  Luckily it's still easy to find quiet trails in nearby resorts, or to simply drop round the back of a hill away from the frontside lifts. It went a little like this:

Day 1- La Thuile with Wayne of newly qualified French legal mountain bike guiding service Chamonixmtb.com . Enduro race venue at it's best, rough and raw.



Day 2- Blue b…