Here we are at the start of 2014 and it’s like the morning after the night before. Ash Smith from the Trance Provence Team tells you about 2014 “what’s next”:
There’s no cause to be sad though: it was a great party which will be remembered for a while to come. More importantly, and thanks to many hard-working event organisers and series coordinators (most prominently the Enduro World Series team lead by Chris Ball), 2013 marked a merited coming of age and a huge step forward for our no-longer-quite-so-niche sport of Enduro MTB. However, now that all the associated fanfare is over, some now seem to be under the weather with a sense of hangover, anticlimax and “what next?”.
From both an organiser’s and a consumer’s perspective, I see Enduro as a vehicle for discovery; a new tool for achieving an old goal. That goal being to keep in touch with, or indeed get back to the roots of what mountain biking was supposed to be all about: a real-time adventure into the relatively unknown (, at a fast enough pace for it to be an exhilarating experience for the individual involved). This is Enduro’s historical identity; this is Enduro’s DNA; this is why it’s absolutely crucial that somewhere and somehow, our sport keeps an element of on-sight (or “blind”) competition.
This in turn is why, for us, “what’s next” is to devote time this year to finding new (new-to-us) trails. Like every year, the aim is to serve up as many fresh yet worthy new Special Stages at September’s Mavic® Trans-Provence as possible. Indeed our wish has always been to keep the World’s first multi-day Enduro adventure race at least as much about “adventure” as it is about “race”.
We started TP in 2009 and today in 2014, our passion for sharing exhilarating mountainous trail adventure with the help of mountain bikes has long outgrown the on-the-ground scale of our race. We’ve been extremely fortunate over the years with the manner in which the race has gained popularity but it also means that, unfortunately, each year only a fraction of the people who want to participate in it, can. That’s why we’ve gradually started running guided tours… it’s another way of providing that “adventure into the unknown” (, but with more comfort at night!).
The most prominent example of where our year-on-year reviewing and improving of the race itinerary filters down to the tour level is the mid-May to early-July Trans-Provence Guided Tour, where we always duplicate the previous Autumn’s race route, metre-for-metre. We’re running 8 of those weeks this year.
Next up is Enduro Fusion Tour, an all-new project for 2014, whose raison d’etre is explained in the video below (sound required!). We’re excited about this one as it takes us into even bigger and more striking terrain than the Trans-Provence route, and is going to be our proving ground for some conceptual development stuff over the next couple of years.
There’s quite a bit more stuff going on, but I won’t bore you with it here. If you’re interested joining us, either for one of the “grand tours”, or just a more relaxed few days of shredding medium-to-big trails around Sospel, check our 2014 calendar for an overview of what’s happening when.
VIDEO – ENDURO FUSION TOUR
We hope to see and ride with many of you this year; but realistically there are many more of you who we won’t see. In either case, we hope that you have a great year of riding and adventures wherever you are and wherever you go.
Words: Ash Smith | Photos: Sam Needham