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Epic Adventure - Trans Provence Days 1, 2 and 3

<b>Our Trans-Provence experience began in Nice Airport, packing bikes right there and then on the bus depot asphalt!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Team America makes the compulsory "Royale With Cheese" stop en route to the start of TP2013.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Ash Smith. The genius route maker and Transprovence race director is a busy guy, organizing, driving and policing switchbacks. Thanks for such an incredible race and format.</b>

<b>When you think of camp site meals, you think of franks and beans or a BBQ, not a three course meal with salad, quiche, chocolate brownies and custard. On Trans-Provence, this is what you get!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Matt Patterson won the video contest to ride the 2013 Trans-Provence and he is enjoying every minute of it, rain or shine!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Dropping in! What's not to like about this kind of epic (in the true sense) scenery?!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>OK, one more. The first proper timed turn of Stage 1 of day 1. #seriouslyepic</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>My riding buddy and photog partner in crime this week is Sam Needham. Sam is not averse to dropping the camera bag shredding some loamy goodness!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>I'm not sure if California riding can prepare you for this kind of thing, but Ben Cruz looks to be in his element here. Stage 2, Day 1.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Firemen know a few things about water and there is small French village downstream from Paul Smail's tsunami that knows a bit more now, too. Stage 2, Day 1.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Hot off the printer at the end of the day. The two JC's compare race results - Jerome Clementz and Jon Cancellier.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Nick Gibson makes sure the beat goes on while on an hour-long hike-a-bike to the start of Day 2.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>After the hour hike-a-bike we ended up with a Stage 1 start on Day 2. Worth the push, I think you will agree.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Matching helmet and gloves while in a perfectly lit pan score big points. To find out that Jeff Calam is a Red Bull Racing F1 engineer means bonus points are applied in heaps!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Rural France offers up scenery and culture like nowhere else on earth. Filling up on water in a centuries-old fountain in a five house town. Priceless.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Jon Cancellier and Chris Ball of Team Dark Cloud take a moment to gather their thoughts after a crushing Stage 4 on Day 2.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Wet Willy</b>

<b>First time TP entrant, Oliver Munnik, checks his results of Day 2 with Enduro World Series Director, Chris Ball timing marshall Shaggy. Oli moved up from 50th yesterday to 9th today!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>This is the spirit of Enduro. Adam Craig helping big man, Mark Weir clock in at the top of Stage 5, Special Stage 1 this morning .</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Nico Lau won today's racing, besting Jerome Clementz by only two seconds. After such long racing over such diverse conditions it's still super tight. Jerome hangs onto the GC.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>In the background you will see Ash Smith hiding and monitoring any "illegal short cuts." Pauline Diffenthaler takes the legal way around the switchback. The cut line would have been behind where I was standing.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Anton Cooper has surprised many with his strong performances in not only the physical stages, but also the long DH runs. Not bad for a U23 XC World Champ.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Nico Lau on the way to winning Day 2 at the Trans Provence.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Geoff Kabush - what a legend. Holding on to 3rd place overall in the GC in a highly-competitive Enduro field. Last year was for research, this year he came with the proper bike set up.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Team Scotland chilling out in the hood.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Water stops Provencal style at the village centre drinking fountains.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The beer tent is a favorite hang out for these two Pros. Al Stock and Ben Cruz hydrating and carbo loading.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Faces only a mother or Mother Nature could love. Clockwise from upper left, Sven, Wil Ockleton, Fabien and Jon Cancellier.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Stage 3 of Day 2 was Jerome Clementz's least favourite stage last year. Taking the win on it this year has changed his perception.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>At the end of another long day in the gorgeous Alps Maritime, it's time to service bikes and that one, last bolt check as Day 3 looms large!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Anka Martin of Juliana Bicycles maintains her lead in the women's overall despite losing the day to Kelli Emmet of Liv/Giant.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Anka during SS1 down from the Col de Champs. It's all about adventure.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Day 3 Special Stages were so wide and varied. From North-facing, loamy goodness, to rocky gnar, to grey earth and the uncountable switchbacks!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Fabien Barel of Canyon didn't have the best few days by his own high standards, but you know he will be pushing all the way to Menton on Friday.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>There was a bit of a stalemate during the liaison of Day 3. Some wanting to take the high road to SS1 and others the low road. Some got lost, some didn't.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Skills on the edge of a 200m drop off to the Var river or just a man in touch with his flow? Jerome Clementz leads at the end of Day 3.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Throwing shapes in the grey earth, I could have shot there for hours. Oh, wait.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Manuel Fumic is more renowned as being the baggies-wearing-bad-boy on the World Cup XC circuit, but he threw down today and sits in 7th overall. Mountain bikers are mountain bikers irrespective of race disciplines.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>While he may be shredding on the "Grey Earth" of SS3, there is nothing grey about Andy Waterman's custom Orange Bikes setup for TP2013. Not bad for Deputy Editor of Privateer Magazine.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Yes it's another Jerome Clementz shot. Do you blame me? Sit and stare at this for a bit before you do.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Santa Cruz marketing director Will Ockelton has either just passed the cycle tourist or is about to be passed on the grey earth. You be the judge!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>After climbing to two special stages, traversing the valley roads and shooting/waiting hours on the grey earth, it was time for some fun with fellow TP photographer Sam Needham.</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

<b>Just rewards after racing. Sven Martin is Team Dark Cloud's hydration expert and is doing a great job. Stay tuned for more later this week as we roll on through the guts of the French Maritime Alps!</b> Photo by Gary Perkin

Gary Perkin, Sven Martin and Joe Bowman take you deep inside the reality of the Trans Provence. From your computer it may look like some fun racing in the French Alps, but in reality, it's a true test of fitness, mental strength and bike maintenance management. We'll take reality over the view from the computer any day!

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