[caption id="attachment_3202" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="7 days, 26 timed stages, 320 km, 9500 metres vertical ascent, 15200 metres vertical descent... and most importantly: more sweet singletrack than you can shake a stick at!"][/caption]
Exciting, challenging, amazing, awesome, sweet, and smashing were a few of the choice words riders used to describe the definitive all-mountain mountain bike race that’s become one of Team WTB's most feared and favored events. Plenty more explicatives were used, especially on the days with down-pouring rain, like on day 2, when the riders felt fortunate just to finish without a bolt of lightning to the backside!
If the elements weren’t enough of an obstacle to overcome, the courses presented plenty of punishing challenges. With arrows pointing every which way especially up, Team WTB riders Mark Weir and Ben Cruz had their work cut out for them as they put their bikes and bodies to the test, chased down their WTB/Cannondale teammate and 2011 T-P champ Jerome Clementz, and finished fully assembled with smiles on their faces and dirt between the teeth!
Don't take our word for it! Check out some of the sweet video footage, like this one from Day 6. That's where we got most of this report because...well...our athletes are just that, athletes. When they're abroad, racing and riding is the number one priority and anything getting in the way doesn't stand much of a chance. Rightfully so because they kick ass! With full post-race schedules, Mark who's filming a riding video in Morocco (pic below) and Ben, who's couch surfing around France (hitting up the Rock d'Azur enduro next week), getting a race report can prove to be quite difficult.
Lucky for us we have a random picture thread from "The Trenches." Enjoy!
"WTB-rider Jerome (Clementz) went back to the #1 spot on day 4 and finished 3rd in the overall showed the DH and XC world that racing enduro as a fall back isn't easy if the goal is to overtake the likes of him. He put over 20 seconds on some of the best XC racers in a very physical stage, crushing all the DH guys on a full on DH stage. He is the full package." - Mark Weir
Cheers to the organizers of the 2012 Trans-Provence on another epic race and cheers to all the riders for finishing in one piece! Check out the results of the overall here. With three riders in the top 5: Jerome Clementz in 3rd, Mark Weir in 4th, Florian Golay in 5th, and Ben Cruz in 13th and Lars Sternberg in 15th, you better believe we're pretty fired up!
Some parting words from the softer side of Ben,"The friends and relationships made along the punishing, brutal battle are ones that will be kept for life. It's hard to describe the depth of the emotions that this event holds. It can send you from your highest highs to your lowest lows all in the matter of seconds. It is one that every mountain biker should do and one I never want to miss."