Trans -Provence Mountain Staff needed ….those looking for 9-5 need not apply!!

Staff needed for one week’s work:  must be early risers, physically fit, good navigators, willing to work 12 hour days, in hot and physically exhausting conditions,  run out of food and water frequently, deal with tired and emotional racers, questionable banter from team-mates, and little sleep.

Bonuses include: The best “Office” you will ever work in, a life –affirming experience with a group of friends, unlimited cold beers at the end of the day, shredding the best trails you’ll ever ride, sharing the highs and occasionally the lows with an awesome bunch of like-minded people, and a swim in the sea at Menton if you make it that far…

The 4.30am alarm screams rudely in your ear, and you’re woken from another night of far too little sleep, body aching and tired, head hurting from repeated dehydration, long days in the hot sun, and choosing that cold beer as refreshment instead of water at the end of yesterday’s ride. It’s day 3 of this routine so you really should have learned by now that this was not a wise choice…but somehow the temptation was too great. Sounds of the rest of the team emerging in a similar state start to appear, and whoever’s feeling most awake puts the coffee on the stove. It’s mid week of the Trans Provence and it’s time to get up and get to work again.

As the week goes on, and racers become more fatigued and move more slowly through the untimed liaisons, the days grow longer.

“Work” this week, for our little team of four, is as TP Mountain Staff. Heading out early, before the racers and media team each day to ride the day’s route, checking signage and taping, placing the start and finish timing balises for the special stages, and manning each of those four stage finishes. Once riders have passed safely through our stage, we join the Sweeper to take down all the signs, and shepherd the tail end of the racers towards the finish. 

We are the very first, and the very last, on the hill each day, and as anyone who’s raced this epic event will know, these days are long. On average we are out for 12 hours a day, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but not much. As the week goes on, and racers become more fatigued and move more slowly through the untimed liaisons, the days grow longer.

On paper, the job advert for this week of work might not look that appealing, but as someone who’s here for the fourth time either working or racing on this event, I can tell you there’s a draw to it that is unrivalled in anything else I’ve done. 

There’s no single thing that makes the Trans Provence as incredible as it is, it’s a combination of many elements:
The people; racers and staff from all over the World, brought together by a shared love of adventure, mountains and trails.

The places; High mountain passes where carpets of Alpine flowers litter the ground, and giant, imposing mountains dominate the skyline. Scenic river valleys with wooded hillsides tumbling steeply down to the water, rustic, quintessentially French villages with narrow streets and beautifully built old stone houses.