Editor's note: In late June, a group of five riders set out on a multi-day exploration of the French Maritime Alps near the Italian border aided by note cards from locals, maps and a compass. The following are excerpts from rider Ross Measures’ journal and directions from the cards that guided the group on multiple rides each day.
Our plan was simple: We wanted to experience a mountain-bike trip that was all about getting out there, getting lost and getting it done. We’d all become accustomed to familiar trails and perfectly maintained bike parks. And usually, even when we ride new trails, we have locals along, keeping us from losing our way and often showing us the best lines.
The goal here, though, was to seek out old-school adventure on rugged terrain in an unfamiliar location. This was about using our mountain bikes to get us from point A to point B in a limited amount of time and with minimal support. Bad weather, poor directions, bruised bodies and battered bikes–none of this was going to stop us.
In the end, through the suffering of rain and cold, through the minutes and hours of uncertainty, we experienced a lot more than we’d ever anticipated. And we’re all a bit richer because of it.