Team Bike Hub "crushing" the Swartberg Pass in the 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen. Photo credit:

But the peace of our summer slumber needs to be shattered and so we’ve signed up to tackle the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen.

Taking our lack of preparation into account, we’re not in a position to be dishing out advice unless it is “how not to do it”. But here’s what we wish we had done to prepare:

Skills & Spares

There are rocks. Lots of rocks. Bigs slabs, loose pebbles, rocks in sand, rocks in clay. It is, if memory serves, some of the most entertaining riding you are likely to find in a South African stage race. You are going to need to be zen on the bike to conserve as much energy as possible, and have the most fun.

Sipho Madolo is not afraid of rocks but we certainly are. Photo credit:

We have opted for dropper posts and solid tyres. Ain’t nobody got time for crashes and sidewall cuts. With the very real threat of damaging a wheel, we're taking few chances with carrying spares. We are hoping that two spare tubes, three bombs, plugs galore, and spare tyre back at camp will keep us rolling over the three days.

We are prepared for scenes like this. Photo credit:

Get Hot

It gets toasty in the Karoo. Learn how your body reacts to the heat and if possible prepare accordingly. We've been doing the opposite this summer and getting up early to avoid the sweat and sunburn that usually accompanies the December and January afternoons. Frankly, it is too late now, but the team from Science2Sport have some tips on how to acclimate to exercising in the heat for next year.

Thankfully, it seems a cold front is approaching which will bring cooler weather this weekend but with the Cape's unpredictable fronts, who knows what we'll face come race day.

A bucket of cold water is a rare sight in the Bokkeveld, so get ready to sweat. Photo credit:


Be warned, the Merino Monster is one of the longest climbs in South African stage racing, and there'll be no hiding undercooked legs. Throughout the route, surfaces are not always smooth and manicured, so you’ll be working extra hard. We’ve spent a fair amount of summer climbing on our road bikes which might not have been the best preparation for tackling this beast. At this stage, all that can be done is rest up and hope for the best and enjoy the spectacular views on the day.

The Merino Monster is the defining challenge on Day 2. Photo credit:

Feel the gees

Here’s one part of our strategy that requires little preparation: get stuck into the vibe. Any racing ambitions went out the window when a mandatory croissant stop was added to our weekly morning ride. As the saying goes: “if you can’t beat em, make the most of the ample catering and enjoy the views”. Tankwa Trek is an opportunity to ride incredible trails in a magnificent part of the country, with the added bonus of well-stocked water points. We intend to make the most of it!

This man certainly got the gees memo. Photo credit:

Time for your say

We certainly claim no great wisdom, so please let us know your tips, tricks, and advice for surviving and enjoying the 2018 Tankwa Trek in the event discussion here.

Our coverage

Kylie and I will be doing daily reports from our ride after each stage, and possibly even a selfie or two. We will also be sharing all the action from the front end of the race every evening. So stay tuned to Bike Hub for our updates this coming weekend. Tankwa Trek will also be doing live coverage of the racing from the event - details are available here.