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The Croc2Croc MTB stage event takes place between 27 and 30 May at Verlorenkloof in the heart of the trout triangle in Mpumalanga. According to Event Director Luther Erasmus the Croc2Croc dream started many years ago while he was exploring ‘valley upon valley’ in the region on his mountain bike.

After having trialed the Croc2Croc over the past couple of years with his MTB buddies, Erasmus teamed up with Eric Johnson, owner of the well-established Verlorenkloof Estate, and local trout farmer Reinier van der Merwe, also an avid mountain biker.

“The Kwena Basin has some of the most unique and diverse landscapes in South Africa. Apart from the Steenkampsberg, the Crocodile and Lunsklip rivers and numerous waterfalls, the isolated valleys serve as link between the savannah of the Highlands and the Lowveld’s natural bush and forests” said Johnson.

Van der Merwe added “It has so much to offer it took us almost two years to put together the ideal mixture of tracks and to determine the ideal distance and elevation for such an event.”

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“Most avid MTB riders know that the N4 leads to places such as Dullstroom, Sabie, Baberton and other iconic MTB locations in Mpumalanga. Few people know the R36 that runs from Bambi to Lydenburg…” noted Erasmus.

“Halfway down the escarpment, it meanders through the Kwena Basin Conservancy. Travelling through the valley one gets the impression that all of the above places are packed into one idyllic area of approximately 120,000 hectares, a mere 2.5 hours’ drive from Gauteng.”

The Croc2Croc route is exclusively on private land. It traverses approximately fifty trout and game farms, cattle and horse farms, orchards and irrigation farms, as well as conservancies and forestry land.

It allows for a fun-filled, yet challenging Prologue on mostly single tracks along the Crocodile River at Verlorenkloof. Day 2 has a ‘monstrous’ stage of epic proportions – it takes on the valleys and foothills, ascends the eastern escarpment and circumnavigates the Kwena Dam. Day 3 is old school MTB Classic style and includes paying the Highlands a visit at an altitude of 2000 m before dropping 800 meters back into the Kwena Basin on an ancient ox wagon trail.

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According to Van der Merwe virtually none of the Croc2Croc will take place on district roads. “Riders will instead encounter a fine balance between isolated farm roads and Jeep Tracks, single and river tracks, cattle tracks and 2-spoor roads, as well as forest and plantation roads.”

Being an ex-adventure racer, Erasmus explained that the Croc2Croc will be an adventure experience for all. “There is a Wild Croc and a Mild Croc route – the routes are interlinked and riders decide on-the-fly how ‘wild’ or ‘mild’ it should be. The Mild Croc route will be accommodating and forgiving to ensure that the entire route is ridable to all athletes, irrespective of technical skills, experience, age or ego. Mpumalanga is not flat and the Wild Croc route is extreme – full stop.”

The Croc2Croc route has been designed to allow Mild Crocs to also push the boundaries by selecting any of the rated Wild Croc extreme sections during the various stages of the event. But Erasmus forewarned “Unless you are an experienced and seasoned mountain biker, riders should try not to fall for too many extreme temptations as such impulsive decisions will lead to severe tiredness or discomfort, all self-inflicted…”

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Few venues in South Africa allow for an all-inclusive luxury and extreme MTB stage event experience. Erasmus further elaborated “Even fewer events allow for supporters or partners to participate and enjoy in the experience by way of outdoor activities. Verlorenkloof offers activities such as hiking, trail-running or mountain biking, horse-riding, fly fishing or birding. Add to this a supporters’ brunch on the river banks below the Lunsklip waterfall, or a day at a luxury spa in the mountains, or spectator friendly and scenic water points… truly an unique experience.”

We all know that MTB has become the new ‘golf’ of corporate entertainment. According to Erasmus “many companies are searching for new ways to provide a client focused experience. Verlorenkloof’s crofts offer corporates a level of unmatched luxury and exclusivity while at the same time participating in a conventional stage event that caters for most levels of MTBers, and their supporters…”
The Croc2Croc will enable corporate groups to achieve their mission by allowing colleagues to share the same fear and excitement, or tiredness, frustration and satisfaction by finishing as a team. The same adrenaline rush can also be shared with key customers, suppliers or business partners on a competitive or social basis. This also applies to individual teams, groups of friends or club riders.
Erasmus concluded “We have the ideal location and have designed the ideal route for a MTB stage event. It provides a feeling of freedom and remoteness, and is in harmony with nature. It has a variety and diversity in terrain and tracks seldom experienced before. It is challenging yet rider friendly. And it has spectacular spectator points and activities to offer.”

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The Croc2Croc represents a paradigm shift in presenting boutique MTB stage events. By fulfilling all of the requirements and expectations of riders, partners, supporters and sponsors, the Croc2Croc will raise the bar to levels not previously experienced… Erasmus calls it “the perfect MTB hypothesis”.

The field for the inaugural Croc2Croc@Verlorenkloof event will be limited to 100 2-person teams and approximately 50 partners or supporters sharing.

Visit www.verlorenkloof.co.za for more information. Alternatively, phone 082 048 0777 or email croc2croc@verlorenkloof.co.za or croc2crocmtb@gmail.com.