The joBerg2c truly has it all. Nine days of riding through ever-changing terrain, with warm hospitality, excellent food, ice cold craft beer, the sweetest singletrack, the most sublime scenery and the biggest heart of any mountain bike ride in the world. Yes, that’s right, the joBerg2c has the nicest people from start to finish, whether at water tables, along the route or in the race village; it’s a bold claim, but one you can discover to be accurate when you ride this incredible route yourself.
The joBerg2c is a wild ride, a jolly journey, and a mind-blowing trip though South African culture and cuisine. And then there are those people, the men and women dedicated to making your ride as pleasing as possible. “The beating heart of the Old Mutual joBerg2c, and what sets the ride apart from the many that South Africa has to offer, is the warmth of the people involved,” says race organiser Craig Wapnick. “We follow a community-driven model, where every water table and race village is manned by a local community. The joBerg2c uses no outside caterers or suppliers, rather encouraging the communities along the route to utilise the event as a fund-raising platform.” From Frankfort to Jolivet, every water table is different, every race village unique. Local farmers, school children, teachers, parents, church groups and other organisations combine to create a friendly and funky atmosphere. “This also generates healthy competition amongst the communities, to the benefit of the rider, as they attempt to outdo each other at every turn; Nutella flapjacks, bacon, boerie rolls, ice-cream, mini doughnuts, ham and tomato sandwiches… these are just some of the items that local farmers will try to force feed you over the nine day journey.” For the non-believers, just take a look at this joBerg2c nine-day sample menu: river crossings, forest trails, sweeping switchbacks, climbs that leave you gasping for air followed by eye-watering descents, floating bridges, wandering wildlife (this year a little bokkie camped out for a few hours at a water table, unfazed by the bikes flying past), steak rolls, lamb on the spit, chocolate milk, and enough mountain biking variety over the 900km to keep you sane until you enter again. Every day provides something different for sightseeing cyclists; day 1 is the mighty Vaal crossing, day 2 there are wolves - actual live wolves, and when you ride the last 5km over the Sterkfrontein Dam wall on day 3 you tackle the most iconic finish to any stage at any event in South Africa. Day 4 features an adrenalin-pumping 10km singletrack finish, day 5 presents riders with a race village setting straight out of the Alps, day 6 has 27 switchbacks on a single descent, day 7 is singletrack heaven, the Umkomaas Drop awaits on day 8, while day 9 is the neutral stage that every hard-partying mountain biker has been crying out for. From nine days of riding, you detox from the stress of real life; joBerg2c is your cheapest therapy bill. From the brilliant to the back markers, 100 percent of joBerg2c finishers agree that the nine-day, 900km expedition by bike is a blast. Take the word of Dutch riders Gerben Mos and Braam Rood, who were in contention for the race win, who simply called every day’s riding at the joBerg2c, “Effing great”. The 2018 Old Mutual joBerg2c takes place from 20th April to 28th April.