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  1. The Cross Cape Cycle Route from Plettenberg Bay to Stellenbosch is the first in a series of new routes created by the Western Cape Government to put the area on the map as a premium cycling destination. Incorporating all that the scenic Garden Route, Klein Karoo, Cape Overberg and Cape Winelands has to offer, it’s a journey of the senses where riders are encouraged to immerse themselves in the local sights, culture and cuisine. Photo credit: Craig Howes. The route can be cycled from Stellenbosch to Plett or vice versa. For the inaugural ride, a group of about 15 of us, supported by Day Trippers, tackled it in reverse. We had seven days, so we rode between 80km and 130km per day, but of course you could do it over a longer period to really experience the towns on the route. Day 1: Plettenberg Bay to Knysna Difficulty: 7/10 Distance: 77.6kmStarting in the sleeping hollow of Plettenberg Bay, we headed out on an easy 17 km section of road towards Wittedrif. Soon after we hit a rather rude gravel climb to the Paardekop Pass that left us a little breathless as we began to ascend above the thick forests below. A few more tough hills ensued after, including Kruisvallei and Prince Alfred’s Pass where we dodged some cows and loggers before arriving at Buffelsnek Forest Station for lunch with a view. The Knysna Lagoon marks the finish of day one. Photo credit: Wesgro. An undulating downhill, where it was quite difficult to get traction with some uneven sections, took us to Kom se Pad. Separated from the group, I enjoyed the silence and serenity of the forest – and avoided some fresh elephant dung from the legendary and scarce Knysna Elephants. The steep gravel road down from Simola Hill was exhilarating and the sight of the Knysna Lagoon was a very welcome one, after almost 80km of relatively tough riding. Day 2: Knysna to George Difficulty: 6/10 Distance: 79.2kmAlready the terrain had changed so much from day one – blue skies and lush vegetation distracted us as we crossed the iconic Red Bridge just outside Knysna and navigated some single track before a long and steady ascent up Phantom Pass on the Rheenendal Road. Riding through the Knysna Forest. Photo credit: Wesgro I was happy for a swift road section for a break from the grind, before we detoured uphill for about 10 kms, arriving at the top of the Garden Route Trail Park, where owner Rob Dormehl took us down the easy single-track called Mountain Mania – definitely the highlight of the day! After a quick brunch and outstanding coffee at the Garden Route Trail Park it was time to continue on the Seven Passes Road. We cruised over Diep River, Touws River, Silver River, Kaaimans River and the Swart River before what was a never-ending climb, which crested in George. A valley of luminescent green and rays of sunshine welcomed us as we pedalled through the quiet suburbia and I felt like I had arrived in heaven on earth. Day 3: George To Oudsthoorn Difficulty: 5/10 Distance: 83kmThe local riding community of George joined us for the mammoth Montagu Pass, which pretty much started off the day – a steady 4km rocky climb with the most insane views to keep us company. Many a rider got off their bike to push up the steeper sections but the view at the top was worth all the effort. Stunning views riding up the Montagu Pass. Photo credit: Craig Howes. After testing who was king of the mountain, we rolled downhill towards the hamlet of Herold nestled at the bottom of the Pass, where rooster brood and moer koffie awaited us. The locals were very hospitable and eager to give us a taste of the most delicious homemade bread with cheese and jam. Taking a break at the top of Montagu Pass. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. And another in Herold for snacks and coffee. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. The scenery had now once again changed, ushering in signs of the Klein Karoo and our destination – the ostrich capital of the world - Oudsthoorn. We cycled on dusty roads that seemed to go on forever, with the Outeniqua Mountains like a painting on the horizon. The temperature also spiked here and it got pretty toasty. After the Safari Ostrich Farm on an easy tar road, we arrived at the oasis of Mooiplaas for the night. Day 4: Oudsthoorn to Rooiberg Via Calitzdorp Difficulty: 9/10 Distance: 127kmTemperature extremes are par for the course in the Little Karoo and it was close to freezing as we set off towards the Swartberg range in the morning. After some hardy riding and a very cheeky climb up to Kruisrivierport we suddenly found ourselves in the majestic Groenfontein Valley, heading downhill fast towards quirky Calitzdorp. This was the highlight of the trip for me as on route were little roadside gems - one that offered cold beer, another a gallery – and even an outdoor cinema. Slogging to Calitzdorp. Photo credit: Wesgro After homemade tart and butternut soup for lunch in the Port wine capital of SA at Calitzdorp’s Handelhuis, we started the much-anticipated climb up the infamous Rooiberg pass as we rode towards the Gamkaberg Mountains. And this 11km climb didn’t disappoint. For those of us who managed to ride it, it took a good two hours or so. And things didn’t get easier on the loose and treacherous decent. The last four kilometres to Rooiberg Lodge ate away the last of the daylight and our stamina, but all in all it was a magnificent day of riding. Day 5: Rooiberg to Swellendam Difficulty: 9/10 Distance: 169kmThis 169km day started at Garcia Pass for most of us as we were shuttled some of the distance so that the ride would be just over 100km, but that didn’t make it any easier. The wind was blowing and the loose gravel on the route made it tough to get any speed over the “rollers”. Just when we were rendered exhausted, we were met by the community from the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, to help us ride up a 3km climb that nearly finished me off, but I must have been tired from the 129km day prior to this. At the base of Garcia Pass. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. As tempted as we were to enjoy some of the legendary single track of the indigenous reserve at Grootvadersbosch with the very enthusiastic locals, we knew we still had a bit of distance to cover for the day. The Grootvaderbosch locals out in force to show us around. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. After lunch at the top, we coerced ourselves back on our bikes for the last 45km via Suurbraak to Swellendam, which was a milder ride than the first part of the day – and who could be unhappy riding the Double Century route into the gorgeous town of Swellendam. Day 6: Swellendam to Greyton Difficulty: 5/10 Distance: 106kmThe rather sizeable cycling community of the area joined us for a steady ride over rolling terrain for the first 40km or so, which was mild enough for us to chat and enjoy being in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately we got a bit lost while bantering – there was one turn we missed - and ended up deep in farm land with some Springbok to keep us company. When we got back on track we hit the N2. Luckily there was a newly crafted MTB track next to the road, which was a saving grace from trucks and speeding cars. We had to have a famous pie when we got to the Ou Meul coffee shop in Riversonderend, but opted for top-notch coffee and milkshakes at The Padlooper, which has loads of space to park your bike and chill. From here we had about 35km to complete the day and although there were some sneaky hills it was a relatively easy ride into Greyton, where craft beer was waiting for us. Day 7: Greyton to Stellenbosch Difficulty: 7/10 Distance: 107km Note: Dangerous roads to cycleToday we would ride two iconic passes to finish the legs off – the Franschhoek Pass and Hellshoogte, but not before we passed Theewaterskloof Dam. Despite the epic scenery, especially on the Franschhoek Pass, there was no shoulder on the road and I feared for my life on the ascent to the top. Once on the other side with Franschhoek in sight, things got a little easier. Passing Theewaterskloof at the base of the Franschhoek Pass. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. After lunch and must-have coffee at De Villiers Chocolate Café, development cyclists from BMT joined us, to see us home to leafy Stellenbosch where we stopped for a Stellenbrau and to recap a week well spent. Group photo with the BMT riders at Hellshoogte. Photo credit: Thamar Houliston. For more information and to download the map of the route, go to www.capecycleroutes.co.za.
  2. Hi all. I’m looking for some advice on buying a 29 dual suspension XC/marathon bike. I currently have a Scott scale 960 (2017) and want to upgrade. I plan on doing some stage races like sani2c. Mostly want to compete for the enjoyment and experience but tend to get quite competitive. Looking to spend around 40k and happy to go second hand. Any advice would be helpful and please can you be specific in terms of year and components etc. thanks so much!
  3. Event Name: 2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, Presented By Biogen When: 7 February 2019 - 10 February 2019 Where: Kaleo Guest Farm, Western Cape Category: MTB Winding through the beautiful Bokkeveld and Witzenburg areas, this race features unique scenery, warm hospitality and tough yet exhilarating riding. This is the heart of deciduous fruit country. A region known for its unforgiving summers and harsh winters, trails through rocky outcrops, climbs steeper than the imagination can fathom and descents with a wicked technical twist combined with views to cherish forever. Trails – some hand built and smoothly sculpted, others rough and loose – always reward the adventurous. Join us this summer and experience the ride of a lifetime! Go to Event Page
  4. So... doing my first B&B this year... In for the Great Trek. Done a few Sani's before and decided to go for something else. Really looking forward to it and a little worried following the weekend's riding and coming to the realisation of how under-prepared I am. My partner is in relatively good shape so I'll be hanging on his wheel for most of the ride. Any top tips / hints and advice for a B&B virgin? Any particularly good sections (read: downhills)?
  5. Arguably our biggest bike project to date --- the new VIPA ULTRA will be hitting the local trails shortly. Following it's debut at the 2018 CAPE EPIC, the new bike has seen 6 months of added refinement ( on top of the 18 months of design and development ) as well as extensive riding and testing in South Africa. Rider feedback and real-world feedback have resulted in various refinements and tweaks to those first bikes debuted in March. The new and final frames are expected next month ( August 2018 ). We will be launching a dedicated website and portal for all things ULTRA.
  6. Check out our race report from the 2019 The U MTB Stage Race. Both stages are around 50 km long with approximately 1600m and 1400m of climbing on stages one and two respectively. Don’t let the distances fool you, though. There are few restful kilometres in those figures, but that’s a good thing. The U talks proudly of its single track density and so it should. Over the two (and a half) days riders are treated to absolute single track delight. Episode 1 (Stage 1) is 49.8 kilometres long with 1567 meters of ascending. It features the 5 kilometre “let the brakes go” descent down “Livingstone & Stanley” followed immediately by the long climb back up the “Ossewa Pas”. That morning we emerged from our battered tents to an uncharacteristic gale force wind pummelling the race village. With parts of the route placing riders precariously on the mountainside, safety was the key concern. After a slight start time delay, some route checks and calls for additional medical support, it was announced that the “race” would go on as a neutral, untimed stage. For the large majority of the field that didn’t change much. We were there to enjoy the trails and challenge ourselves. And so we did! “Hello Kitty”, “Dammit”, “Fairy Meadows”, “River Run” - just a handful of the single tracks of the day, all meticulously date stamped and marked by sturdy engraved wooden panels. Craig Kolesky sporting the official The U trail shirt provided to all participants courtesy of good folks at Enjoy Fitness. A good spread at the water points. And even a little something to numb the pain. Prologue and Episode 1 Video Highlightshttps://www.facebook.com/pbbtrails/videos/663239447409666/ After a great day out on bikes, it was all about the beanbags and beers beside the dam. Sharing stories of stoke with fellow riders and high-fiving the trail builders. When it eventually came time to call it a night riders moseyed off to one of three accommodation options available at The U: standard tents, luxury tents, and deluxe tented cabins. The wind aside, each offered its own comforts and even at the entry-level it was comfortable with always clean ablution facilities and minimal shower queues. An idyllic race village beside the dam. Perhaps the only criticism to be had was that there just wasn’t enough food on the dinner tables to fully satisfy hungry bike riders. The restaurant-chef prepared food was delicious... most people just wanted a little bit more. For a young, growing event it’s no doubt a pain point that will be swiftly addressed, especially considering the sharp attention to detail paid to all aspects of the event. The CBC beer station watched over by Ewie, the official unofficial race mascot often (or not) found hiding out on route. Truth Coffee helped to kickstart the day. Each rider received a complementary The U / Truth takeaway mug along with two coffee vouchers.Episode 2 (Stage 2) took riders on a 51 km route across the opposite side of the valley with 1418 meters of climbing. Thankfully on Sunday morning, we awoke to less wind and clear skies signalling a hot day ahead. After some dusty and loose trails on Episode 1, the day’s stage provided some contrast with its natural rocky trails threaded between giant boulders and dense fynbos. Despite having experienced the magic of these trails at the same event in 2016, it’s almost impossible to comprehend how many of the trails were imagined, let alone crafted. Criss-crossing the hills above the race village, the trails weave audaciously over, through, between, and under rocks to create a near perfect flow on terrain which quite often shouldn’t be rideable. One of the defining features of this event is the trails. For most riders, they are physically and technically challenging, but generous in their rewards. Between the frequent rushes of stoke and fragrances of Buchu, you can’t help but think “Who on earth was bold enough to build out here?”. Episode 2 Video highlightshttps://www.facebook.com/pbbtrails/videos/1970895899876406/ Wait! Is that an E-bike? Participants could book a slot to test out a Specialized Turbo Levo on the 7.9km prologue course on a separately timed lap. No e-assistance for your race seeding, but it was a great opportunity to test out an E-bike in the wild with some prizes on offer for those atop the leaderboard. Adrienne Moolman was the leading Turbo Levo in the Women's category. Renowned mountain biker Fritz Pienaar claimed the Men's Turbo Levo win. Even the race number boards each had a personal touch. A nice take on a race "medal". Custom plates and all. A creative take on a seeding board. Find your photo to see your start batch. It's (mostly) a family affair! Moutons Valley farm owners Eric and Michelle Starke, along with their daughters & partners were instrumental in keeping the wheels turning behind the scenes and providing warm hospitality to all. Some parting gifts from members of the local community who benefit from the race. If you’ve not had the privilege of experiencing the Piket-Bo-Berg trails be sure to keep a lookout for entries to next year’s The U. And don’t forget the one-day Piket-Bo-Berg Challenge to ensure your single track soul is well fed.Find out more on the Piket-Bo-Berg website or their Facebook Page.
  7. Event Name: The U MTB Stage Race When: 19 October 2018 - 21 October 2018 Where: Moutons Valley Farm, Piket-bo-berg, Western Cape Category: MTB We want to invite you to joins us for SA’s Single Track Stage Race for REAL MOUNTAIN BIKERS in a small and exclusive event, The U. Set in race village second to none showcasing the natural beauty of our mountains, paired with great food, drinks and our small town hospitality. U will enjoy 2,5 days of unforgettable authentic mountain biking covering 101km of Single Trackthe privacy of your own tent, with Luxury & Deluxe unit options availablerelaxing afternoons and evenings in the Chill Zone next to the damThe field is limited to only 200 riders – be sure to book your spot for 2018! Online entries opening on the 25th of April! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates. WEEKEND PROGRAM: Prologue - Friday: Time Trial Format Distance: 7.06km | Elevation: 169m Episode 1 - Saturday Distance: 49.82km | Elevation: 1567m Episode 2 - Sunday Distance: 51.08km | Elevation: 1418m Go to Event Page
  8. G-man

    3Mountain 2018

    Join us for the Free State’s biggest multi stage event. Date: 22-25 March 2018 Venue: Clocolan Show grounds Choose between the Adventure and Lite distance options to suite your fitness level. We even have different sporting codes, MTB, Trail run and Combo events to choose from. Awesome routes awaits participants as we have put together the best of all the routes over the previous years. All stages will start and finish from the race village in town. Same great water points on route, and of course a super race pack with loads of merchandise and extras to make you feel part of the family. Loads of camping spots open for booking, with a brand new parking area to accommodate everyone! We are looking forward to welcoming you the the Free State’s Biggest multi- stage event. Http://www.3mountains.co.za #MTB #TrailRun #MultiSport #FeelTheFreedom
  9. At the summit of the Montagu Pass Day One - George to OudtshoornAfter a festive night of free flowing beer and wine, Karan beef steaks and curious conversations we set off on our first day of Tour de Braai. The route for the first day took us over roughly 70km from George to Oudtshoorn via Montagu Pass. Some light overnight rain dampened the roads just enough to settle the dust and keep the temperatures down as we hit the slopes of the pass within the first thirty minutes. The iconic Montagu Pass runs between George and Herold climbing approximately 410m over 4.6 kilometers at an average gradient of 9%. First opened to traffic in 1847, this gravel throughway has since been replaced by the tar Outeniqua Pass which runs roughly parallel. This meant almost zero vehicle traffic and ideal conditions for bicycles. While not too long a climb, the gradient jumps up to 14-16% in some of the steep sections which test the legs. Over the top of the climb we moseyed on to our first stop at Herold Wines where, naturally, we sampled some of their fantastic wines and then enjoyed some incredible chicken sosaties prepared by Jan Braai. After a hearty early lunch and plenty of wine “tasting” we set off for the remaining forty-five kilometers to Oudtshoorn. The combination of the fuel stop, a steady tailwind and the power of Erik Kleinhans on the front, we made quick work of the remaining section as we rolled through the dry roads of the Klein Karoo. Arriving in Oudtshoorn a more little sun kissed than when we began we settled into our guest house, kicked up our feet and shared stories from the day. If today is anything to go by we’re in for week filled with fun and inspired taste buds. Stay tuned for more...
  10. The Berg & Bush has it all, a three-day mountain bike ride in the shape of the Great Trek, a race in the shape of the Descent, and a relaxed, family-style MTB weekend away in the shape of the original 2 Day. This year all three events went out of their way to provide a little bit of everything for everyone; there was snow, lightening, thunder, thunderous rain, light rain, mud , beer, burgers and heat. Above all, there was also great riding, probably the greatest riding at any stage race in the country. Thanks to a mixture of obliging cattle and game, the natural terrain, and some hard-working local farmers, the trails of the Berg & Bush mix the sublime with the sensational. These are some of the iconic scenes that you encounter in the Central Drakensberg region. Solly’s Folly The name is well known in mountain bike circles thanks to this section of trail’s inclusion in both the Berg & Bush and the Old Mutual joBerg2c. This year only the Descent riders were able to experience the sweeping switchbacks, and even then only after race organiser Gary Green left his home at 3am to ride day 1 of the Descent ahead to the field to make sure it was safe. Green got lost - on his own farm - but luckily all riders made it to the finish (as did Green, eventually). Snow way A few days later - on day 1 of the Great Trek - the route had to be diverted after a massive storm moved in over the area. The day was declared neutral and riders were taken down an alternative descent. Rain hammered the race village near Sterkfontein Dam, but when the clouds lifted, riders were left with a chill in the air and incredible views of the snow-capped Drakensberg. (The more sensible riders in the field skipped the day altogether and opened up their bar tabs in the always impressive race village. Sponsored wine from Fairview and R10 CBC beers meant that some riders clocked numerous PBs for most beers in an hour). We’re in this Tugela There’s a moment on day 2 of the event where you’re riding in dry bush veld, past beautiful acacia trees and thicks aloes, when without warning you pop out on the banks of the Tugela River. It’s an impressive awakening and an awe-inspiring sight, not to mention a bloody fun trail along the banks of the river. Tall story Only the lucky few spot the plentiful roaming giraffe in the area. It’s small thing, but the game encounters are a standout feature of the Berg & Bush. Ain’t life Grand One of the more compellingly bizarre features on day 3 of the event - a day that boasts many compelling features - is the Grand Canyon section of trail. You hit this little beauty - an impressively eroded river bed - in the middle of the bushveld. It’s a short section of trail, but it’s so unlike anything you’ve ridden before that you can’t help but whooping as you whip through. Klapping the Kop Everyone knows about the climb up Spioenkop; it’s hellishly steep and a real leg-burner on the third day of a great event. But what goes up must come down, and there’s no better descent than the dash down Spioenkop. From the top of the famous battle site you fly downhill at a dizzying rate, twisting and turning for 13 blissful kilometres. There are berms, bumps, jumps and jollies aplenty. The trail flows so perfectly that you feel like a pro as you glide towards the finish line. Feeding time Without question, the water points at the Berg & Bush are festive and filling. Each table is run by a different farmer or community member, all trying to outdo each other with their offerings. This table pictured is the last one of the entire event, and not entirely necessary as it comes so close to the finish - but the freshly made toasted sandwiches and sizzling sausages force you to put the brakes on for one last snack. If you don’t go home heavier than when you arrived, you’ve failed at your Berg & Bush challenge.
  11. Just had a quick look at some posts about the Cape Epic purchasing Wine2Whales and started thinking about the costs of stage racing... Here is a quick link to a Google spreadsheet if you're interested in adding to the list. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_wf5OJzbYdcxKS_nkgJhvfUm87flBt_SWsBtOPSVaBU/edit?usp=sharing This is not a post about whether it is cheap or expensive or the Rand vs Dollar debate - more about an actual comparison of what these races actually cost. (Entry fee, excluding any of your incidental extras like travel, mechanic packages, massage etc.) Here is a quick summary of what I have so far... Rand for Rand the Joberg2C still provides great value for a longer event in terms of costs per kilometre at a low R64,51 for 2018 (With free coffee and magnificent food) and the Cape Epic topping out on R113.83/km (with plastic cups for water). *Disclaimer: Rates are as accurate as my 2 minute Google Search provided. Accommodation and food is based on my own experience and rating (No, I don't 'bant' and I like steak, pasta and beer - probably too much!) PS> I would love to compare some of these with the costs of doing an international race like the Trans Portugal or Trans Alp!
  12. A total purse of R40 000 will be up for grabs in 2018 with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and Stellenbosch event organisers Dirtopia in an effort to expand and showcase the expansive single-track trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain. The inaugural MTB Stage Race – dubbed the Fire Ride – took place shortly after the devastating Simonsberg fire in 2016, which damaged 90% of the trails that were constructed over a 2-year period and also destroyed large sections of the forest canopy. However, route designer and race director, Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, deployed more than 50 trail workers to ensure that a slightly adapted route was ready for race weekend. After the resounding success of the inaugural event, remarkable vegetation regrowth has already taken place and according to Botha, riders can look forward to even more new trails for the 2018 race. “The final route will be launched later this year, but longer route riders can expect daily stages of 55-60km with around 1500m elevation, while the shorter 40km route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. For 2018 we are adding more singletrack to day one, while minor tweaks are on the cards for day two. Sunday’s route boasts over 25km of singletrack and ranks as one of the best stage race days around”, explains Botha. As an Early Bird Special, all entry fees will remain the same as 2016 entry fees and only increase on 1 January 2018. Riders can customise their entry and opt for the following variations: 60km both days (R975), 40km both days (R825), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R875), 60km Saturday and 40km on Sunday (R875), 60km one day only (R495) or 40km one day only (R420). The entry fee also includes a goodie bag with a bottle of local wine, coffee and a breakfast snack, buffet lunch as well as daily bike wash and lube service. A secure bike park is set up so riders can leave their bikes on site overnight. With over 40km of mountain singletrack, connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is considered a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders and also offers a rare glimpse of harvest season in the winelands. Delvera Farm, well-known for its family friendly atmosphere, will be the host venue, where visitors and supporters can relax and enjoy the outdoors if not competing. In 2017, the event was expanded to include the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race Trail Run with starting and finishing points at Delvera Farm just outside Stellenbosch. Entry fees vary according to route selection and whether runners opt for one or both days: 25km both days (R650.00), 12km both days (R500), 12km and 25km respectively (R580.00), 12km on either day (R270) or the 7km fun run on the Sunday (R175). The entry fee includes timing, a goody bag, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal. Dirtopia has spent the last three years developing new routes on Delheim, Uitkyk and Muratie wine estates. These trails are now operated in partnership with the landowners and the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy is the primary event beneficiary. The conservancy represents more than 20 farms around the mountain and is currently focused on a multi-million rand alien clearing project to return large tracts of the mountain to its original fynbos and renosterveld vegetation. Fairtree added that "We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and look forward to welcoming riders for the third edition of the “Fire Ride”. Dirtopia and the landowners have done an incredible job in preparing and maintaining the trails over the past few months. A number of the Fairtree team and Portfolio Managers are excited to be taking part in both the MTB and Trail Run. We can attest that participants are in for two fantastic weekends on the trails.” Enter online at www.dirtopia.co.za to qualify for the Early Bird Special. Entries are capped for both events due to the conservancy status of the route, so enter now to avoid disappointment. Planning your next event? Take a look at our events calendar here.
  13. The final stage of the 2017 Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen was a loop through the Chandelier Game Reserve outside Oudtshoorn. For the last time, we rustled around in our tents, wriggling into lycra, looking for clean socks, and applying suncream before dragging ourselves and our bikes to the start line. Click here to view the article
  14. Photo credit: Hayden BrownAt only 64 kilometres with 1150m of climbing, the stage would be easy by Pioneer standards, and with no next-day consequences for going too hard, we enjoyed the fast start after the obligatory neutral zone out of town. Photo credit: Hayden BrownThe route did not have a single major climb, rather a series of “sharks teeth” made up of rocky climbs and loose descents, so that we were either climbing or descending as we made our way through the reserve. With a lot of open road under our belts, it was a treat to be riding terrain that kept your mind focused on the bike and what was coming up ahead. Karoo shale has sharp edges which can easily catch a misplaced tyre, and so even jeep track descents require a level of concentration which is ideal for taking your mind off aching legs and a bruised bum. Photo credit: Oakpics.co.zaOnce again, we were fortunate to have comfortable temperatures: the rocky valleys are sheltered from the wind, and offer no shade, making them unforgiving in the heat. A brutally steep climb made sure our legs were drained before we hit a final wonderful piece of trail. Raw, and unmanicured Karoo path, it snaked up and down the hillside, laced with off camber turns and loose rocks, but still maintaining a grin-inducing flow. The high carried us to the final water point and through the flat 10 kilometre run into town where the finish line at the Queens Hotel, and ice cold champagne was waiting. By the time we came though all the game had been scared off by the chopper. Photo credit: Oakpics.co.zaCompared with the preceding days, this stage was over in a flash, I did not even get around to drinking my second bottle. It was fantastic to finish with a fast fun route which left us feeling strong and with a happy buzz from the trails. It has been a mentally taxing seven days of riding, initially made challenging by weather conditions and mud, and later by the cumulative fatigue of long days in the saddle, and the complications of tent life. I am incredibly stoked that we got through without a single mechanical or mushroom cloud event in the team. Dryland have put on a superb event, and I can’t thank everyone involved enough. Although I am overjoyed to be reunited with my bed and coffee machine, the withdrawal is real, and I can’t help but start looking for the next adventure. Cheers!
  15. The Inaugural Cape Duo ran from Thursday the 5th of October to Sunday the 8th. Results are available on the Racetec website at racetec.co.za 4 days, 6 stages, two bikes, on-road & off-road. Ride through the picturesque scenery of the Western Cape in this first-ever ultimate cycling experience. The race, being a brand new setup may have some teething issues, but overall it was an excellent event, with a great vibe and awesome roads and trails. Here's the highlights from the 4 days, from Silverback's media team, so focus on SB's team and their race experience. Marthinus Kruger and Yolande de Villiers rode well, picking up all four day wins for mixed teams, resulting in the overall 1st place for mixed teams and a well deserved 6th place in the overall results. Day 1: Slanghoek – Road & Mountain Bike (MTB). Road - 41 kilometers / 260 metres elevation gain. MTB – 22 kilometers / 500 metres elevation gain. Day 2: Welbedacht Estate - Road Stage Bainskloof loop – 91 kilometers / 1180 metres elevation gain. Day 3: Welbedacht Estate – MTB Stage. Welvanpas – 55 kilometers / 1300 metres elevation gain. Day 4: Rhebokskloof – Road & MTB. Road – 31 kilometers / 290 metres elevation gain MTB – 30 kilometers / 500 metres elevation gain
  16. The first day starts with a 7km flat section, then it’s straight up a number of twisty and turning switchbacks. The higher you go, the steeper it gets until your lungs burst from your chest at the top. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer Not exactly new to the scene, but tucked away quietly on the Wild Coast, is probably one of the more unique stage races on the local calendar - the Grindrod Bank Umngazi Pondo Pedal. The Pondo Pedal takes place in a remote area of the Eastern Cape known as Pondoland. The region is generally accepted to stretch from the mouth of the Mthatha River to the mouth of the Mtamvuna River (the natural border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal). The bulk of day 1’s singletrack comes at the start and finish. In between, you ride dusty jeep track rolling hills. This section is near the end, a tight climb before you twist and turn to reach the ocean views. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer Between those two rivers, sort of in the middle of Pondoland, sort of in the middle of nowhere, sits the Umngazi River, which is home to the Umngazi River Bungalows, the basecamp for the Pondo Pedal. It’s remote. So remote that you can’t even check Twitter in your room. But not so remote, thankfully, that Inverroche Gin hasn’t made its way there. The last 2 or 3km must be the most scenic in South Africa. You turn a corner to be greeted with the sea for as far as the eyes can see. The singeltrack is narrow, with a sheer drop to your left. It’s easily rideable, but on this day there was a thumping gale that made the drop to the finish slightly more daunting. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer Highlights of the ride are the pleasing absence of tents (you stay in perfect little bungalows with views of the crashing ocean below), the short days of riding, and the wide variety of delicious food on offer. Everything is on the menu, from butter chicken curry to a seafood platter with fish so fresh it could star in a romantic comedy with Tom Hanks. And you get to stay the night before the ride and the day the ride finishes, meaning no need to race home after enjoying your exertions on the bike. Three perfect Pondo days As is the rule with all local stage races that aren’t the Cape Epic, joBerg2c and the Cape Pioneer Trek, the Pondo Pedal has three days; with the distances hardly long enough to be labelled a distance.Day 1 is but a 40km twinkle in the eye, day 2 is a blur at 28km (it should be 34km, but this year around 6km was axed thanks to a mudslide that gobbled up some newly built singletrack), and day 3 is a breezy and beachy 35km. This is the top of a steep climb that soon becomes a steep descent towards the mangrove swamps. From the top, you rattle down with a dramatic view of the valley, river and mangroves staring you in the face. Route-wise, there is actually a fair bit of climbing on day 1 and 3, though nothing to tame the hardened stage race veteran, with the technical challenges ranging from cattle path singletrack (bouncy) to inquisitive pigs sticking their snouts out to inspect the proceedings (tricky, but only when the pigs dash out, get confused and dash back right in front of you). It’s a scenic riverside singletrack ride to the finish on day 2. Goats, chickens, donkeys and cattle all appear at various stages along the route, as does the pleasing aromatic fragrance of the Wild Coast’s finest local herb. If you take too many deep breaths on some of the tougher climbs you might find yourself going higher than anticipated. Naturally, in such a remote part of the country, it’s the scenery that really grabs you at the Pondo Pedal. The area is renowned for its mangrove swamps, as well as sweeping beach and ocean views. In that respect, the Pondo Pedal does not disappoint. No time to ponder on this pedal Near the finish on day one you climb a short singletrack section through bushveld, which eventually opens up to a cliff-face singletrack with such a wide unspoilt view that you can see Sarah Palin seeing Russia from her house’s porch in Alaska. The day ends with you zipping down this purpose-cut track for a kilometre or two and straight into the Umngazi River Bungalow pub.Day 2, sadly cut short after massive rains in the region, was such a zippy affair that my riding partner (Chris) and I were done inside 80 minutes. The route still provided classic Wild Coast views, though, with one memorable climb opening up to sights of the mangrove swamps below - a unique and eye-catching experience for all level of rider. The last 5km of the ride takes you along the beach to the finishline. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer To finish off the second day, you hit about 5km of riverside singletrack to end on the other side of the Umngazi River, where a ferry waits to take you home. It goes without saying that the perks of finishing your stage race ride at 930 in the morning include catching the last rounds at breakfast and the very first rounds in the inviting pub. With some effort, Chris and I found ourselves in second overall on the morning of day 3 (this even after we scuppered our chances of first place on day 2 when Chris, whose eyesight leaves a bit to be desired, thought he was following the leaders, but instead was chasing down two flustered cows). Day 3, then, was to be our big day, a chance to claim a stage race stage win. But before you get there a few rocky outcrops stand in your way. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer Pondo power On the final day riders set off at 20 second intervals from where we’d finished the day before. Day 2’s winners went off first, followed by ourselves 20 seconds later. With Cape Epic stickers plastered all over their bikes, the leaders were loathe to lose their position to two jokers who had spent more time sampling the wine list than slurping power shakes. But Cape Climbing Legs are built for stage race pursuits, and after the first real climb of the day, we overtook our rivals.Powering on through rural villages, we reached a ferry crossing. Here the local ferryman waits with his tiny put-put boat to take you across the river before you tackle the final few kilometres of the race on the beach. If you look at the top left of the image you can see the finish line; nothing dramatic, just a small set-up in the middle of a huge beach. Iconic, for sure. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer If there’s a better way to finish a race, then I’ve yet to experience it. With just enough room to fit two robust men, the ferryman, and two bikes, we spluttered across the water, with the ferryman casually informing us halfway through the journey that we were taking on water. He seemed pretty relaxed about the whole situation, though, and after four days in Pondoland, Chris and I were now at one with the sedate pace of life too. We made it across, with no sign of the now second-placed team behind us, and roared triumphantly for about 3km on hard Wild Coast sand to the finishline on the beach. To the victors go the spoils; two bottles of red wine, a wooden fish medal, a blue towel and an ice-cold beer, plus an amazing setting to watch the rest of the field pedal home. One of the event highlights is the need for a ferry crossing. On day 2 you’re taken home via the ferry, on day 3 you’re taking to the start by the ferry, and before you hit the beach on day 3, a ferryman takes you across on his tiny boat. In the end, our efforts weren’t enough to claim overall victory, but first on the day and second for the event was a highly satisfying experience, as was cycling through a land that time (and, to be frank, some government agencies) has forgotten. Event details Website: pondopedal.com Date: 13 - 17 June 2018 Early Bird Fee: R 17 100.00 (R8550.00 per rider) until the 27th July 2017 Team of 2 Entry Fee: R 18 000.00 (R 9000.00 per rider) after 27th July 2017
  17. Riders head into the sunrise. Photo credit: Em Gatland We left the Mackenzie Club in a flurry of dust, riding straight into a pretty spectacular sunrise. With the famous Umkomaas drop a couple of kilometres into the stage, there was some serious jostling for position taking place. Often the signature trail on a route can be overrated, so secretly I wasn’t expecting much from the Umkomaas drop, but it totally over-delivered. We descended for an hour on manicured switchbacks with the most mind blowing view of the valley and the Umkomaas river below. The residents of the valley were all out to cheer us on and watch the show, creating a very festive atmosphere. Far too soon we were at the bottom, and the floating descent was over. The switchbacks carved into the Umkomaas Valley. Photo credit: Em GatlandWe followed the river via an undulating trail: I’m not sure where exactly we were at this point, but it was beautiful: pristine greenery, and the river so flat it was almost a mirror. After stuffing my face with chocolate and Coke at the first water point (it was just one of those days) we headed out again to tackle the Iconic climb. This was truly a beast: steep, rocky in places, and never-ending, we climbed 300 metres in 3 kilometres. Half an hour of vasbyt later and it was over, but the sting in the tail was five more kilometres of rolling district road with some painful climbs before the next water point. I’ve never been so pleased to see those flags. The Iconic climb took a toll. Photo credit: Em Gatland Luckily my legs had warmed up by now and I was able to enjoy the remainder of the ride quite comfortably. There were on or two more trail gems in store: including Sally’s Dance which had me sliding all over the show as I overcooked the corners with excitement, and threatened to hug a few trees. The timing finish was a couple of kilometres from the venue, to prevent riders from racing dangerously on Charlie's Catwalk next to a busy road, and it was a pleasure to roll into Jolivet unhurried. The race village at Jolivet. Photo credit: Em Gatland At Jolivet, the tents are set up in an orchard, and this keeps the tents cool, lends extra privacy and sound buffering, and gives the campsite a very relaxed tranquil atmosphere. With the racing over, and the Old Mutual Wealth “Champagne Stage” neutral stage taking us to the sea at Scottsburgh tomorrow the pressure is off. All that remains is to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the food and the company, and look forward to the last day on a bike exploring new terrain.
  18. Entries for the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope, which takes place in the Western Cape from 6-10 March 2017, will close on Friday 3 February 2017. The five-day tour, which is South Africa’s premier road stage race, takes the rider contingent on an unforgettable 5-stage journey through the Cape Winelands and boasts riding categories for both professionals and amateurs. Riders who would still like to enter can go to www.tourofgoodhope.co.za to secure their entry. “It genuinely feels like we’re building something really special. Now only in its second year of presentation, the tour already constitutes South Africa’s premier stage race,” said event convenor, Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events. “The success of the Tour is underpinned by the formula which sees amateurs being afforded the opportunity to ride in a tour alongside the pros and experience everything the pros do – a leader’s jersey, KOM competition, team competition and daily lunches and spoils at the race village.” “It’s also excellent preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which happens two days after the Tour. Without exception, every open/seeded rider who has taken part in the Tour rides their best Argus ever. “This year we have seen many mountain-bikers enter. The Absa Cape Epic starts two weeks after the tour and they see it as the perfect opportunity to sharpen up. “We’ve already confirmed the participation of Karl Platt, Christoph Sauser and Sam Gaze. Even veteran mountain-biker Mannie Heymans is getting in on the act – he’s bringing a Namibian team to ride in the Tour.” According to De Villiers, because the event takes place at a time when temperatures in Europe haven’t quite warmed up yet, the Tour of Good Hope has become an attractive proposition for European based pros and amateurs. “We have more than 100 amateur riders from Europe who have entered in the individual open/seeded category.” Paarl is a half hour drive from Cape Town on the N1, which has seen many Cape Town Cycle Tour riders elect to extend their stay in the Western Cape by a week to take part in the event. The race format comprises a central race village hub at the beautiful La Paris Estate just outside Paarl and five stages covering a total of 490km and 5218m of vertical ascent. The first stage is largely flat and fast and a nice leg loosener while stage 2 presents a 25km time trial. Riders entered in the Amateur Teams competition complete a Team Time Trial while solo riders do an individual race against the clock. Stages 3 and 4 are the Tour’s queen stages which traverse Franschhoek Pass, Du Toits Kloof Pass and Bains Kloof Pass. Both stages are presented over 140km respectively and are the major challenges of the 5-day Tour. The 5th stage is flat and fast, apart from the final ascent up to the Iconic Taal Monument finish on the Paarl Mountain. FOR ALL THE ROUTE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE Through basing itself in the Paarl/Franschhoek valley, costs and logistical hassles are kept to a minimum. Travelling and accommodation have been simplified while the incorporation of some of the best and most famous cycling routes and mountain passes in the Western Cape has really distinguishes the event. Further event info at www.tourofgoodhope.co.za. Get live updates on Facebook and Twitter.
  19. Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg. Train together: This may sound obvious, but make sure you do a couple of long, hard rides with your partner - ideally on a mountain bike. It helps to know in advance who is the stronger climber, who pulls well on the flats, and which of you is likely to be faster on a technical section. It doesn’t help when the stronger climber waits at the top of climb only to drop back on the descent. If you have ridden together a couple of times you will be able to capitalise on each partner’s strengths and shield the weaker partner better. This approach will make the event more enjoyable for both of you. Communicate: Make sure you are both on the same page regarding your goals for the event. Will it be a social ride with stops at all the water points, and lots of beer afterwards, or are you gunning for a top ten spot? You don’t want to be in that awkward situation where one of you is shooting off with the A-batch boys while the other is stopping to take selfies at the top of every climb. Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg. Be honest: It is important to be able to let your partner know when you are going too hard or the pace is too much. It is better to slow down than blow on the first day and struggle for the rest of the race. Going into the event, try and be upfront if you are underprepared or feeling unwell so that the stronger partner can then let the weaker partner set the pace, or pull if need be. Equipment: This has less to do with team dynamic and more to do with overall enjoyment of an event. Make sure your bike is in good working order, and is set up correctly for you, so that it is comfortable and less like to cause you injury. Decent tyres with sidewall protection are a really worthwhile investment. To me, the time loss and stress of a sidewall cut while running super lightweight tyres cannot be justified by the weight savings. Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg. Wines2Whales specific preparation: The portage climb on the first day is not a joke. If you are lucky enough to own grippy, comfortable riding shoes, this is their day. If you don’t, be prepared for a slippery climb. If you have not had to carry your bike for any length of time before it is worth practising, or at least just finding a technique for carrying that works for you. That said, I have never managed to make peace with portages. I fall apart every time I have to pick my bike up, push it or generally do anything that does not involve pedalling, so it is probably time to follow my own advice and get practising. Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg. Finally, as with all stage races, enjoy the opportunity to ride your bike in new and exciting places. It is such a privilege to be able to experience the countryside by bicycle in this way. Don’t litter. Be polite and friendly to fellow riders: pull over for faster riders, and overtake slower riders safely. Can’t wait to get out there!
  20. Event Name: Wagon & Spear When: 23 September 2016 - 25 September 2016 Where: Verbara Lodge, Kwazulu-Natal Category: MTB This year Camelot Events brings you the inaugural event on the KZN North Coast- Wagon & Spear! This event will traverse some of the most diverse and beautiful scenery on the North Coast, with massive valleys filled with natural single track, breathtaking scenery and all the luxuries of a proper MTB stage race event. This July holiday, don't miss out on participating in KZN's hottest new stage race. Entries are limtied to 150 teams, so be sure not to delay. Go to Event PageWagon&Spear_EFlyer.pdf
  21. I have a BC Bike race team entry available, which I cannot used due to work commitments. I paid $2249 per person (around R30k pp) but willing to negotiate on price. Message me if interested.
  22. http://www.kalaharichallenge.com/ - Anyone looking for a Solo entry at a good price?
  23. Hi Boys and Girls, This is a forum for anyone wanting to find out more about the Colin Mayer Tour to be held in Mauritius, which I have listed as an Event on the Hub Some Basics: - Dates: 30th Sep - 2nd Oct - 120-150 riders expected - Distance: 180km's, 3 days, 4 stages - Entries: Solo and Team Entries allowed - Registration: Sign up on Roag.mu - Accommodation upgrades available - Bike wash, service packages available - Sports Massage packages available Looking forward to seeing you! Sebastien Bax de Keating sebastien@Horizon.mu
  24. The Camelot Events team is proud to bring you the inaugural Wagon & Spear 3 Day MTB Satge Race on the KZN North Coast! (View our official race flyer attached) We have an entry limit of only 150 teams- 300 riders- so make sure you enter soon. Breathtaking scenery, natural cattle tracks and groomed flowing single track built especially for you! FB: https://www.facebook.com/wagonandspear/ Website: http://www.camelotevents.co.za/ Wagon&Spear_EFlyer.pdf
  25. Hi guys.. So we're 30 - only got into riding 18 months ago.. My wife is off contraception and we'd like to get pregnant in the next few months.. (Sshhh....) I'd REALLY like to do one or two easy stage races or multi-day events with her before we have kids.. Any ideas? She's really fit - QOM on many segments on Strava and a very competitive spirit. I built her a carbon hardtail 29er (11kg) as opposed to her 13.5kg trail bike and she's really doing well.. So I'd love for her to be part of a couple of MTB races where she could maybe finish well.. On the other hand I only ever cycle uphill if there's exciting singletrack ahead.. So we need events not longer than 3 days in the Western Cape before August.. Any ideas? The aim is for her to REALLY enjoy these events before children.. We're doing the 99er, CTCT and possibly Houwhoek tour, any other ideas not too far away?
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