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[Event] 2024 Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge


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Event Name: 2024 Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge
When: 17/02/2024
Where: Wellington, Western Cape
Category: Mountain Bike

The 2024 Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge in partnership with Canetsfontein will bring you a perfect recce ride for the 2024 Absa Cape Epic Stage 4! The Imbuko event will be the ONLY opportunity to ride the route in its entirety, so better get those entries in so you don't miss out.


With approximately 80km and 3 000 meters of vertical ascent, the route consists of mostly singletrack riding and beautiful scenery.


Join South Africa's and the world's best riders at this amazing event!



Go to Event Page.
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Frothing at this challenge that has become the annual February Sufferfest (the good kind) Elevation and Single Track on tap is the name of the game. Word on the street is the downhill switchbacks on the Cliffhanger have been made slightly easier for us if that was intimidating for you before.

So who else will be lining up for this baby?

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Jinne that cliffhanger is epic. Don't tell anyone but I stopped at the top the last race to check the view, didn't snap a pic though cause I didn't want any evidence that I stopped... but maybe I will this time round

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1 hour ago, milky4130 said:

Frothing at this challenge that has become the annual February Sufferfest (the good kind) Elevation and Single Track on tap is the name of the game. Word on the street is the downhill switchbacks on the Cliffhanger have been made slightly easier for us if that was intimidating for you before.

So who else will be lining up for this baby?

Did someone say baby?

hahaha Im keen seeing that we so far away. Lets see how that ends up closer to the time

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45 minutes ago, babse said:

Did someone say baby?

hahaha Im keen seeing that we so far away. Lets see how that ends up closer to the time

I can actually hear Full Monty 1, 2 & 3 calling your name

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20 hours ago, milky4130 said:

I can actually hear Full Monty 1, 2 & 3 calling your name

This... one of those race where there is so much downhill single track you start hoping a climb is coming.. and then on the climb you start hoping for more downhill single track

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13 minutes ago, WaldoZ said:

This... one of those race where there is so much downhill single track you start hoping a climb is coming.. and then on the climb you start hoping for more downhill single track

What I remember that soon after the start I start hoping the finish is coming... Lol

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I think the bonus with this event is just a few weeks later the Cape Epic will go over it again so you can either use it as mental & physical prep if you are riding the CE or sit on the couch relish the moment of pain those suckers are go through because you've just recently conquered it yourself.

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For those that did it last year, how technical was the singletrack? Will my hands survive it on a hardtail?

I remember watching a video last year where it looked extremely rocky in some parts.

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I didn't do it last year but I did do it this year and on a hardtail. The only real technical part I can remember was after the Cliffhanger through the trees. My hands somehow survived it but the descent was quite long. I was one of those wishing it to end until the climb started again. The rest was mostly smooth single tracks or jeep tracks and most of them was going up.

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5 hours ago, Bub Marley said:

For those that did it last year, how technical was the singletrack? Will my hands survive it on a hardtail?

I remember watching a video last year where it looked extremely rocky in some parts.

if you ride a hardtail all the time and use to it then you should be fine, arm pump, hand numbness everyone gets....I think, I've done +5 times already on a dual suspension and it never gets easier, but I like to run hard pressure for fear of snakebite punctures. I also sit and feather the brakes too much for my liking so that also contributes to the fatigue & numbness in the forearms & hands. So to sum it ride plenty of downhill single track as much as possible in anticipation.

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Ok thanks for the response. Was hoping you guys would say no chance on a hardtail so I could get it out my mind. Now I have to ponder this race again even though it scares the bejeesus out of me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/16/2023 at 9:31 PM, Bub Marley said:

Ok thanks for the response. Was hoping you guys would say no chance on a hardtail so I could get it out my mind. Now I have to ponder this race again even though it scares the bejeesus out of me.

If I may ask what are the specs of your HT? Carbon, Sub 9kg machine, wider tires?

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On 11/16/2023 at 9:31 PM, Bub Marley said:

Ok thanks for the response. Was hoping you guys would say no chance on a hardtail so I could get it out my mind. Now I have to ponder this race again even though it scares the bejeesus out of me.

I would second the advice above. It depends on if you have a nice modern hardtail, with fatter tires and slacker geometry (head tube angle). That will help a lot on the fast downhills, and let you relax.

Without that, this race is more killer. I did it twice on a 10 year old, early-generation dual sus, and the old-school geometry and steeper angles made the descending even more tiring.

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Mensies....is dit alweer sulke tyd ?

I will just come out and say it out loud, to prepare myself for what lies ahead : I have done a handful now, and never finished it without having to deal with severe cramps in the latter parts. This is just the McDaddy of suffering for me, and just "too much" climbing crammed (almost typed cramping again) into the distance on offer.

But hey, for some reason, like anything worthwhile achieving, you just saddle that horse again come February and dig deep. The some reason, can probably be deconstructed by now, as being an event that offers some of the best single-track around, coupled with fantastic views from an array of vantage points up high in the sky ! Great water points with fantastic vibes, music and support, all helps you though the challenge.

I'll have no other goal such as chasing a sub this or sub that, other than trying my darndest to start slower, with the aim to avoid those nasty moles in the inner thighs come 45 kms. The image below during the event from two years ago, with a smile on my face, obviously taken before 45 kms !!

An "open" cold refreshing shower (......keep those bibs on boys !!) should put you in a good state, to enjoy the shaded lawns of Imbuko with your mates.

Well, guess writing about it will not make me any fitter, so I'd better get out there and do some training for Feb 2024 !!

IMG-20220219-WA0008.jpg

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18 hours ago, milky4130 said:

If I may ask what are the specs of your HT? Carbon, Sub 9kg machine, wider tires?

17 hours ago, Hilton. said:

I would second the advice above. It depends on if you have a nice modern hardtail, with fatter tires and slacker geometry (head tube angle). That will help a lot on the fast downhills, and let you relax.

Without that, this race is more killer. I did it twice on a 10 year old, early-generation dual sus, and the old-school geometry and steeper angles made the descending even more tiring.

Its a carbon HT. Probably around 10kg. 100mm Travel in front with 2.35 tyres front and rear.

Think Im gonna skip it though. Just rewatched some course preview vides they did earlier in the year and yeah theres one section through the trees and rocks where it looks pretty sketchy. Not sure I have the skill set for it and on a hardtail will be even more tougher.

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