Monthly Archives: September 2016

My report of the York Enduro MTB Rally 2016 @YorkAdventure @GarminSA

The York Enduro Mountain Bike Rally hosted by the timber giant, York Timbers is very different to the usual stage races we have in South Africa. The invitation only event is based on the popular Enduro style of mountain bike racing with the aim of providing a platform to build relationships between professional riders and corporate companies.20160924_121307

Since its inception in 2012 the York Enduro Mountain Bike Rally has grown to become a highlight on the events calendar. The 4 day event takes place in and around Sabie and includes a Downhill race, a three part Enduro race, a Cross Country race and a Dual Eliminator race. Competing teams consist of 4-man corporate teams, each paired with one professional rider.

The 4th edition of York Enduro proved to be quite a special one as York Timbers celebrated their 100th birthday this year and went all out to celebrate this momentous occasion. As always the trails were incredibly well built and an absolute treat to ride. The water points were simply next level with fresh chips, hot dogs, biltong, cupcakes, banana bread, coffee, cookies to name but a few of the treats. Needless to say pacing yourself at the water points was much more important than during the stages. I often found myself sated by the halfway stop, but like a true professional I pushed through and tasted all that was on offer!

Then there was lunch and dinner, time and again served in friendly and beautiful locations with entertainment from the inspirational Hein Wagenaar, the talented Elvis Blue, Jon Delinger and the enjoyable Kurt Darren.20160923_120500

To top it all off I got the share this unique experience alongside a wonderful team in the York Timbers Team 2. Anina, Francois, Hein, Johnny and Justin thank you for the memories and good laughs over the 4 days!

I am very fortunate to have been part of the York Enduro Rally since its inception and it’s wonderful to see York Timbers improving the event every year. This year was truly magical and I’m not sure how York will be able to better it next year but knowing them they’ll find a way. Thank you York Timbers for a great event and happy birthday!

My race report of the Isuzu Trucks @PEPlett. @GarminSA

Race Report 4Barely a week had passed since I disembarked from my European flight before I took to the skies again. This time the journey didn’t include any international destinations, ‘only’ a local visit to the beautiful Eastern Cape for the 4th edition of the Isuzu Trucks PEPlett.

The event is run between Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay, changing direction annually. This year the race started at Kurland Hotel outside of Plettenberg Bay and finished at Crossways Farm Village just west of Port Elizabeth.  During the 4 day trek through the Tsitsikamma forests and along the Garden Route coastline we stopped over at the Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure Village, the Soloko Game Farm and finally at Zuurbron farm.

Last year I participated at the event for the first time and the heavy floods before and during the event proved to be the biggest challenge for both rider and event organiser. Despite the challenging weather conditions I enjoyed the event and was excited to be back this year alongside Anriëtte Schoeman as we set out to defend our overall title in the ladies category.  I mean surely it can’t be a muddy affair two years in a row…

As it turns out, lightning can strike twice! During pre-race registration and briefingBike race report the weather turned from sunshine to grey skies, with drizzling rain spells throughout the duration of the event only to clear up again at the final prize giving on Sunday afternoon after the race. Really???

Racing in the rain and mud is hard enough for us riders, but I couldn’t help but feel extremely sorry for the event organisers, Red Cherry Adventures, who had to deal with the same challenges all over again.

Needless to say the rain turned the 310km course into a muddy affair which was unfortunate as we couldn’t enjoy the scenic route and hospitable race villages to the full. Had it not rained, the whole experience would have been completely different. Not that it was all that bad either – there was plenty of delicious food after each stage and some good company to share it with.

IMG_0909Weather changes the dynamic of a race completely and in wet or muddy conditions you rely much more on your equipment. My gear proved to be dependable in the challenging conditions and I’ve posted a picture below of my Merida Ninety Nine bike to show you the equipment I used during the event as it played a big role in the outcome of the race. This all helped Anriëtte (who was on the same bike) and me to have a successful PEPlett, winning all 4 stages and the overall in the ladies category.

A big well done to Red Cherry Adventures for hosting an enjoyable event in unfavourable conditions. I really hope that the event will have better luck weather wise next year as it deserves a break. It has the right recipe with a scenic route in a beautiful part of our country, warm hospitality and a vibrant atmosphere. Flavourable, agh I mean favourable weather is the only ingredient missing from the mix.