Monthly Archives: October 2016

My race report of the @CapePioneerTrek. @GarminSA

These days the race calendar is jam-packed with events, making it physically impossible to participate in all of them. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate, but it does make for selective racing and sometimes you end up missing out on some good events.

This was t14650097_1240391526002287_5827217020826398191_nhe case with last year’s Cape Pioneer Trek where I ended up as spect ator rather than participant. This year I was excited to make amends as I toed the start line in Mossel Bay alongside good friend (and racer) Aurelie Lincoln.

Aurelie and I have done a few stage races together including the 2015 Cape Pioneer and it was reassuring to know that at the very least we had experience counting in our favour.

The Cape Pioneer Trek starts with a 13 km urban prologue on the coast of Mossel Bay and finishes 7 days later in Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich Capital of South Africa.  In between lay 503 kilometres which included some 9720m of climbing as riders set out to traverse the beautiful landscapes of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.

Two days were spent racing in Mossel Bay with the prologue and stage 1 utilising Milkwood Primary school as the venue before the whole show moved on to George during stage two.

Stage three was spent racing on the local trails of George whereas stage four took riders from George over the Montagu Pass to finish in Oudtshoorn. Stage 5 and 6 was laid out on the surrounding trails of Oudtshoorn making for some proper Klein Karoo riding to finish the race off.

No (ad) venture is without its challenges and unfortunately Aurelie pulled out of the race during stage 3 due to illness. It was a disappointing day for both of us, especially because we were up to 2nd place overall at the time but we also understand that illness and injury are part of the sport.

I continued ra4cing the Cape Pioneer Trek albeit as an unofficial finisher while Aurelie flew back home to rest and recover. Obviously it wasn’t the same riding without Aurelie by my side, but if you aren’t having fun at the Cape Pioneer Trek it’s really your own fault as the event itself has so much to offer.

The hospitality of the Klein Karoo & Garden Route is outstanding and the Dryland Team manages to put a challenging yet fun route together to make it enjoyable for everyone. The ever changing landscape of the route also makes for spectacular views with endemic game such as giraffe, antelope, ostrich and even the odd tortoise often spotted along the way.

The Cape Pioneer Trek’s slogan is pretty accurate as it is a #RaceWithSoul and this makes it a pure pleasure to be part of the event!

My race report of the @GrindrodBank @bergandbush. @GarminSA

14642024_1067671766683924_4321772150530515_nAfter the Isuzu 3 Towers it was a quick pit-stop at home to unpack, wash and prep our things before driving to Kwazulu-Natal for the Berg and Bush stage race from 7 to 9 October.

The 3 stages of the event covered a total of 210km with the first stage being the longest (99km). In addition to these 3 stages there was also a hill climb race up Spioenkop on Saturday afternoon where you could really test your legs or just have fun.

Day 1 started on the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment and dropped into the Bushveld below via Solly’s folly, finishing at Em’seni camp just outside of Winterton.

Em’seni camp hosts the Berg and Bush race village and stages 2 and 3 are run from here. With riders’ tents pitched all along the banks of the Tugela River it makes for a very unique and tranquil camp site.

14680743_1067684463349321_4017192190182380087_nJoining me for this event was my 2016 Cape Epic partner Therese Ralph and we faced some stiff competition in a strong ladies field. It’s always a pleasure racing alongside Theresa as she gives a 110% effort but knows how to have fun along the way.

We had a consistent race placing 3rd on all the stages and securing 3rd place overall in the ladies category after 3 days of fast racing.

In the hill climb race we tried our hand at winning the “gees beker” (spirit award) dressing up in our pyjamas and a few other trimming20161008_170952s. Unfortunately we were outdone by Landi who scaled the steep climb on a 16-inch Titan kiddie’s bike. Despite our defeat it was great fun being part of such a unique event.

I only discovered the Berg and Bush stage race last year, but have grown very fond of the event. Farmer Gary and his team put a lot of effort into their trails, the hosting of the event, providing delicious food and making our stay at Em’seni camp comfortable and enjoyable. We are truly spoiled to have so many well organised stage races in our own country.

Team @GarminSA race report of the @isuzu3towers presented by @MankeleMTB @GarminSA

After the York Enduro Mountain Bike Rally in Sabie, we extended our Lowveld stay and were warmly hosted by Mankele Mountain Bike Park for 4 days before taking to the start of their signature event – the Isuzu 3 Towers.rr2

In the 7 years of its existence this 3 day stage race has evolved into a benchmark event on the South African mountain bike calendar. It caters for racers, riders, families and spectators alike with several route options varying in both technicality and length.

Participants have the option to enter either The Stage Race (193km in total), The Challenge (142km in total) or the Mncane (102km in total) depending on their fitness and inclination to suffer. Well known for the technicality of their natural trails, Mankele made a point of taming their tracks this year making the route more flowing without sacrificing the challenge.

The event includes the customary camping facilities in the tented village but what makes the 7-3event so intimate is the fact that participants can bring their own camping gear and make it a family weekend holiday. Staying in one spot for all 3 stages has its advantages – just ask the kids!

Ben Melt Swanepoel and I were reunited as a team for the Isuzu 3 Towers as it was the 4th event of 5 we will be doing together as Team Garmin in 2016. We both absolutely love this event and were looking forward to sharing the experience.

From the start of day one to the end of the third and final day we raced as a unit working together like a well-oiled machine. This in itself was a big achievement for us as we had worked hard at perfecting our teamwork and we finished the race feeling 100 % satisfied with our team dynamic. Focussing on the process rather than the outcome also yielded solid results and we managed to win all 3 stages as well as the overall title in the Mixed Category!

Isuzu 3 Towers will always be a special event as the organizer’s passion for mountain biking courses through their amazingly fun trails and the vibrant atmosphere in the race village. It’s hard to explain a 3 Towers experience in a single race report, so best you come and experience it for yourself.

A big thanks to the Isuzu 314463289_1223981277675582_3463887684317619675_n Towers for once again hosting an exceptional event and for adding hand-built single trails every year! It’s not often that you get riders finishing a tough stage race with a huge smile and yearning for more!