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.
Joining 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 trimmings. 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.