Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Attakwas Mountain Bike Race

For the third year in a row I have arrived at Chandelier Game Farm just outside Oudtshoorn for the now 138km long mountain bike ride to Groot Braak via the Attakwas Kloof. As was the case in the previous two years I entered the race in November and promised myself that would be fit by the time the middle of January arrived. Work, drought, friends and family all took their toll on the training programme and I arrived at the start line with one goal to survive the 138 km to Groot Brak.

Katot let rip into the air with a rifle shot and 796 riders shot out of the blocks. Hano ,Jeannette,Marco and Nico and I hung back and let the dust settle. We knew it was going to be a long day. The first 42 km through Chandelier and Doorn Kloof were quite fast as usual but already the road was littered with bikes upside down and people fixing punctures.The first water point entailed a quick stop to refill bottles and have a slice of watermelon and I was on my way. Now riding alone as the McCain gang had joined up and were about 20 Min's ahead.The second water table marks the beginning of the Attakwas Kloof and after 60 odd kms the real mountain biking began. The huge valley is filled with Proteas and Fynbos and even a couple of streams that were flowing.

The end of the kloof is marked by the Bonniedale Guest farm and a watering point which is sponsored by Spur with burgers and chips . I had a cup of chips with salt and hit the road knowing full well that there was still a tough 4 hours of riding left. There were a lot of riders sitting in the shade staring into space having blown and not quite sure how because they were only just over half way.

I have been there before so know the feeling but this year I had gone a bit slower and made sure I drank enough along the way. The next two legs through forestry and farm lands really highlighted the state of drought n the area with many empty lands and dams scattered along the way. The heat bouncing off the gravel roads was oppressive and nearly every tree had a cyclist siting under it next to the road,head in hands and wondering what they were doing out there.
A cool head wind which slowed Kevin Evans down brought welcome relief to those of us out there in the afternoon sun.
The steep down hill into Groot Brak brought to an end another great race through a beautiful part of the Garden Route. I will recommend this to any Adventure racer because they have got the mentality to deal with the fact that there is always a sting in the tail and things always take longer than expected and if you start slowly you will always make it to the finish. I managed to finish in the top half of a field where 300 people of the 800 starters did not finish and had a blast doing it with only a couple of bumps and bruises to show for it.

The year of 2010 has began at last on the sports front and along with all South Africans let it be a great one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where are the PpART this time??????????

Picture of another area of this hike

This competition is by far the toughest even though the location is still on the Garden Route. This is the on the second to last day on one of MTO s hiking trails. It is the highest point on the trail on the second to last day. Check out for some more info.