2016 Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge reports increased entries


The 2016 Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run was a resounding success with an increase in entries over 2015, the introduction of the exciting 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme and plenty of healthy family fun on a sunny KZN winter’s day.


Race organisers, sponsors Husqvarna, Gwahumbe Game & Spa and iNsingizi Game and Spa, again delivered an event that drew plenty of praise for its fast track, challenging terrain, spectacular vistas, well-manned water tables and excellent markings and marshalling.


Sunday’s events included the 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme, the 40km Husqvarna Classic, the 18km Gwahumbe Game & Spa Fun Ride, 5km and 10km Kids Rides and the iNsingizi 18km Trail Run and 9km trail runs.


The 60km MTB women’s champion, Jeannie Dreyer, summed it up: “Being able to do game spotting while riding is a real treat.  Nine years of development of the Husqvarna Mid-Illovo MTB race and I don’t think much more can be done to improve the route. The variety of tracks and scenery within the race keeps it interesting and exciting to ride.

Jeannie Dreyer 60km MTB ladies winner 2016 IMG_0483

“It is most definitely one of the most exciting races in KZN. There is obvious synergy between the title sponsor, Husqvarna and organisers as we saw the incredible amount of work that had gone into cutting and building new sections of incredible single track,” she said.


Race organiser, Shanon MacKenzie, noted that it was not only the die-hard mountain bikers who enjoyed the event. ““The beauty of the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run is that it is not exclusively for professional sportsmen and women. It has something for everyone, especially for those who love the outdoors and the beautiful scenery of KwaZulu-Natal. This year, we had even more families participating and lots of people stopped to take selfies en route.”


This 2016 Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run took place two weeks before Sani2C, giving mountain bikers a perfect pre-Sani training opportunity.


The Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge has more than earned its place as part of the prestigious Quattro ROAG Series which was created to develop the sport in KwaZulu-Natal. ROAG received a thumbs up from participants for ensuring that registration was a smooth and easy process for riders.


Caitlin Canton, ROAG events manager, said that adding the 60km attracted serious riders eager to get points for the prestigious ROAG Series.


“On a busy sporting weekend with the Tour D’Urban on the same day, the entries were excellent.  This popular race is well organised and the atmosphere made for a great race,” she said.


MTB stalwart, Brett Austen-Smith, who participated in his first official race in 10 years, also commented that the event was very professionally run.  “The level of organisation and attention to detail is superb.  This is an exceptionally professionally run event.  It is also a community driven event – with farmers from the district taking great pride in the race!  They are continually improving it and strive for perfection and creating excitement for the riders,” he said.


“The weather made for a great event.  Including the 60km allowed the serious riders to have a good challenging ride.  The farmers in the community all pull together to create the race.  By giving time, labour and equipment to create the tracks, they enable us to achieve standards that would ordinarily take a great deal of money and would make a race of this standard unaffordable,” added Craig MacKenzie.


First man home in the inaugural 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme which drew 200 entries, was Derrin Smith in a time of 2:28:44. He was followed by Matthew Wilkinson (02:28:45) and Leeroy Emslie (02:33:10).

Derrin Smith MTB 60km Winner 2016 IMG_0425

Smith, who farms in Mid-Illovo was thrilled at his first ever win. “I have never won this race before but I have finished third twice in the previous years.  For the first time, the race incorporated the 60km which has added a whole new dimension.  In KZN, we are limited to only a few races over 40km whereas, in other parts of the country, they have longer marathon type races,” he explained.


Smith said the race was good preparation for the Sani2C.


Wilkinson, who lives in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, commented after finishing his race: “I had a great race with some intense racing and super-fast flowing single track. It was fun from the start to the finish.”


First place amongst the ladies went to Jeannie Dreyer in 02:50:09, followed by Chriestie-Liegh Hearder in 03:06:13 and Natalie Bergstrom in 03:09:41.


Matthew Volek crossed the finish line first in the 40km Husqvarna Classic in a time of 02:11:59. Second place went to Zibise Cyprian Sikhakhane (2:14:42) and third to Gerhard Gous (02:14:44).


Courtney Smith was the first lady to cross the finish line in a time of 02:37:22. Second place went to Sandy Boshoff (02:45:47) and third to Cindi Kirby (02:49:04).


The 18km Gwahumbe Game & Spa Fun Ride went to Campbell van Rooyen in 00:46:34. He was followed by Matthew Millward (00:46:41) in second and sprog, Jonathan Watts, in third (00:49:22).  The first female rider, Sabine Thies, finished in a time of 00:48:41. The second placed female finisher was Sarah Ryan (00:55:47) and the third female finisher was Bridget Theunissen (00:57:35).


The 18km and 9km iNsingizi trail routes proved even more popular this year. 18km winner, Owen Bengo, finished his race in 01:18:34.


A deserving winner, Bengo works as a painter and gardener in Pietermaritzburg and finished the race in second place last year. He started trail running in 2011 and came fifth in his first race. Next year, he hopes to complete a MTB event before putting on his running shoes.


Second was Mduduzi Ncgobo (01:25:54) and third was Roy Newlands in 01:28:59. The ladies winner was Wendy Mills from Pietermaritzburg (01:38:36), followed by Jennifer Coppinger (01:41:59) and Sue Pilkington (01:45:47).


The 9km race was won by Michael Baker who came home in 00:39:00, followed by David Wilson (00:39:07) in second and Robbie Hyslop (00:40:51 third). First prize in the ladies race went to Steph Pons (00:46:04), second to Jessica Wigley (00:47:19) and third to Melissa Rohde (00:50:46).


Raceday Sports Performance Drink provided the riders and runners with the important hydration en route.


The Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run is a community event and all proceeds are used for the upliftment of the Mid-Illovo community.


For further information, log on to www.roag.co.za or www.husqvarnaclassic.co.za



Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run – Sunday 24 April 2016

Author mtbguy    Category Uncategorized     Tags


Take a serious mountain biking and trail run challenge for top notch professional athletes, add tough races for amateur sports lovers and finish with a dollop of family fun and you have the 2016 Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run.

This eagerly anticipated event, which is due to take place Sunday 24 April at the Mid-Illovo Club in KZN, will include a new challenge for serious mountain bikers – the 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme.

Seasoned riders, many of whom have already tested their endurance against the 40km Husqvarna Classic, can look forward to tackling what has been called “the best single track of any single day event”.

Less serious bikers can choose between the 18km Gwahumbe Family Experience or the 10km route where entry is free for the under 12s.

The 18km or the 9km iNsingizi trail routes, which were introduced three years ago, grow in popularity every year with more and more trail runners enjoying superlative routes through indigenous KZN bushlands and grasslands.

Event organizer, Shanon MacKenzie, pointed out that, for the first time, the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run would take place two weeks before Sani2C, giving mountain bikers a perfect pre-Sani training opportunity, especially when it came to the new, longer riding route.

The Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge has more than earned its place as part of the prestigious Quattro ROAG Series which was created to develop the sport in KwaZulu-Natal. It has successfully focused on encouraging young and up-and-coming riders to enjoy mountain biking.

“The beauty of this event is that it is not exclusively for professional sportsmen and women. It has something for everyone, especially for those who love the outdoors and the beautiful scenery of KwaZulu-Natal. Most importantly, it offers something for partners and children which means that it can be a fun filled family experience,” said MacKenzie.

The Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge crosses two picturesque game reserves – the Gwahumbe Game & Spa and iNsingizi Game & Spa. A much anticipated feature of the route is the exciting 60 metre long floating bridge. Positioned at water level, it sinks slightly as riders enter it from the single track making for an unforgettable experience that feels a little like riding on water or even skimming across it.

As professional athlete, Eszter Erdelyi, who says she loved every metre of last year’s race, explained: “The MTB course is very versatile, it has everything from sugar cane to insane climbs to super fun single track.  You just never know what comes next!”

 The 2012 winner, Patrick Belton was also enthusiastic about the race and said: “The course designers have put a lot of thought into the track and made it very special. Also, there’s a lot of variety as you get to look at zebras and spectacular scenery when you’re not concentrating on beating the rugged terrain!”

 The 2014 overall mountain bike race winner, Callan Deacon, noted that the track is exceptionally well-marked and the single track is fast and flowing and well prepared.

Each year, the Mid-Illovo community benefits from hosting the race as all proceeds from the event go towards community upliftment.

To enter online, log on to www.roag.co.za or contact ROAG on info@roag.co.za or 086 100 ROAG/7624.  Entries will be accepted on the day.

 Entry Fees

  • 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme: R180
  • 40km Husqvarna Classic MTB: R160
  • 18km Gwahumbe Family Experience: R130
    10km Fun Ride: R60 (free for under 12s)
  • 18km iNsingizi Trail Run: R110
    9km iNsingizi Trail Run: R80


For more information, visit www.husqvarnaclassic.co.za.


An ‘X’ for Xterra – How not to do it!

Author mtbguy    Category Xterra     Tags

xterra startSaturday saw my first ‘B Race’ of the year from a triathlon point of view – Xterra Grabouw. I’d had some chronic health issues over the last few years, so every time I’ve ever competed at the event I’ve suffered, and never done anything near of what I believe I’m capable of. But, I’m in a great place health-wise now.

My swim is better than it’s ever been, and still on the rise, even though swimming is my weakest discipline. I’m feeling better on the bike than I ever had too, which says a lot because cycling has always been my strength. The run has been on the back-burner, but the little running I have done has felt good. I don’t feel fast, but I felt like I had a good rhythm, which is more important for a tough course like Xterra.

All-in-all I felt really good going into the race. I even thought to myself “what could possible go wrong”, which lead my mind to jump to the tricky MTB course, and I’ve mostly been on the road bike, so my technical skills may have been a tad rusty. The thought “I’m going to have a really good day” went through my mind so many times that week, not because I was trying to convince myself of it, but because I truly felt great.

My first challenge of the day was avoiding the debris of broken glass on the N2 caused by a beer truck losing its load. There was glass everywhere and cars were rerouted onto the grass to avoid the glass, but we were all still riding over it. I knew that a puncture in more than one tyre would leave me stranded and would spell an end to my day, but I was fortunate enough to get through unscaved, which was just a prelude to what was to follow.

During bike racking I took my watch out of my bag, and half my strap broke. I didn’t want to lose the watch on the course, so I decided not to use it, and to race blind. I knew that the MTB course is where I’d really miss it. Time and distance provide me with good markers to manage my effort and progress. But I didn’t have it and standing at the swim start I’d come to peace with that.

I felt pretty good to start with on the swim. I felt like my rhythm was good, and I was sighting more regularly, and therefore my line was pretty straight. As I started to warm up I started to feel even better. It was feeling hard, yet controlled and comfortable, which is where I wanted to be.

Then came the swim exit. I always swim until I feel my hand touch the ground. I could see people around me standing, but I kept swimming. Then I felt something on my hand and popped up. The water seemed to even deepen slightly, so I did three dolphin dives, swam some more, and then stood up again, and in knee-high water started to power-walk through the water. Suddenly I felt a thud on my left foot. I’ve kicked my foot before, and this felt different, this felt more damaging. I lifted my foot out of the water, under-side facing down, didn’t see any blood, and thought “I think I might be OK”, more in hope I think.

I continued to push to the shore and actually fell over another rock, also underwater and not visible, which actually caused me to lose my balance. This was more of a trip than a kick of the rock. Once I was out the water and slightly hobbling I paused momentarily, but didn’t look underneath my foot. I now know that subconsciously I was procrastinating my assessment of the damage – I think deep down I knew it was bad. I said to myself “I’ll assess it when I get to my bike”. When I got there I lifted and twisted my foot. The underside of my left toe was completely lacerated and there was a gaping hole in it – I immediately thought “This is going to need stitches”, but then “No, just get on your bike”, followed by “But I’m going to lose so much blood, and this could get infected”. I decided to run and find a medic.

I clearly watch too many movies, because I was looking for a guy with a ‘+’ sign on his chest. Anyway, I run up to the announcer, tapped him on the left shoulder, rudely cutting him off mid-sentence, and belted out “Where do I find a medic”. He then announced “we need a medic in transition, a medic in transition”, after which I did a slow 360° spin to see if I could see anybody running towards me…as if it could happen that quickly, right? The announcer then pointed me to where the medical tent was and I ran over.

The doctor said that it needed stitches, but if I really wanted to continue that he could freeze the toe to stop the bleeding. At this point I’d accepted that this had happened, and really just wanted to sort my foot out and get on the repair path so I can race properly again. I said to the doctor, that I’m not a pro, and that I do it because I enjoy it, and even if I could grit my teeth through the MTB ride, it wouldn’t have been enjoyable, not to mention what a nightmare the run could be. I told himthat my day was done and to stitch me up. In went the anaesthetic, followed by 8 stitched, and I was soon walking around the race village and actually quiet enjoying myself.

When I returned to transition I saw my bike – It was the only bike in transition. It looked like a dog waiting for its walk. But it was the only dog not getting its walk that day.

It was a great event put on by the Stillwater Sports team – I was just unlucky. The bottom line is that in the event of something like this happening, there was a doctor at hand to attend to my needs. Jaco (the doctor) was great. He always gave me options. I can see he understands how important races are to athletes.

It’s now down to a quick recovery this week, and then I need to be on my bike with the Argus two weeks away. Then the focus is Ironman 70.3 in Durban in mid-June, with other triathlons in between to test the body. Hopefully my bad luck is behind me.


Sean Tait



Sean Tait shares his summer plans.

I’ve decided to get a blog going and keep everybody up to date on the goings-on with myself from a training and racing point of view. I look forward to it being a means for me to communicate with fellow athletes and share training advice too, so here goes…
So as the coaching is starting to settle down a bit leading into the festive season, I’ve found myself with some time to think…What are my own personal goals for 2016? What races am I going to target? Should I be brave and go big, or should I sink into the crowd and stay within myself?
I was really eyeing up the idea of doing Durban Ironman 70.3, as I have family there, and it’s Durban, and it’s a fast flat 70.3, something I’ve never done. Although, with the race’s future on an apparent knife edge, it seems unrealistic to bank on it happening. So that leaves me with the idea of perhaps doing IronmanSA – Ja, that’s the full thing, where you do insane distances in three different disciplines one after the other…about that going big thing 😐 It makes sense to me. I don’t feel intimidate by any of the three disciplines and I feel that I have now aged enough, and most importantly, I am back to a good state of health. So that’s the plan, and I’m keen to give Xterra Grabouw a shot on the way, that’ll get me mixing up the training on the trails.
With that in mind, what will I be doing over the festive season? Eating too much food, sure, but I’m going to need to bank some training. I spent the majority of winter just running, leading up to CT Marathon, so over December the focus will be on swimming and cycling. I need to get comfy with sitting on my TT bike, in the TT position for hours on end. I need to fine tune my nutrition. I got my nutrition wrong at DC – I need to use more gels and bars and a little less of the baby potatoes. I miss being a cyclist to a degree, or at least I miss where my cycling was when I only had to think about riding a bike. Then, I will look to increase my running from the beginning of January. So that’s me in a nutshell over the holidays. What are your goals? Any advice for me as I head into the unknown?
‘Til next time

Westcoast Beach Run; 11 – 13 December 2015

Author mtbguy    Category Beach running     Tags

So, here are the details for the brave few wishing to spend 3 days on the beach, albeit without the cossies and cocktails!



Friday, 11 December at 07h00: leave from Koeberg Power Station parking lot. Run along the beach all the way to Silwerstroomstrand. Total distance: + 32km.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 7.00.58 PM


Saturday, 12 December at 07h00: Run from Grotto Bay beach to Yzerfontien beach. Mostly beach all the way. + 24km.

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Sunday, 13 December at 07h00: Yzerfontein beach to Tsaarsbank, 16 mile beach, West coast National Park, Langebaan. + 30 km. This is 100% beach! There is a picnic area with braai facilities and toilets here. A braai with ice cold refreshments sound like a plan!

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 7.02.11 PM




Your attire: old trail shoes (they will get wet), hat (that also covers your neck if you burn easily), water & food ( there is NO access to water or food en route), GoPro (if you have one) , GPS ( if you have one).

We will book accommodation for Friday night and Saturday night in Yzerfontein. We will then shuttle between there and the various start / finish points.

Your lift back on Sunday will need to enter the WC National Park to pick you up. From Cape Town, it is closer to the bottom gate. See the map to Tsaarsbank here: WCNP map

Anticipated costs:

Participation fee: NIL

Accommodation: +R 400 per person per night in a shared self catering venue.

Food: + R 100 per person per day: breakfast and dinner.

Contribution towards petrol and WC National Park access fees.

If you are keen, please email us ASAP in order for us to book the accommodation: westcoast@beachrunning.co.za


Trailrunning web sites

Are you always looking for information on local and international trail running events?
How about information on shoes, headlamps, hydration packs and other gear in general?
Here’s a number of web sites that I use often and which may be of help to you.
Have another that I did not list? Please comment below and I’ll update the list.

Two great motivators too….


sean conway



























Totalsports Knysna Xterra feedback

xt 1I arrived in Knysna on Sunday afternoon, 5 July and was surprised how dry and pleasant the weather was. On Monday I took part in the ASWD cross country league, the Featherbed 15km trail run on Tuesday and the Knysna Marathon Club’s 10 km street run on Wednesday. Throughout this time there had been a few drops here and there and some cooler weather but really nothing like I have experienced in Knysna before.

That changed when the rain came down hard on Wednesday evening and again for a short while on Thursday morning. What was this going to do to the single track trail run sections as well as the mountain bike trail out at Pezula, was all I could think.

Like most other trail runners and mountain bikers ( I guess) I dont mind riding or running in or through water and mud. I can handle running and riding while it rains too. It is having to start an event in the rain that ain’t really that much fun.

Well, how blessed we were with excellent riding and running weather on the day. Cool, at times overcast with a few drops here and there but no rain when the event commenced and no rain throughout my time out there doing the full Xterra.

This was my 4th event at Pezula and every time I have such fun and always feel that it is over too soon. The registration on the day, goodie bag, start area, coffee station, transition area, track out there and  overall vibe was one of great excitement and enjoyment.

The first 3km trail run always gets a bit crowded at the first turn from the concrete road onto the single track, causing a huge bottleneck with no choice but to walk (unless of course you are in the very front!)

Knowing this from previous years I took it easy, aware that there would be plenty of other opportunities to catch up ( should I indeed wish to do so.)

The transition from run to bike went smoothly and it was great to be back on a bike again ( have not done much of that lately).

xt 2

Sure, there was mud! It was however not as much as I had experienced in previous events and it was above all, rideable! Once again the ride was finished before I was ready to end it. Fun all the way.

The last leg, the 7km trail run, is the best part of the lot. It starts with a nice slow ( for me) and steep uphill on the concrete road to the top where it joins the entrance to the Pezula estate. A fast downhill section to a welcome water table awaits before you join a muddy single track after another section of concrete path. The ultimate fun and way too short section is what I refer to as the canopy section. Ultimate trail running through trees on a very narrow single track over roots and dodging low hanging branches. Give me a whole day of that, please!

Back to the concrete track for the last 2km or so and I was home! A nice medal, big smiles and a cup of REHIDRAT Sport awaited me at the finish. All and all, a great experience.

xterra partyYet, it was not the end. All full Xterra participants were invited to a Hawaiian after party on Thursday evening at Cruise Cafe, Knysna. Windhoek light sponsored every one with 2 beers and tasty food was served throughout the evening. All on the house.

The big announcement of the evening was the fact that Fedhealth will be the lead sponsor of Xterra come 2016.

xterra party 2I even walked away with one mighty powerful headlamp courtesy of Extreme Lights as one of the lucky draw prizes of the evening.



Knysna Oyster Festival: 2015 edition


I have been visiting Knysna on and off during Oyster festival week for many years now. In the initial years always for just one event: the mountain bike event on the first Saturday of the Oyster festival. I think my first one could’ve been in 1994. Since then it has been hit and miss. Every HIT has been a most enjoyable experience and every MISS a sad memory…

Four years ago I entered the Totalsports XTERRA Pezula for the first time, my first XTERRA ever, and loved it. That same year I also particiapted in my first Salomon Featherbed trail run and enjoyed the experience very much.

In 2013 I thought I’d give the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE a go and did not know that one can have so much fun ( in such miserable weather ) in one week. Sadly 2014 was a miss again.

Not so 2015! This year I decided to order my own list of events from the big event menu. It turns out that I will be doing 4 such events between Monday 6 July and Thursday 9 July. Yip, an event a day keeps the doctor away ( or something like that!)

Here’s what I have selected from the great Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival menu:



The Athletics SWD & KMC Cross Country League 5: If you’ve never run a Cross Country (XC) event, you may want to try this one. It starts at 10h00 ( what a great time while on holiday) and consists of 5 diferent races between 10h00 and 13h00. Runners participate according to theiur age category with the maximum distance being 10km for senior men and women. I am in for an 8km run. It is not quite trail running but definitely not road. “Off-road” would be my best description.

See here for details: http://www.aswd.co.za/event/athletics-swd-kmc-cross-country-league-5/



The Salomon Featherbed Trail Runs provide much enjoyment. Sure, when you look at the entry fee you may feel that you can do a whole lot beter for that fee. If you take into consideration that you run through a private nature reserve, not otherwise accessible, that you enjoy a cruise across the lagoon on one of the Featherbed ferries and that besides a great run, you are rewarded with a meal at the end, it seems worthwhile to enter.

There are three time slots to choose from ( morning, lunch time and afternoon) and 2 different route options. I’ve opted for the long run ( 15km Coelacanth) and the midday run. I’ll enjoy a hearty Chef’s beef lasagne with a side salad at Cruise Cafe, where the run ends. I may of course have some refreshing beverage to go along with my meal. See here for all the info :http://magneticsouth.net/trail-run/



Some road running on Wednesday to let the trail shoes dry out! The Athletics SWD Knysna Marathon Club 5km & 10km run. Registration takes place at 13:00 at the Knysna Festival Grounds (Knysna High School)
5km – R10 pp
10km – R40 pp
Temp license – R35 pp

The 5km run starts at 14h00 and the 10km at 17h30. No early Wednesday morning for me!

Go here for an online entry: http://www.aswd.co.za/product/aswd-and-kmc-5km-and-10km/




My favourite event of the week: the Totalsports XTERRA Pezula presented by Rehidrat Sport. This is the only XTERRA event I’ve done to date and that’s only because it does not contain a water discipline. Well, that depends on the rains the weeks and days before the event, I guess. I suppose what they mean is that you dont need to swim. You may however see a lot of water ( or more like mud) while running and cycling. It is the type of mud you embrace, rather than cringe about!

The FULL event follows a Trail Run/MTB/Trail Run format. Run 3km, ride 26 km and then run another 7km. There is also a LITE version and several kids events on Wednesday, 8 July.

This event is a must and one that I simply don’t miss when I go to Knysna for the Oyster Festival. There is a great vibe at event venue. Last year I arrived in time for breakfast cereal and coffee. After the event I stayed for a beer and something to eat and just to soak in the vibe. Over the years I’ve been participating I was there on the start line with professionals such as Conrad Stoltz, Dan Hugo, Stuart Marais and Kevin Evans.

I’ve heard that there may be a great post-event party on the Thursday evening. Once I have the details, I will post it on twitter at @mtbZA

Go here for entries: http://www.jumpertrax.com/register?evid=1097&tpe=2

I have previously participated in the Knysna Marathon’s half marathon and love that one. The marathon itself is always a favourite and also gets fully subscribed in a matter of days. I will be missing those events this year in favour of the Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run 2015 on Saturday 11 July. This time I will be attempting the 35km run. More on that at a later stage.

So, what will you be doing in Knysna between all the craft beer tastings and oyster shucking this year?


Westcoast Beach Run, December 2014

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So, here are the details for the brave few wishing to spend 3 days on the beach, albeit without the cossies and cocktails!

Friday, 12 December at 07h00: leave from Koeberg parking lot. Run on the beach as far as we can until we have to take a sandy road inland towards the R 27, close to the Grotto Bay turnoff. Total distance: + 36km.

Saturday, 13 December at 07h00: Grotto Bay beach to Yzerfontien beach. Mostly beach all the way. + 27km

Sunday, 14 December at 07h00: Yzerfontein beach to Tsaarsbank, 16 mile beach, West coast National Park, Langebaan. + 27km. There is a picnic area with braai facilities and toilets here. A braai with ice cold refreshments sound like a plan!

Your attire: old trail shoes (they will get wet), hat (that also covers your neck if you burn easily), water & food ( there is NO access to water or food en route), GoPro (if you have one) , GPS ( if you have one).

Your travel arrangements: you need to get to each start and have some-one pick you up at each finish point daily.
I will be spending Friday night and Saturday night in Yzerfontein and shuttle between there and the various start / finish points.
Your lift back on Sunday will need to enter the WC National Park to pick you up. From Cape Town, it is closer to the bottom gate. See the map to Tsaarsbank here: WCNP map

Jacques van Dyk has kindly offered beds and couches at his place in Grotto Bay. If you wish to take up that offer, please email me for his details: japie@mtbblog.co.za

Hope to see you on the beach!


CWC Durbie Dash 2014: feedback

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So, last week-end saw 4 mtb and 3 road events being hosted by the Durbanville High School in conjunction with the guys at Chris Willemse Cycles and PPA.

Registration started at 14h00 on Friday, 24 October at the Chris Willmese Cycles store in Durbanville and when I arrived a bit early at 13h45, the buzz was already developing! I finally picked up my 2014 Pedalpower number and prepared for my first MTB event post my cracked ribs incident. I was happy to test my body on the 36km Contermanskloof Rock Buster.

According to the event’s web site, it was suitable for the more serious weekend warrior looking for a decent workout associated with spectacular scenery and that a fair amount of technical skills would be required. Fitness levels should ideally be at least average to high.

The event started on a hot summer’s morning in Durbanville with not a breeze to be felt and not a cloud in the sky.

We had a 3 km or so neutral zone following a car until we reached Clara Anna Fontein from where we hit the dirt. From that point on it was mostly jeep track, crossing various vineyards and then a long 3-arrow-steep climb to Bloemendal.

From there we took the single track all the way up to the radio towers at the top of the hill, the highest point of the ride at 10,6km and an altitude of 467m.

After a quick Coke at the water table, it was downhill all the way on the expertly built Contermanskloof trail, courtesy of the Tygerberg MTB club. A compact track with plenty of switchbacks, jumps and berms makes for excellent riding. I must admit, a 29er hard tail might not be the most ideal bike for such a ride, as my very hard fall and beautiful blue chest bruise can attest to.

At the 20.4km mark, we were down to 108m elevation, from where some fairly flat and fast sections followed. We rode up to the Malanshoogte tarred road heading towards Hoogekraal where we took a right up the road for about 2,2km before taking and another right into some wheat fields. Riding right through the dry yellow wheat field, standing about waist high, was in sharp contrast to the green vineyards just half an hour earlier.

From there it was mostly flat again until we started climbing a short steep “sting in the tail” uphill after the last waterpoint. The last kilometre or so was on a tarred road to the finish line, 3 km from the start zone, near the Durbanville High School.

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The waterpoints (all 4 of them) were well-manned and stocked with water, Coke, fruit juice, potatoes, jelly beans, other sweets and banana pieces.

All in all a great ride, well organized and one I recommend. I hope to tackle the 54km Fair Cape Chain Breaker in 2015. That one promises to challenge your stamina and technical ability and provide an experience well worth discussing over a camp fire. ( according to the event web site)

Below is a clip of the Contermanskloof trail, courtesy of the Tygerberg MTB club.



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