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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 or



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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 3.34.04 PM

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.




Heritage Day Kids BMX event

Author mtbguy    Category MTB     Tags ,

The guys & girls at have decided to celebrate Heritage Day, Wednesday 24 September, by holding an informal kids BMX meet at the Songo BMX track in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. There are very few BMX races in the Western Cape and they thought that it would be great for the Songo BMX kids to have a fun day doing what they love with others kids.

“This is an informal meet, rather than a race. It’s more about letting the kids socialise, have fun & celebrate life together!”, says Kathy Crabbe, the Songo General Manager

“If you are able to contribute in any way to make the day more special, it would be greatly appreciated but its not expected – we would just love for you to join us, support & share in the magic of seeing the young joy of riding bikes! Our kids are the rock stars of the future so the more people we have to encourage & cheer them on, the better!”

The details are as follows:

  • DATE: Wednesday, 24 September.
  • REGISTRATION: 08H30 – 09H00
  • RACE STARTS: 09H30 – 11H30
  • VENUE:, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.
  • DIRECTIONS: From the R44 turn into right into Kayamandi, from the N1. Go straight over the circle & up the hill. At the T-junction turn left and go through the gate.
  • For more information contact: Songo Fipaza 083 244 0734 / 
  • See their Facebook page for more about

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Bees, buffaloes, bears and a bike!

It was indeed a great privilege to attend the chat by Alex Harris on Tuesday evening 19 August at Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Although it was a cloudy day with some occasional rain showers, it was dry when I arrived at the venue.

With the blinds down on the big stoep area, the gas heaters on full power and excellent Waterford wines and catered eats on hand, the setting was just right.

IMG_8842 IMG_8847

Alex Harris, ( for those who don’t know, is an explorer. He has climbed the seven summits, walked unsupported to the South Pole, crossed the Arabian desert unsupported and recently returned from his 15th summit of Kilimanjaro.

He is also the guy (and race director) behind the Munga, that $1million, one-stage, 1000km MTB event that will be held in December 2014.

His talk on Tuesday night however was about his preparation and experiences for and during the Freedom Challenge as well as the Tour Divide. Both of these are long distance, unsupported mountain bike events. The Freedom Challenge  is over a distance of 2300km and takes the riders from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl in South Africa.


Tour Divide takes the participants from Canada all along the USA west coast to Mexico, a distance of 4418 km.

Alex shared some great “war stories” as he calls it about sleep deprivation, climbing over electric fences, being stung 30 times by bees in the face, parting a heard of buffalo and making repairs on the fly while doing the Freedom Challenge, an event he has won twice.

The Tour Divide’s challenges include snow, bears, lack of sleep and of course, 4418 km over a period of 16 days and 2hours for the 2014 winner. Alex came 3rd in 2013 and had to bail due to major injuries in his 2014 attempt.

Hearing Alex speak served as great motivation and a reminder to me to just DO IT. ( thanks Nike)

Put your mind to something, plan, train, strategize, etc. but then do it. You may not succeed the first time ( or even after you’ve been successful a few times) but you just have to take the plunge and get on. The human is an amazing being and can accomplish far more than we ever imagined ( or were told to believe when growing up)

I am motivated and will start working on my own challenges now Alex, thanks.

See some of the tweets from the function to see what others said / thought.

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Put Your Best Foot Forward at the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run: 18 May 2014

I love doing mountain bike events. I also love doing trail runs. Well, here’s an opportunity for lovers of both to participate at an event.

Already a favourite with mountain bikers, the 40km Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge boasts what many have called ‘the best single track of any single day event’. Starting from the Mid-Illovo Club, it traverses two of KwaZulu-Natal’s most picturesque game reserves – the Gwahumbe Game & Spa and iNsingizi Game & Spa. This event takes place on 18 May 2014.

For less experienced riders and family and friends, there’s also the 18km Gwahumbe Family Experience and the 10km i-Cycle Insurance Fun Ride.

Those tackling the 8km and 18km iNsingizi trail runs will be also be taking on plenty of rough and ready terrain.

Get your entries in early by logging on to or contacting ROAG on / 086 100 ROAG/7624. The first 500 online entrants will receive a cap and goodie bag.

Entries close Wednesday, 15 May at midnight but late entries will be accepted on the day.

Entry Fees:

40km Husqvarna Classic: R140

18km Gwahumbe Family Experience: R120

10km i-Cycle Insurance Fun Ride: R60

18km iNsingizi Trail Run: R 90

8km iNsingizi Trail Run: R70

So, now my challenge: do I ride or run?

See some pics form the 2013 event.

Winner Mens 18km Trail Run Gareth Harrington 2Winner 40km MTB Eszter Erdelyi 2Winner 40km MTB Andrew Hill 2


A lesson in HOPE!

Last night, while attending the Aramex champions race in Kayamandi, outside Stellenbosch I saw “hope” in action. This “township” of about 30,000 people hosted this event for the third year.

It was a short-track MTB event with categories for juniors, women and men. What made it so unique is the fact that is took place a few days before the start of the Absa Cape Epic, meaning that many of the professional mountain bike riders participated. Seeing them close-up in action was a great experience.


In case you don’t know much about, let me give you the highlights. What started as an idea to allow Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander to race together in the 2008 Cape Epic has developed into a social development program that provides sport and recreational activities to children. This is a result of the great work initiated by Songo Fipaza in Kayamandi and his subsequent teaming up with Christoph Sauser, the Swiss national who calls Stellenbosch his second home.

It became quite clear during the men’s race that the Kayamandi kids knew exactly who Christoph is and shouted his name as he passed by and even patting him on the back as he passed. Seeing that was something that I certainly have not experienced before. It was however when Christoph crossed the finish line first that these kids literally  went crazy.

As Christoph finished, he cycled on for about a 100m or so away from the finish area, on the sports field. It was then that the kids at the finish line ran after him, en masse. It made any celeb mobbing I may have seen before look tame.

When he finally stopped, the kids were all over him. Two security guards eventually had to try and get the kids away from him. At no stage however did Christoph complain or try to get away from the kids. Everyone who asked for a “hi-five” got one and it was clear that they were in awe of him and that he is their hero.

When I walked away from there, I realised that he has given them an amazing gift: HOPE! Hope that no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, they could one day be that mountain biker / athlete / individual that succeeds, creating a better lives for themselves and hopefully, in the spirit of Songo Fipaza and Christoph Sauser pay it forward!

Christoph Sauser



Robbie McIntosh’s 2014 events

Author mtbguy    Category MTB     Tags

I recently had a chat with cycling legend, Robbie McIntosh, to ask him about his 2014 MTB racing plans. He has been very active this year and participated in a number of big league MTB events and plan the same and more for next year.


So, here’s the list of definite events for him, although there are a number of other ones he wishes to do, depending on timing and sponsorships:

cape epic logo

23-30 March: ABSA Cape Epic – The race is held over 8 days and includes a time-trial prologue. The route changes every year, and leads aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through approximately 800 kilometres of the unspoilt nature of the Western Cape and up approximately 15 000m of climbing over some of the most magnificent passes in South Africa. Learn more about the race in the Absa Cape Epic Intro video.


25 April – 3 May 2014: The Old Mutual joBerg2c is riding the off-roads less travelled and trails never travelled. It is racing, riding and touring across this magnificent country. It is sharing a passion for mountain biking with those who love riding. Our aim is to provide a journey where the destination is less important than the experience along the way. Entries close on 31 January. Go here for details: Joberg2c

freedom challenge

Mid June:  This is a 2300 km Race Across South Africa (RASA) MOUNTAIN BIKE. It is non- stop and unassisted, starting in Pietermaritzburg in mid-June every year and following South Africa’s Freedom Trail to end in Wellington outside Cape Town. Learn more hear about this monster challenge: Freedom Challenge

b and B

10 – 12 October: Fedgroup Berg and Bush – The race starts at the picturesque Emseni Camp on the banks of the Tugela River, only 20 minutes outside of Winterton. The route varies every year offering roughly 130km of challenging single track, through scenic mountain and bushveld countryside, which forms part of privately owned farms. There is a 2-day option as well. Enter here: Berg&Bush


Knysna Big 5 Challenge 2013

big 5

So, in January I entered for the Big 5 without really knowing how I will cope with 5 events over a an 8 day period during a traditionally cold and wet Oyster Festival in Knysna.

Let me just put it out there right away: It was an awesome experience and I really loved most minutes of it.


Event 1: Pick ‘n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour MTB race: 80km, Saturday 29 June

My biggest fear was the MTB event. I’ve heard many stories of 5 to 6hr+ finish times, plenty of mud and stuffed up bikes.

Well, we were very fortunate to have a dry ride. Yes, it was freezing at the start, but there was no rain during the race and the mud was really almost non-existent, from a Knysna-in-the-middle-of-the-winter point of view.

The trail, though mostly jeep track offered a great deal of forest, lots of single track, fantastic scenery and not much uphill worth talking about. I made a point of stopping at every refreshment point and enjoyed the Bar-ones, coke, banana bread and other goodies on offer.

The route was a new one and we looped back to the start without having to cross the N2 as in previous years. This race is a must for any mountain biker.


Event 2: Pick ‘n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour Road Race: 80km, Sunday 30 June

road race

About a week before the event I received an email to inform me that the route has been cut short from 100km as planned to 80km due to road works. For me this came as a welcome relief. This was the first time I did the ride towards Wilderness and I did not know what to expect. Though the route profile showed lots of ups and downs, I just could not envisage it having travelled that route by car many, many times.

Once on the road, it quickly became clear that it was a seesaw route. The first major uphill (and biggest hill of the race) starting just about 6km from the start. That climb out, once over the bridge was long and tough. As for the rest, it was a case of trying to stay with a bunch and pacing myself. Though I finished in a faster time than planned, I was still in the bottom half of the finishers.


Event 3: 15km Salomon Featherbed trail run: Tuesday 2 July

trail run

Because of the popularity of the event and the limited access to the Featherbed reserve, the race is split in 3 different start times: morning, afternoon, evening. Upon entry, you get to decide which run you wish to enter. Having the opportunity to arrive at a race venue at 12h30 for a race that starts at 13h00, really appealed to me.

From the Cruise Café on the Knysna Lagoon we boarded a flatbed steel cruiser that took us across the Lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. There we were briefed and eventually started running at about 13h30. The start was on a path along the lagoon followed by a steep “staircase” up the mountain to the top of the Featherbed. The view from there made it all very worth it. A good deal of the trail on top was single track on sandy paths an under the cover of trees. We then ran a short portion of road before once again hitting a single-track trail down the mountain toward the railway track across the lagoon. Running along the track is certainly very interesting and a bit taxing. There is no way to pass anyone and one has to concentrate very well in order not to hurt your ankles (or fall into the lagoon)

This goes on for about 3 km with another 500 m or so after that to the finish at Cruise Café.

The afternoon run had great weather and no rain. Included in the entry fee was a delicious lasagna lunch with a great greek salad.

trail 2

Event 4: Totalsports XTerra Full : Thursday 4 July

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This was my 3rd Knysna Exterra, so at least I knew what to expect. Well, that excludes the cold weather and mud. Lots of mud!

The first 3 km trail run was quick and fun. Except for the first single track section where there was a huge bottleneck, the rest went smoothly.

At the transition, I strapped on my helmet and exchanged my running shoes for my cycling ones. Here, during the MTB ride (of about 24km) I experienced hectic mud right from the start. Not having any type of mudguard on my bicycle or wearing any glasses, I frequently had to slow down to try and get the grit out of my eyes. The route was great and mostly in the forest on the Pezula side of Knynsa. The last 5 km or so was really muddy and I was sliding from side to side on the jeep track.

Back at the transition area it was off with the helmet and on with the running shoes again. The last 7km trail run also had very muddy sections, lots of single track and an excellent section through a canopy of trees. If, like me, swimming is not your thing, then this really is the Xterra for you!


Event 5: Cape Times Knysna Forest half marathon: Saturday 6 July

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For many years I have heard about the Knysna Forest Marathon. Now I finally had the opportunity to experience it.

Though the half marathon only starts at 08h00, one has to line up for a taxi into the forest from 04h30 onwards.

The night before a friend invited me to join him and 2 others for a comfy Land Cruiser ride, right to the start at 06h00. It turns out that he befriended a member of the event’s TV crew with access to get close to the area. A stroll along a well-lit path in the forest led us to an open patch where fires were warming up 1000’s of cold runners. Pick ‘n Pay had a huge Bedouin tent, serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, rusks and energy bars. This was a great way to warm up and pass the time while waiting for the half to start, once the full marathon runners had left.

The event is well known for runners donning old warm clothes and then discarding it at the start or along the route. These clothes are then donated to the locals.

The run itself was great and no real tough sections, except for that downhill. Running through the forest (parts of it at least) is a great experience and really something that one should be able to enjoy and not race.

At the 10km mark I realized that the 4 previous events that week were starting to take their toll and that I was not going to meet my own goal time.

Although I had heard a lot about the downhill section through the Simola Estate, I had no idea that a downhill could be that taxing on your legs, knees and feet.

The run ended at the school grounds in sunny weather with clear skies.


The Big 5 was a great experience and really worth being on my annual event calendar.

Hanging around in Knysna when you know the bulk of the people are there to compete in some event or another, being able to enjoy cheap oysters all over town and sampling (though it tends to be more than mere sampling) local brews, make for a great 8 days in the winter in the Garden Route.

Road ride and trail run pics courtesy of Magnetic South and Jacques Marais








My 2013 calendar: Q1

Yip, its time to plan again. Sure, by this time last year my plan was already sorted. Where-as in 2011 I attempted to do as many events as possible ( 40 in fact) and in 2012 my goal was km driven ( 3062km), this year I am aiming at one substantial event per month. That doesn’t mean that I wont do the small ones or even attempt to do more than one big one a month!

So, here’s my plan as it stands now:

  1. Bay to Bay 30km run. Did that one last week-end and yes, I am still suffering. Being more of a 10km runner and having only ever done 1 half marathon, 30 km is quite something for me. So, that should really be my ONE big event for January 2013.
  2. The Totalsports Challenge, Terra Firma. I did the solo Terra Firma in 2011 & 2012 so decided to try the pair thing this year. I’ll be doing the 13km road run as well as the 9km beach run. My riding partner, Omri Kleynhans will take care of the cycling legs. Good to have him on board. This takes place on Saturday 12 January from Gordon’s Bay to Kleinmond.
  3. Two smaller events for January are the 10km long course trail run at 7pm on 23 January at Constantia and the 49km MTB event in Paarl on 27 January.
  4. In February there are a couple of trail runs and road rides I’ll be participating in. The main event however will be the 3 day Grape EscapeThis MTB event starts in Riebeek Kasteel with Wellington being the race base. Day 1: 75km, Day 2: 60km, Day 3: 70km. It aint the distances or hills I’m worried about but the HEAT! Date: 28 February to 2 March.
  5. In March there’s the good ol’ Argus Cycle Tour. I am not a huge fan and so far have only done 5 in total. It is a good day out, especially if you stop twice for coffee along the way….Date: 10 March.
  6. Then there’s the Two Oceans Half Marathon on 30 March. I hear the biggest challenge is just to get away from the 16,000 strong bundle before one can actually start running.

So, now I am looking for suggestions for the second quarter of 2013. Any suggestions / ideas will be welcomed.

The only other definite for 2013 is the Big 5 at the Oyster Festival, 28 June to 6 July 2013:

  • Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna MTB race – 80km
  • Pick n Pay Rotary Knysna Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Road race- 100km
  • Salomon Featherbed Trail Run – Coelacanth – 14km
  • Totalsports XTERRA: Full (3km trail run, 23km MTB, 7km trail run)
  • Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Half Marathon – 21 Km




Review: Buffet Olives MTB event 2012

Author mtbguy    Category MTB     Tags

So, one week later and I am ready to put my thoughts on paper…or online, should I say.

What a great day! The weather was just great. Sure, the temperature at the start was almost 30 degrees with no shade. Yet, as we got further into the ride, it was either cooler or we had shade for most of the route. In bullet points, here is what I liked most:

  • The route had something of everything. The 1400 meters of climbing was evenly spread and nowhere did I feel that it was too hard on my body. Olive orchards, fynbos, gumtree forest, protea farms, grass, river crossing, jeep track, it was all there.
  • The refreshment stops were even better than last year. I made a point of stopping at every one. The first stop had coke, water  very tasty crunches, jelly babies and wait for it: crackers with thinly sliced Camembert topped with sliced green fig preserve. Wow!
  • There were marshalls aplenty and they were very friendly.

The view from the top was absolutely awesome and seeing that I was in “ride” mode and not “race” mode, I had to stop and take this pic.

At about 7 km from the end, we hit the long wide and open ( read no shade) uphill . This is a toughie. Even more so when my rear derailer packed up and caused my chain to hang very loose.

This meant I had to ride in the biggest ring in the front and smallest at the back. Not the most ideal gearing for that section.  Once we hit the jeep track and the final excellent single track, it was much more bearable.

Well done to Geddan and the team.

It was an excellent event, and though I always make a point of stating what I did not like, I can’t fault this one.

( The only entry mechanism failed BIG TIME. I entered and paid 5 times, only to be informed at  registration that I did not enter at all. It really should not detract from the ride on the day, but please can some-one test these things beforehand?)


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