Joberg2C day 8 – The mighty Umkomaas decent

Image Courtesy @kelvintrautman

Today has to be one the best days of mountain biking in the world. Where can you ride manicured downhill single track for 35km with spectacular views? There was a great vibe in the race village this morning with everybody super pumped to ride down into the Umkomaas valley. Today was also the last real test (100km, 2200m climbing) before tomorrow’s 75km ride into Scottborough. And to top things off, it was nice and warm this morning at MacKenzie Club. What an amazing 8 days it has been.

Spectacular sunrise at MacKenzie club this morning
Spectacular sunrise at MacKenzie club this morning

Today’s stage started with 7km of district road before entering the ‘keep left pass right’ single tracks that leads you towards the Umko valley. From here you descend the most magnificent trails including Yankee Doodle, Nick’s Pass, Sosiba’s section, School single track, Mchunu’s Pride and Tamika’s Detour.

I managed a good start and timed my entry into the descent with perfection, having a comfortable gap in front and behind of me. After about a third of the down I caught up to the mixed team of Erik and Ariane Kleinhans. I must admit, Ariane has got some proper skill on her bike, it was great to ride with them. I managed to ride with them until the 65km mark when my knees started to get very achy on all the climbing out the valley. My knees started getting really sore two days ago and when I woke up this morning the left one was pretty swollen. When the pain started to get too much I backed off and soft pedaled to the finish.  The ending into Jolivet was on the all new Charlie’s Cat Walk  which is now a safe and chilled ending to an awesome day. I drifted back from 12th at the 65 km mark to 25th for the stage (4hr 38min), 2nd solo rider in and 25th on GC. Besides the knees pain it was a superb day on the trails.

Kevin Evans at water point 1 - courtesy @joberg2c_journo

Tonight’s overnight stop is at Jolivet, the same stop as Sani2c day2. More amazing catering and accommodation.

At the sharp end of the race it was Dave George and Kevin Evans from Team 360Life who extended their lead over Waylon Woolcock and Neil Mcdonald from Team RE-CM by 7 minutes. Their winning time was 3hr 49 min.

Tonight is the last night of camping, its going to be quite strange going back to normal life. I could get very used to this multistage mountain bike lifestyle.

Day 9 brings an end to this years Joberg2C.  The stage is 75km with only 540m of climbing.  I can smell the beer….

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