The announcement of the 9 day JoBerg2c race caused much excitement in the mountain biking circles of South Africa. Everybody was wondering how the organisers were going to get the riders from Joberg to Scottburgh, all off-road. Keep reading for the answer.
The exciting thing about JoBerg2c is that parts of both the Berg and Bush and Sani2 routes will be incorporated. There will be plenty district road to be covered in getting out of Jo’burg and through the Free State, but there will be sections of single track and Subaru track to break up the long stretches – that is a promise.
Check out the stage descriptions below, although not 100% final it gives a good idea of what to expect.
Suikerbosrand to Frankfort 110km – The Pro-Am
All riders will get the same time on the first stage. This will allow everyone to get to know one another and to loosen the legs and enjoy the first day without having to race. It is a compulsory stage and riders will have to complete the stage. We would like the pro-riders to get to know the field and to just mix with the different teams. Many of these riders seldom get to meet the people who actually make up the serious numbers of this sport.
Starting in the Suikerbosrand Koppies (near Heidelberg) the first stage of 110km will be a mix of district road, Subaru track and a Vaal river crossing with a difference. You may have to cross ten metres of tar along the way. It is mostly flat, but never believe anyone who says the Free State is flat!
Frankfort to Reitz – 90km – Wilge Route
You will enter the heart of the Free State, passing farms and riding through others as you work your way through the spectacular landscapes and vast horizons. For some, this is where the racing begins and, for most, is where you will first realise there is no turning back. South Africa is a seriously beautiful country.
Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam – 100km – The Maizing Lands
Very similar riding terrain to day two, this stage will end up at the mighty Sterkfontein Dam. If you have not seen this dam close up, it is really something else. Farmers’ knowledge of the area will yield some proper farm off-road riding.
Sterkfontein Dam to Winterton – 100km – The Big Drop
The famous tar road passes – Van Reenen’s and Oliviershoek – we all know about, but what many don’t know is that between these two tarred passes are some other not so tarred descends from the Highveld to the bottom of the world. The Voortrekkers used these passes to get up to the Highveld and left us with some of the most incredible riding you can imagine. Two of them, Retief’s Pass and Bezuidenhout’s Pass, will be used to drop down to KZN from the edge of the world. Make sure your camera is fully charged for this one.
Winterton to Kamberg – 80Km – The Midlands without the Meander
This is where things start to get a little tough and the word ‘mountain’ comes into play since there are no flats to Kamberg. The route, which goes up and down from Winterton, will follow district roads and little sneaks along the way. Still, this could be considered a rest-day for what will follow.
Kamberg to Underberg – 90Km – A Mountain out of a Foothill
Don’t be fooled by the distance. This is could be the toughest day of the entire ride. If you wanted proper mountain biking in proper mountains, then you got it. Beauty is too simple a word for this area. If it is clear, you will be overshadowed by the natural skyscrapers of the ‘Berg, propped up by the giant foothills in which you get to play. This stage is what we all mountain bike for.
Underberg to MacKenzie Club – 85km – Sani, but yet so far
This is Sani2c route day one. Weather dependent as always, but it is not rainy season in May, so the single track should be fast and furious. So much has been said about the Sani2c route. The only way to understand is to experience it for yourself.
MacKenzie Club to Jolivet – 96km – Rest Day
Sani2c route day two is famous for two things: the massive and spectacular drop from the top of the Umkomaas to the bottom of the valley on what is one of the best stretches of single track imaginable and the climb out of the valley, which we won’t talk about. Another tough day in the saddle, but by now, you will be peaking. Ask anyone who has done Sani2c for more info.
Stage 9 :
Highflats to Scottburgh – 75km – Sea, it was not so bad
Sani2c route day three. It’s not over ’til it’s over and many a foolish man and his bike has taken this day a little too lightly. The main thing will be to keep the adrenalin under control on some high-speed downhills and to get to the sea in one piece. The party begins on the beach and will last as long as you can stand up.