Although I’d entered the 63 km route, after a near-miss of the start due an alarm clock fail and too little saddle time of late, I made the call to take it easier on the 37 km route with 700 metres of elevation.
The start is self-seeded, based on an honesty system, with both the 63 km and 37 km routes starting together at 8 AM. After a rush to the start, I slotted in somewhere in between “Weekend Warriors” (aka C batch) and “I'm here just to enjoy the ride & experience some of the best single track in the country” (aka D Batch). The amusing names embody the fun, friendly, 'don't take it too seriously' nature of the event.
The combined start is intentional so that the “racing snakes” from both routes can avoid congestion. After a few gentle kilometres winding through the farm roads, we hit the first climb and single track of the day. Being mid-pack there was a bit of congestion heading into the narrow trail, but soon we were winding our way up into the mountain.
The first 25-30 km of the route traverses the western side of the valley over a mix of smooth, flowy trails, tight technical turns and rocky sections. The trails wind up, down and around just about every inch of the mountain treating riders to some spectacular views along the way. The occasional farm road or dual-track provided some reprieve from the often demanding trails with a chance to sneak a drink or overtake slower riders.
After what feels like mostly climbing, the route descends back towards the Moutons Valley Farm to close off the first loop. The descents require your full attention to navigate through the rocky alleys and fynbos lined switchbacks. Although there are no scary or overly technical sections if your concentration slips and your flow is interrupted you risk an awkward stumble into the rocks or woody fynbos.
The remainder of the 37 km route featured a few short kicks but flowed pleasantly back towards the finish. At the split point where the 63km riders would head out for their second loop and some 900 metres of extra climbing, I funnelled through the ‘chute of shame’ to record my route change and happily cruised into the finish where a cold beverage and burger awaited.
- Katie Lennard 3:27:03
- Michelle Lombardt 4:15:43
- Nicole Murphy 4:28:37
- Luke Evans 3:14:11
- Nico Pfitzenmaier 3:20:52
- Nicholas Lambrecht 3:21:46
View all the results here.
Along with the rewards of the Piket-Bo-Berg trails, there were some phenomenal lucky draw prizes up for grabs including weekends away in Piketberg and surrounds, dinners, wine, gear hampers and more. Don't make the same mistake I did in heading back to town too early and missing out on these!
It's all about the community
The events helps to support the Piket-Bo-Berg Residents association, a Non-Profit Organisation founded by the local farming community residing on the Piketberg Mountain.