This spectacular 100-kilometre web of hand-built trails on the Mouton’s Valley and Bugler’s Post farms are usually the private playground of the landowners and a few very select friends. The rest of us get to ride it on only two weekends a year, when the farmers open these to the public for the benefit of the The Piket-Bo-Berg Resident’s Association (PBBRA), a non-profit organisation heavily involved in community development in the area.
“The association wanted to host a sustainable fundraiser to help finance the NPO,” Delanie Jooste, one of the event organisers, explains the birth of the Cycle Challenge back in 2009. The highly exclusive The U MTB Stage Race was added a few years later and the funds will be used to help fund the Mouton’s Valley Community Learning Centre.
This year the Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge will take place on 8 September and once again offer various route options for all skill and fitness levels, as well as two trail-running options. The U MTB Stage Race is happening from 19-21 October and takes in all of the 101-kilometres of what is arguably the finest continuous network of trails in the land.
Those who have had the privilege of tackling the trails on either the one-day Cycle Challenge or the weekend-long stage race know that it’s no simple roll through the fruit orchards. The riding is tough and technical, but ever-so-rewarding, each section of singletrack being unique, taking in all the special natural features on the two farms. “The farms are situated in a mountainous area very similar to the Cederberg,” Jooste says. “The area is characterised by natural fynbos and beautiful rock features, and there are pine forests as well as indigenous riverine forest along the Bushman’s River which originates in a valley between Mouton’s Valley and Bugler’s Post,” she says. “This variety provides an ever-changing landscape when riding these trails.”
If the riding is not enough of a pull, the vibe of The U is a huge drawcard too… Chilled weekend away with mates in nature with good food and cold beer. Tick. “The U is exclusive and relaxed in a boutique sort of way,” Jooste explains. “With only 200 riders present it enables us to put on gourmet meals, mid meal snacks, CBC beer, freshly squeezed orange juice (with oranges from the farm),” she says, adding that they also cater for vegan and vegetarian requirements.
Added to this is a haven of chill zone (you’re going to need it after the punishing climbs) dotted with bean bags and fires to keep the riders warm in the evenings. “One year the riders even requested we turn off the background music so they could enjoy the silence,” Jooste says. The dam can be used for swimming, bass fishing and canoeing. There are also tech and recovery zones.
Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge
The PBBCC takes place on 8 September and features something for all skill and fitness levels over four route options: 63km with 1 600m ascent (of which 62% is singletrack); a 37km; 27km and the 10km fun ride - complete with a pump track and introductory singletrack. There is also a trail run over two challenging routes, 18km or 8km. Both feature stunning rock features and views.
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The U MTB Stage Race
The U is scheduled for 19-21 October and is open to 200 riders only. It features +-107.9km over the 2.5 days with some 3 154m of total ascent. Riders get to enjoy every piece of singletrack on the mountain, with the Friday, being a 7km, 169m ascent XCO-course style prologue. Saturday is Episode One: 49.82km, 1 567m ascent, extremely challenging. Sunday is Episode Two: 51.08km, 1 418m ascent, fast and technical.
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