Ek is Lara, Livingstone & Stanley, Looking for Moses – does that mean something to you?
Well, it did mean nothing to me nor to my cycling buddy Jens before we did the 2.5 day stage “race” The U near Piketberg in the Western Cape. It surely means something to us now and probably also to the other 150 participants.
But before I solve the question, let me start with a quick event review.
Here is my review: AWESOME
Finished, klaar, nothing more to say.
In a few more words – best short stage race I have ever done!
What impressed me most was the relaxed atmosphere in the “race” or rather event village.
Due to the small field, compared to Sani2Sea or even the Epic, the breathtaking setting under countless oak trees, the delicious food and the family feel of the hosts, the atmosphere was really what stood out for us.
It seemed to me that the organizers, all local farmers and friends, looked at all different stage events in South Africa, and there are plenty these days, and took what they loved and avoided what they did not like so much.
During the day there was no loud music playing, just tranquility in nature in the chill zone.
The “race” briefing was hilarious, short, fun and greatly entertaining. Lots of fun prices were given and tequila shots had to be taken as penalties. The food was just another level. Restaurant quality at an event like this – quite remarkable.
The Friday started with a Prologue of 7 or 9 km.
You could arrive when its suits you, do the prologue or not when you are ready. It just had to be before sunset. It was a nice short start with some technical riding to get fired up.
Saturday was only 55 km or something similar. Total ascent apparently between 1.450 and 1.700 m.
The organizers are not too worried about correct figures. Sounds short right? Right! – our riding time of 4.30 h will give the MTB rider an indication that the terrain was not easy.
No, it was not easy, it was technical, but it was AWESOME.
I was smiling most of the time – until I saw the first three corners of Livingstone & Stanley.
Apparently ride-able, but not for me. It hurts when you fall with my height of nearly 2 meters, so I put one foot down and took the corners with some assistance.
Oh, yes and there was this climb of – the organizers don’t know how many elevation meters, but there were a lot – 25 minutes for the winner and 1 hour for normal riders.
Luckily I love climbing, my partner Jens does not like me very much during such climbs, apparently I get carried away and talk too much.
Sunday was a bit shorter with 47 km, but still well over 1.000 m of climbing, again all on single track except for the 1 km jeep track at the start.
Riding time was shorter with just under 4 hours, but still a full day in the saddle.
This event is all about single track. 95% of the event you ride on it. The trails are just mind blowing.
One should be of sound technical riding ability, but nothing too scary.
I could not say which of the famous single tracks was my favorite one I loved them all, be it Lara, Linvingstone or Moses.
What a blast.
by Andreas Krensel