Club100 MTB Tour de Drakensberg 2020

Tour de Drakensberg 24 – 27 September 2020

Dear Club 100 Mountain Bike Riders,

Not all grand Tours are cancelled in 2020. The most monumental, 4-day mountain bike Tour is in the making, Tour de Drakensberg from 24 September to 27 September 2020. Yes, 2020.

We know you’re missing it:

The early morning gatherings in an empty parking lot. The sound of your 29-inch tires as they go from tar to trail. Sitting next to a path, plugging a sidewall in the middle of nowhere. Going into the red-zone as your “unfit” “friend” passes you on the first climb. Shammy cream and sunscreen.

The beauty of suffering. 

Lockdown has given us the time to plan and put together what’s looking like our best club tour yet. So everything you’ve been missing from your favourite pastime will be ready in oversupply.

We’ve selected a location that has been described as a mountain biking heaven.

Ever wondered where all the 26ers have gone? Their spirits, together with Marco Pantani, are now riding the endless trails of the Alps of Africa: The Drakensberg Mountains.

Yes, some of the Voortrekkers might have crossed this mythic mountain range barefoot, but we were destined to return there with our bikes.

Our base will be the spectacular Mountain Splendour Eco-Resort, with our route planner being a local resident and Mountain Biker, Iain Don-Wauchope. This is just a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg and puts us right in the heart of the Champagne Castle and Catherdal Peak sections of the mighty Malotis. Be warned this Tour will be tough but spectacular.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND (SKILL LEVEL):

  1. Someone that loves MTB.
  2. This is NOT a tour for beginners.
  3. We have space for Club members who have not attended a Club tour before.
  4. If we have space, we allow non-Club 100 members but only by nomination and after all avenues to bring newbies into the fold.
  5. You should be able to ride for at least 5 – 6 hours on MTB for consecutive days.
  6. Average distance will be between 60 – 80km per day at an acceptable pace, usually taking 5-6 hours. This is a tour and the focus is on the fun and the adventure of exploring and riding in new places –and for us it is not a race. However, if you don’t have the skill the tour will not be enjoyable. It is very similar to a Bg&Bush / Sani day.
  7. You should be able to complete the typical Sunday 3hr-ride with the Club with relative ease and add another two hours to the ride.

POSSIBILITY OF 2 TOURS: DRAKENSBERG TRAIL & DRAKENSBERG EXTREME.

  1. The Club is aware that we have 2 distinctly different kinds of Mountain Bike Members and there is a need to accommodate both on a Tour.
  2. The first group are riders who enjoy distances from 30 to 50 kilometres. They explore less technical terrains, enjoy riding 3 – 4 hours at a reasonable pace. We will call this group the A Team
  3. The second a group of riders normally do the Sunday club ride. They ride 50 – 70 kilometres, enjoy riding 4-6 hours, sometimes at a more challenging pace. They like taking on more technical single track and riskier terrain. We call this group the B Team.
  4. Experience has taught us that a successful and enjoyable club tours need to be limited to a maximum of 16 riders with similar abilities.
  5. We already had great interest in this Tour and it looks certain that we will exceed the maximum number of 16.
  6. If we have enough interest, the Tour Committee proposes that we arrange 2 separate club tours: The Drankensberg Trailfor Team A and The Drakensberg Extreme for Team B as follows:
    1. Drakensberg Trail (Team A): Proposed dates 15 – 18 October 2020 (unconfirmed dependant on interest)
    2. Drakensberg Extreme (Team B): Dates 24 – 27 September 2020 (confirmed)
  7. If you want to join the tour on 24 – 27 September 2020 with Team B, it is on condition that you join a Sunday Club100 MTB ride for a least 2 occasions before 24 September 2020. The reason for this is to manage your expectation and ensure the enjoyment of the Tour by the whole group. Historically we have found that a group that do not ride together at a similar pace and distance makes for an unpleasant and unsuccessful tour.
  8. When you make your reservation and payment, you must indicate of you want to join Team A or B

Riding time will be close to 5 to 6hrs a day and all rides will start and finish at Mountain Splendour, except for Day 3 where we will use our vehicles to get to the privately owned farms on the Tugela. All the tour guides live in this area and know the trails very well.  

TOUR DETAILS: 

  1. Cost of the Tour: R5.500 per rider *accommodation included.

Photos included of the glamping tents accommodation below.

Please also visit their website www.mountainsplendour.co.za/glamping for more photos and information about the glamping option and the resort in general.

All the tents will be set up together on adjoining sites so that the group is together. All tents will have beds made-up with linen, duvets and electric blankets, plus bedside tables, lights and chairs will be provided.

They will setup an army tent for the dining area. You will only need to bring your own clothes, toiletries and personal items.

  1. Daily rides descriptions.

Day 1: Wonder Valley (4 to 5 hours riding)

This route hits single track soon and enters some timber plantations with a mix of single track and plantation dirt roads. A good climb up a gravel road to a ridge that offers spectacular views of the mountains and surrounding areas.

Follow the ridge line along an old wagon trail which is now mostly cattle tracks. Descend into Wonder Valley to a beautiful mountain stream, stop for a snack and possibly a dip in the fresh mountain water, then head back out the valley. This is the 2nd big climb of the day. Once out of Wonder Valley, follow undulating dual tracks towards Cathkin Estates. Look out for Eland, Zebra, Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest. More single track and gravel roads take you back to Mountain Splendour. A tough but rewarding ride. Bring your cameras/phones to capture the spectacular mountain views.

Day 2: Bell Park Dam (4 to 5 hours).

The day starts with relatively easy riding along single track and road, but then a steep, shortish climb awaits to Barry’s Grave. Dual track gently climbs to an exhilarating descent all the way to Bell Park Dam. The top section of the descent is a bit rocky and bumpy, while the lower section is along smoother footpaths. Riders will meet at the bottom of the descent near Bell Park Dam for snacks. Thereafter, some easy riding along a small tar road (but lots of potholes!) takes riders towards Arthur’s Seat, with a few more hills thrown in. After the road, some fantastic single-track riding awaits. Not groomed but raw, fun-riding single-track.  After a short and challenging descent, riders will meet the back-up vehicle again for another snack. Then 1 more big climb out the valley, a shorter single track descent and back towards Mountain Splendour. Potentially the toughest day out but again, awesome riding with spectacular views.

Day 3: Privately owned Farms on the Tugela (4 to 5 hours).

In our vehicles and a drive to 2 big farms on the Tugela with great MTB riding routes. Specially arranged by Iain Don-Wauchope and sure to be a surprise and highlight!

Day 4: Cathkin Trails  (3 hours)

The final day will be along established mountain bike trails, called Cathkin Trails. The route will be easier with less big climbs and smoother trails than the previous days, but you will still have some climbing to do… It is not flat! Much of the route goes through privately managed plantations and farms. A coffee stop can be arranged at a local coffee shop towards the end of the ride, if required. Option to add-on loops if riders want more time riding. Get back to Mountain Splendour for an early lunch, shower and hopefully start driving back home by midday.

  1. Tour Date: 24-27 September 2020

We will use our own transport to arrive at Mountain Splendour Eco-Resort on 23 September 2020.

We will try and secure the club kombi and trailer and as far as possible share rides between participants.

 BOOKING PROCEDURE:

  1. Confirm your booking by e-mail to jpdutoit62@gmail.com , confirm choice of tour : Drakensberg Trail (Team A) or Drakensbrug Extreme (Team B) and pay R5 500 into the following bank account to secure your place:

Current Account Name:             JP du Toit

Bank:                                       Nedbank Limited

Account Number:                     12860 94348

Universal Branch Code:             198 765

Reference:                                Name/MTB Tour

 

  1. First come first served, a waiting list will be created once 16 riders have been reached.
  2. Send your confirmation to Charmaine at Club 100 with the details (as back up) - Charmaine@club100.co.za
  3. If you require further information, please contact the tour coordinator, Johann du Toit on 083 633 9019 or jpdutoit62@gmail.com.

*In the unlikely event that this Club Tour cannot happen in September 2020 due to the COVID19 restrictions, you will be afforded the choice of a full refund or carry forward to another future date.

Our Club tours have become legendary over the years and real cycling friendships have been built up during this time. If you have not attended one of the tours NOW is the time to cross over! You will never regret the move.Tour de Drankensberg