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):
POSSIBILITY OF 2 TOURS: DRAKENSBERG TRAIL & DRAKENSBERG EXTREME.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Current Account Name: JP du Toit
Bank: Nedbank Limited
Account Number: 12860 94348
Universal Branch Code: 198 765
Reference: Name/MTB Tour
*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