Day 8 – May 1, 2015 – The day we have been waiting for.
Start: MacKenzie Club (lxopo)
Finish: Jolivet (Highflats)
Official distance: 99 k
Descent: 2163 m
Ascent: 1705 m
Terrain: Single track descent, River valley, long climb out
Kits: Osmo and Vanderkitten
Not knowing until after that we rode through the home territories of not 1 but 2 Black Mambas…
Actual highlight – the descent into the Umkomaas River Valley and the beautiful ride through the valley.
I was nearly giddy with anticipation for this day despite my knees being a little PO’d at me. The buzz around the campsite was that Day 8 is the day of all days. And oh what a day!
For once I was thankful to be following a slow descender on single track. I had no option but to sit back and take in the view. It was a stunning drop into the Umkomaas River Valley. Wow. Check out the JoBerg2C footage and photo reels posted at the bottom of this post for photos. We didn’t stop to take any – mainly because there was nowhere to pull off the trail. The trip down to the valley was over 20k of switchback single track heaven. This was followed by a nice mellow trail along the river with another floating bridge to cross. You certainly do feel as if you are in a very remote area here. There are only a few structures and you see some school aged children but you do feel that you are in a special part of the world.
Unfortunately the statement “What goes up, must come down” works in the reverse as well on the JoBerg2C race course. What goes down must go back up. It is one heck of a climb out of the valley floor but nothing insurmountable for sure. The day flattened out a bit toward the end and they threw in a few more single track sections to remind you of the fun you had earlier in the day. The day’s ride concluded in Jolivet and I think everyone in the town was out to cheer us on and watch us pedal our way to the finish line.
I hear there was quite a heartfelt celebration session at the Race meeting on Day 8. Wish I had been there but I was with the amazing Yolandé making Day 9 a possibility. If you are based in SA and find yourself in need of a Physio look up Yolandé Zietsman Cook. Her practice’s facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008244122309 she works wonders. I seriously would not have made it through the race without her care.
Campsite bonus: Our tents were nestled in between rows of macadamia nut trees. It didn’t have the beautiful views of some of the other campsites but it made for a sweet and cozy tent village. The facilities were totally dialed in as well.
This is more like what I expected. Really nice riding. Beautiful views. Long fast smoothish roads interspersed with nice single track. All contact points are blistered or rubbed raw but it’s all manageable and we are riding well. Up 4 spots for our best finish to date.
Charlie’s Day 8 lesson
For multi-day events, comfort is king. My stock saddle fits me really well, everything was professionally fitted, I have good quality shorts and I’ve never had a problem before but I had to move the seat back ~1cm on day 4 just to find some actual flesh to sit on. Buy the best shorts of different brands/types that you can find. Consider taking a second saddle. See Day 3 lesson. Visit the race doc immediately if you start to chafe anywhere. They are experts and can really help. I wish that we had gotten a few massages during the trip as I was too tired & sore most days to keep up with my stretching regime. I should have brought the noise canceling headphones to drown out camp noise.