[SecMTB] Drifter Magoebaskloof MTB Challenge 2003 - Race Report

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Johann S., Nov 7, 2003.

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  1. Johann S.

    Johann S. Guest

    Magoebaskloof is in South-Africa.

    Drifter Magoebaskloof MTB Challenge 2003 - Terry the Spinman

    The Magoebaskloof MTB Challenge has to be one of the most exciting races on the MTB calendar. Call
    me sentimental, but Magoebaskloof was my first ever Mountain Bike race back in 1999 so it holds a
    special place in my heart. My friends Astrid and Fino Rech called one day to say they had entered me
    for this Mountain Bike race, the fact that I didn't even own a mountain bike didn't deter them, they
    had that all organised and I would ride a borrowed bike. In those days we used to start from the
    Hotel and I remember how indignant I felt being referred to as a "Wossie" as I lined up for the 35km
    ride. My first experience of off road riding, as we hit the first forest road with all its
    corrugations, was one I will always remember. "This is horrible" I thought as I was shaken about and
    choked on the dust. I had no idea how to change gears so rode the whole race in the middle cog. I
    fell badly on one downhill skidding a few meters on the slippery surface, got up quickly,
    embarrassed in case anyone witnessed it, ah the road riding mentality of if you fall you're an idiot
    with no riding skills. My friends seeing the tell tail mud smears down my side laughed hysterically,
    "You only fell once" they joked "welcome to Mountain Biking". By the end of that race I was hooked
    and immediately purchased my first MTB on returning to Joberg, the rest is history

    This years event had 800 entrants. Again there were the thrill seeking dirt warriors all set and
    ready for the 75km extreme challenge, and the "Wossies" for the 35km shorter route. I am very
    pleased to hear from Drifter organisers that there will be more emphasis placed on the middle
    distance at races in the series next year to get rid of this Wossie stigma and give the shorter
    distance more credibility. I think this is great for the growth of the sport

    An early 06h30 start saw the 75km riders going out in blazing sunshine and race director, Rudi
    Viljoen, warned of temperatures rising to 40 degrees and no chance of rain. This is the driest I
    have ever seen Magoebas and I knocked a full hour off my time from last year in these fast rolling
    conditions. It also had it's down side though as there was little traction on the extreme downhill's
    on the first part of the course. Lose rock and dirt made riding hair raising descents difficult and
    I was among many who took a tumble on the "Bum Slide" 3km from the start. The rider in front of me
    came down and I followed leaving my bike and rolling about 5mts down the slope. No harm done I took
    the opportunity to take a few photos of other unfortunates negotiating this tricky descent

    The two logs across the river created a bit of a bottle neck but riders were still cheerful and not
    too perturbed by the slow progress. A bit of advice if you ever ride this race, the right hand log
    has a flatter top due to decay and is easier to balance on. A second stop at the embankment leading
    up to the tar road crossing saw the rider behind nearly rear ending me, not realizing we were
    stopping again he slammed on brakes so violently he went straight over his handle bars, getting a
    huge cheer from the crowd

    From the tar road to the tea plantations the route took us high along a ridge on jeep tracks and
    mountain paths. There were spectacular views across the mountains towards Zaneen and some hectic
    climbs and downhill's. I loved the signs that accompanied the directional arrows along the route.
    "NO! This hill never ends!!" "Getting dirty for charity" and "We appreciate your sweat" were but a
    few. Others were informative like "Did you know originally Coke-a-Cola was green in colour" and
    something about men's eyesight and women's hearing, cant remember or choose not to

    The one downhill at this stage I actually had to pitch my bike into the ditch as I went totally out
    of control and it was the only way of stopping and preventing a huge tumble. There was little or no
    traction on the lose dirt and most riders negotiated these sharp declines with extreme caution. Some
    of the top riders also came off worse for wear on these perilous downhill's, Koos Groenewald having
    to have his knee stitched at the finish and Shan Wilson dislocating his shoulder as the result of a
    fall. Both these athletes still managed top positions amazingly. Once into the tea plantations it
    was fast riding on wide dirt roads down into the valley below and the lowest point on the course.
    This is always one of my favorite sections with the tea bushes perfectly manicured resembling bright
    green rugs draped over the landscape cut through by the access dirt roads. From the top you can see
    riders below enjoying the swift descent

    It was back across the tar road and a stunning ride along the edge of the Magoebaskloof dam. Last
    year this was a ride through a muddy swamp but this year riders were able to relax and enjoy the
    reflections of mountain and sky in a totally calm surface. Bark stripping and the odd log and tree
    branch gave riders some interesting obstacles to negotiate on this flat section before starting the
    climb up through the forest. The two river crossings were great fun, slipping and sliding on mossy
    rocks and then up the muddy embankment. It was cool in the forest but the day was rapidly heating
    up. There were a few pushes up steep embankments that were made easier by the dry conditions, I
    remember last year slipping down more than progressing up

    The big climb up Wood Bush Drive is always hard and this year was no exception. Hot and humid
    conditions with not a breeze (unlike last weekend's gale at Rhodes) saw many riders struggle up to
    the highest point on the course. The road winds up through luscious indigenous forests and the bird
    life in this area is awesome. The hill just seems to go on and on and the top eventually cant come
    soon enough. There is a 1km to go sign just when you feel like you cant pedal another centimeter.
    "1km to go signs should be banned" said John Paul Pearton, winner of this years race, "course
    designers just cant measure 1 km correctly" he said, always laughing and joking after a race. I was
    pleased to see the water point was at the top this year, psychologically this worked better for me.
    While on this subject the water points were more than enough and manned by enthusiastic volunteers
    with Coke, water and bananas galore - well done!

    Once at the top it was undulating terrain all the way home but there were still some mean hills to
    climb before the finish back at Stanford Lake College. Spectacular rides through pine forests with
    carpets of ferns and open grasslands with giant tree ferns kept riders enthralled and riders agreed
    this race is one of the most varied when it comes to terrain. There were a few crossings on wooden
    bridges and it was on one of these that a wooden strut broke under my foot and I went crashing
    through the bridge leaving a beautiful bloodied graze up my shin to impress my friends with. The
    rider behind me had to help me out as I was truly stuck, ah the perils of mountain biking

    The atmosphere at the finish was electric as riders relayed experiences of the ride to their fellow
    "mud buddies" and loved ones. The promised beer (yes another of the signs "Cold beer waiting for you
    at the finish") had riders jovial and celebrating their achievement on the ride and the Boks win
    over Samoa at the Rugby World Cup At the beginning of 2003 I set myself the goal of completing 8 of
    the 10 Drifter Classic Races and Magoebaskloof saw that goal accomplished, who would have thought
    that my first mountain bike race, here in the Magoebas mountains, back in 1999 would ignite such a
    passion for the sport Well done to every rider who completed this event you are all Champions!

    Terry the Spinman

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  2. Miles Todd

    Miles Todd Guest

    Johann S. wrote:

    > <snip long and interesting race report>
    >

    That's the kind of racing I like. A fast course that still challenges the top riders as well as the
    beginners. Well done, but what I want to know is where the link to the photos went?

    Miles
     
  3. Johann S.

    Johann S. Guest

    miles todd Said:

    >
    >
    > Johann S. wrote:
    >
    > > <snip long and interesting race report>
    > >
    >
    > That's the kind of racing I like. A fast course that still challenges the top riders as well as
    > the beginners. Well done, but what I want to know is where the link to the photos went?

    Sorry, this is a report a friend sent to me. I didn't write it. I'll see if I can find a
    link for it.

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  4. Johann S.

    Johann S. Guest

    miles todd Said:

    >
    >
    > Johann S. wrote:
    >
    > > <snip long and interesting race report>
    > >
    >
    > That's the kind of racing I like. A fast course that still challenges the top riders as well as
    > the beginners. Well done, but what I want to know is where the link to the photos went?

    Sorry,

    here it is:

    http://www.supercycling.co.za/content_large.asp?cId=8334

    or

    http://tinyurl.com/u5tn

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