A group of 19 cyclists arrived at the Swartberg Hotel in the village of Prince Albert on Thursday evening the 19th of November, ready to tackle the Southern Cape Ride.
What lay ahead was an adventure from the Great Karoo to the shores of the Indian Ocean over 3 mountain ranges. Most of them, being sensible types, booked in to the hotel and got acquainted with their fellow riders over a few refreshments before dinner.
Day One started with the ascent of the hors categorie climb, Swartberg Pass, a quick refreshment stop at the top and then down to "Cobus se Gat" for coffee. Refreshment stops were a relaxed social affair. Riders were seen having a little nap while waiting for the back-markers, clearly a bit of partying the night before... The route meandered on through Klein Karoo lucerne and olive farms.
The ride ended with shower facilities and a great lunch in the Klein Karoo town of De Rust.
The evening was spent at African Relish where the group enjoyed a sumptuous meal and an introduction to the local wines.
Day Two was admittedly tough and the weather didn't exactly play along, but the peloton still enjoyed themselves and the cold and harsh conditions. The day "topped up" everyone's war stories for the evening's social.
Day Three ascended the Old Wagon Trail used in the 1700's between the coast and the Karoo interior, it then descended through indigenous rain forest to the lakes and onward to Wilderness Beach. A great route enjoyed by all.
Three days of riding across three mountain ranges from the arid Great Karoo to the forested shores of the Indian Ocean, an adventure few will forget, and a successful launch of MTBAfrica's Southern Cape Ride. We will be working hard on improving the route and experience for future participants.