They call it a rest day, but with six days in the legs there’s no real resting at the joBerg2c. – By David Moseley
That being said, day 7 of this event is quite sublime. In the context of the overall 900km ride, the 82km spin from Glencairn Farm in Himeville to Mackenzie Club in Ixopo is an absolute doddle.
Day 7 is as close to a pleasure cruise as you could find at a mountain bike stage race, but there are still a few bumps to negotiate; one in particular, about 1km from the finish line, is thoroughly mean-spirited. In fact, if memory serves me correct, almost every finish so far has been uphill. They sell this jol as a tour, which it is, a great scenery-chewing tour of the country, but it’s also a great physical challenge.
The start today was perfect yet again. The weather has been ideal for riding all week. We left Glencairn with a slight chill in the air and the might of the Drakensberg staring us down. For the first few kilometres it was district road, but the single track was soon upon this. This is Sani2c country, and the joBerg2c trails today, tomorrow and on Saturday are practically identical to the older, shorter cousin.
I can’t quite remember how many sections of single track we hit today, but there was more than enough to wipe out the memory of yesterday’s long day in the saddle and to take the edge of the few wee mole hills today. The single track also makes the day tougher than you anticipate, because if you like bombing down you end up smashing your legs to pieces to go faster and faster. But that’s what single track is for.
My day was like a 2004 Facebook relationship status – it’s complicated. I started off badly, had a decent middle innings, and ended badly. If you were to describe my week on the bike so far, it would be like a Gary Kirsten century – necessary, well-played, gritty, but not pretty. You’d nod your head in appreciation at the effort, but wouldn’t rush to watch the highlights.
There were a few bumpy climbs that got the better of me today, but thankfully I had the Devlan Limousins Phil and Des to keep me company. Both of them are single track fiends, so it was great fun chasing them downhill.
Phil – aka the Dresden Bomber, for he lays waste to all trail before him – was in excellent fettle on the technical stuff today, and at some stages I’m sure I saw trees dive for cover as he blasted his way through the thick forests.
Eventually it was all too much for Phil’s bike though, and once again his determined pedalling was too much for his delicate machinery. With 6km to go, much like yesterday, we stopped for Phil’s mechanical – this time an exhausted chain that just couldn’t handle the big watts.
A quick fix, and we were home. Now it’s two days to go, with the big drop in the Umkomaas Valley and the climb out coming tomorrow.