It appears as though this has become the norm for the Cape Pioneer Trek this year. Thankfully by the time we started at 8am it had all but stopped – in fact, I’d say it even warmed up a little. The later start was attributed to the peak-hour traffic in George (it is quite a big town these days) and the morning’s 7km neutral zone took us to the base of Montagu Pass. The views were magnificent at the summit.
After cresting the pass we turned right into Herold Wines for a section of single and jeep track where one or two rocky and technical sections caused a bit of anxiety among the riders in our group but was nothing too hectic. After water point 1 we went into Paardepoort – a fairly short poort that traverses a gap in the mountains just north of Heroldt forming an extension to the historicial Montagu Pass to Oudtshoorn.
Here we really noticed the change of scenery that morphed from lush forest to the Karoo vegetation. We rode on an exquisite riverside single track with lots of rocks. The dreaded headwind made an appearance again and was particularly gusty as we routed along a railway line. The old wagon trail climb was pretty special – riddled with exposed rock, loose shale and animal holes, it made choosing the perfect line a rather important task.
Entering Chandelier meant the finish was close but there’s always a sting in the tail. In our case the three rolling climbs clearly evident in the route profile. The super-long, fast and rocky descent took us into the remaining 15km which were essentially parts of the Attakwas route but in reverse. It was another good day out – tough, long and challenging. Just the way we like it.