36ONE Storms River Traverse: The Wrap Up

Going through some great photos taken over the course of the weekend by Oakpics was a cool way in which to reflect on what a great 3 days of riding I had with my Dad at the 36ONE Storms River Traverse. Away from the stresses of racing we could thoroughly enjoy ourselves and tuck into the things I usually wouldn’t.
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Marius from Team Wilde, also one of my Dad’s wine drinking partners.

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Important to always look your best #redlipstick.

 

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Paul Valstar once again kept us entertained.

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Tucking into his fourth koeksister, explains the look of  astonishment of the guy to the right.

Our final day of the Storms River Traverse saw us waking to dreary and rainy conditions. Conditions which had become synonymous with the event in the past, but which we were fortunate to largely avoid this year. The mood was jovial on the start line and the light overnight rain had not put much of a damper on this.

 

 

As we headed off down the Storms River Pass, constructed by the famous Thomas Bain, the ‘race’ was on for the day. It’s interesting to note that the pass was the first that Bain constructed in the series of passes in the Garden Route area and bears many of Bain’s features such as the sweeping bends, high retaining walls and moderate gradient which was ox wagon friendly.

 

 

Back to the mountain biking where more chirping than ‘racing’ was actually done and this helped keep the mood high as the kilometres ticked on by. The forests had been muddied up but fortunately the rain wasn’t so drastic, so as to turn the route into a mud sh!t show.

 

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The views, need I say more?

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Wilde Fruit juices were also good.

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Carel, event organizer extraordinaire and part time photographer.

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 Nookie anyone?

 

My Dad had come to the race fitter than I had expected him to, and as we neared the end of the stage, as we had done on the previous days, a dice amongst our fellow weekend warriors ensued. On completely his own steam, we won the battle against our fellow warrior and crossed the line in a very respectable 8th men’s team on the day and 28th overall.

 

 

It was brilliant to be involved with a Dryland event once again and enjoy their famous hospitality. The 36ONE Storms River Traverse has grown in popularity each year, if you’re new to mountain biking and looking to do your first stage race, then this is it. The stages are not too long, not too technical and it’s a pleasure to have the option to not stay in a tent!  The area also lends itself to some great off the bike activities from the ever popular Segway Rides to the Canopy Tours, and is thus a great reason to being the family along too.

 

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Full time photographer, part time bike rider, safety first.

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Ostrich steak at the water points compliments of Klein Karoo International.

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Darren Lill, AKA Mr Sexy Legs.

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Carel: “Linda do we really have to give out all this champagne?”

Linda:”We could skip out the vets and then take home a couple of bottles each?”

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Mission accomplished!

All images credit: Oakpics

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36ONE Storms River Traverse: Day 2

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                                                                                                                                                                           Image credit: Oakpics

 

Another great day dawned on us here in Storms River this morning as we enjoyed our caffeine fix and breakfasts. We had 40km of action on the dirt ahead of us this morning. Admittedly we may have indulged in a couple of glasses of wine last night, so were not so sprightly early on.

 

 

Less than 10km into the stage I came across the Specialized pairing of Bobby Behan and Giniel De Villiers, both accomplished athletes each in their own rights but maybe not the most accomplished mechanics(they’ll tell you the tyre had a really tight bead 😉 ). The overnight race leaders had unluckily cut their side wall, quite severely, so I stopped to help them out. Eventually with a zip lock bag and gel wrapper, we had a tyre boot in place and with a tube in they could set off on their chase of the pointy end of the race.

 

 

My Dad and I had other plans including enjoying the scenery and water points once again. The natural forest and mountains in the area were breath taking. On the bike riding side I was impressed that he managed to ride up the 1.5km, close on 20% average gradient cement strip climb(read: wall) up from the Storms River mouth. It really was a beast of a climb that forced many off their steads.

 

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                                                                                                                                             Breathtaking views

                                                                                                                                                   Image credit: Oakpics

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                                                                                                                                                                         Just cruising

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After our last refuel and zipping along the deserted golf cart paths of an abandoned golf estate, mid project, we entered the last dash to the line. As we spotted two teams just ahead of us, Pops saw red and the chase was on. With only 1 push from me we outgunned our fellow racers to the line. It was an exciting finish to an action packed day.

 

 

It almost feels like we have just started this fantastic race and tomorrow it’s all over. Nonetheless we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and am sure tomorrow won’t disappoint either.

36ONE Storms River Traverse: Stage 1

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With some Fairview La Capra Merlot in us, my Dad and I were ready for stage one of the 36ONE Storms River Traverse. We lined up a couple of rows further back than what I’m used to and were soon on our way to tackle the 60 odd kilometres that lay ahead of us. Anyone remember Koeksister Strategy from Joberg2c? Well we would be employing that today!

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A few rows further back than usual.

 

The race seems to have hit it spot on with their course, aimed at the ‘entry level’ stage racer, 60km may seem daunting at first, but with changing scenery and fast gravel roads and jeep tracks the k’s ticked off quickly. We were even rewarded with a short single track and some fantastic views at each of the water points. Never mind the views; I was trying to make a grazing choice with so many different options available. The koeksisters were there yes, but so were the date balls and Ostrich steak strips. I decided the best would be to sample it all!

 

After 3 hours of mountain biking awesomeness we summited the last ‘berg’ and made the dash for the line. I’m not sure of the results yet but I think we may be in the top half of the pointy side of the field. This meant we were first in line for massages, beers and lunch! My Dad thoroughly enjoyed his ride and whilst the day still has its challenges it is by no means a stage of grand proportions.

 

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                                                                                                                                  Catching up with Adriaan Louw.

 

 

It’s safe to say that we are having a great time down here in Storms River. A destination I would probably have just driven past. It’s really worth the stop and there seems to be some other cool activities to do in the area from Segway Excursions to Canopy Tours. I on the other hand am eyeing out a coffee shop down the road, where I’ll be sure to get my caffeine fix this afternoon!

 

Till tomorrow then, keeping it rubber side down, ciao!

36ONE Storms River Traverse

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With the second half of the season’s racing upon us, I’m keeping it a little different this weekend.

 

Tomorrow morning I’ll be picking my Dad up from Cape Town International and we’ll be heading East, down the coast to Storms River, for the 36ONE Storms River Traverse.

 

The Storms River Traverse is unlike many of the other mountain bike stage races on the calendar and is more geared towards the up and coming mountain bikers, who may feel they’re not quite ready to take on a daunting 80km plus stage.

 

Festivities get started on Friday morning with a 60km stage followed by two 40km stages. My Dad’s training has been going well, only a ride or two missed due to self-induced hangovers 😉 I’m excited and looking forward to a great weekend without the usually rigours and stress that racing can bring.

 

I’m sure we’ll also be tucking into some delicious meals with the Dryland Crew running the show. Report back from stage one to follow soon!

Die Burger Marathon

After a little over a month’s break from the racing circuit, including a good couple of days off the bike altogether, it was back to business at Die Burger Mountain bike Classic on Saturday.

 

Die Burger is one of the bigger local classic races, at 75km with close to 2000m of ascent it is no easy day out. Add to the mix a strong field lining up wet weather conditions and you have a tough race on the cards.

 

The route has changed somewhat over the years, Die Burger used to be a ‘home’ race for me a few years ago whilst I was studying in Stellenbosch and thus I felt I knew the area quite well. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy more single track than ever before in the race! The well-built and manicured trails on the Simonsberg Conservancy and the Delvera farm were a treat!

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                                                                                                         Image Credit: Hendrik Steytler Photography

 

 

After a rigorous day out, in which I was pleased to get the hard effort into my legs I came away with two lessons. Treat the trail surface with more respect in the wet, especially red clay and wooden bridges, which I had the misfortune of meeting each up close and personal. Secondly, don’t follow a RECM rider down the trail… Just kidding, unfortunately I did puncture following Lourens Luus down one of the single tracks, I only realised it after the race when someone pointed out to me that I had in fact punctured at World Champs also following another RECM rider, Nico Bell.

 

Nonetheless the misfortunes could be rectified quickly and there were some good positives to draw from the day.  I enjoyed being back in the racing and am looking forward to a busy second half of the year!