Altech Autopage Jozi2Kozi

A week has passed since I arrived home from the most memorable bike riding trip from Joburg to Kozi Bay. The 3rd edition of the Altech Autopage Jozi2Kozi was a resounding success. With the emphasis very much being that of a ride as opposed to a race, there wasn’t even a timing system; it changed the feel of the event in a very good way

 

We started off riding through the platteland for the first two days, the first night being hosted by the Standerton boat club. Their home brewed mampoer would rather be forgotten by most. It was dangerous.

 

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Leaving the concrete jungle for a week of riding through some remote areas, a stark contrast.

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Welcomed to the start on Day 1, yes I know it says finish on the banner.

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 After our overnight stop at the Standerton Boat Club(Read Mampoer capital of the world), day 2 starts with a boat ride across the dam. You have to jump off the boat into about 30cm of water on the other side and walk to the shore where your bike awaits. Did I mention it was 4C, never mind the wind chill on the boat and the icy water.

 

With the changing countryside and the mountainous terrain appearing on the horizon, the end of the 3rd day saw us ascend and then ride through Udo’s crater. Quite a remarkable experience and something the photos don’t do much justice. Again a memorable evening was in store for us with the German community in the hamlet of Luneburg hosting us.

 

 

From Luneburg we traversed into the rolling hills of Zululand and were now well and truly into Kwa Zulu Natal. Our first evening here was hosted at a cattle kraal, in what felt like was the middle of nowhere. Our journey through Zululand continued through to Lake Sibaya and then onto Kozi Bay on the coast.

 

 

Once in the Zululand region, along with Altech Autopage CFO Thinus, Hanco and I assisted at the school handovers. Altech donated financial resources to uplift schools, as well as gifts for the children, these will go a long way in uplifting their communities. A handover was also done for the anti-poaching unit at the Zululand Rhino Reserve which we had the privilege of riding through

 

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Before our first school handover Thinus found this dog at a water point, he called me aside and said imagine if Hanco was dog, he would be like that one. Small and red… The Ginger Ninja is a good sport and posed for a photo with his fury friend.

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This ‘castle’ in what was another ‘in the middle of nowhere’ moments greeted us as our first water point on day 2.

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Sunrise over Luneburg.

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Fast 30k on the tar to start day 3, helped get through the day a bit quicker.

 

It was really a remarkable 7 days of riding across an area of the country which for me and many others was largely unexplored. I met some awesome people, people who I am sure I will be friends with for years to come.

 

 

ASS MAGIC was also a sponsor of the event and I think it helped a large number of people through the tough 7 days on their ASSES! The feedback was great and the ‘ASS MAGIC ass of the day’ was a daily fun award given to someone who had made an ASS out of themselves.

 

 

I didn’t want to write too much about Jozi2Kozi but rather reflect onsome photos from the week. In their own way, they tell much more of a story, give you the reader a visual insight to the journey.

 

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The Pongola River, beautiful setting, with Crocs and Hippos below the surface. We had to cross this river.

 

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After we had made it safely across the Ginger Ninja went back to help his wife cross. I on the other hand took photos, awesome team mate.

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Riding selfie through the Zululand Rhino Reserve.

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Whilst waiting for some of our group to catch back up I started chatting to these ladies, they couldn’t believe that we were riding our bikes all the way from Joburg to Kozi Bay and were most excited to take a photo. 

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We stopped at a couple of Spaza shops to buy drinks in the Zululand region.

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The wolfpack.

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Finished in Kozi Bay with some hard earned beers.

MTN Hilton Ultra Marathon

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Start grid.

Image credit: Linda Wolhuter

After a weekend off after the SA champs it was back on the program over the past weekend with the next round of the MTN Hilton National Marathon series taking place literally right on my doorstep.

 

It’s crazy to think that as a junior training in and around Pietermaritzburg and fantasizing about taking part in World Cups and travelling the globe was always a dream, and now it has become somewhat of a reality. Whilst I have been privileged to train and race in both Europe and America I would never have thought that I would race a World Championships that would literally come right through my parents farm, only metres away from the wattle forest where my school riding buddies and I crafted single track.

 

The Hilton marathon would see us ride on sections of the World Champs course allowing us to scout the terrain once again before the final showdown this coming weekend. Whilst we would not be racing through our farm this time we would be racing past our front gate twice.

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Early morning traffic.

Image credit: Zoon Cronje

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Racing through ASS MAGIC country again.

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Enjoying some of Hilton’s finest trails.

Image Credits: Zoon Cronje

I also had my team mate Hanco join down from Joburg and it would be great to race together once again. The front group of 12 riders remained intact for the first 20 or so kilometres before it split going up the first major climb to Otto’s Bluff. Hanco was in the front split whilst I was in the second. After a tough battle over relentless terrain for 5 hours Hanco finished the day in a solid 10th position and myself in 13th. A slightly better result than SA champs for me, although I felt like it was a one speed day, but some positives to draw and improvements made. There are still area’s to improve on for future reference.

 

I was fortunate to have my super back up team once again with my sister joining my Mom, Alison and Rob whilst my Dad tackled the 45km race. This in preparation for another event coming up in the near future in which we will be riding together, more on this soon!

 

With the World Championships only a few days away this is an easier week with just a few short sharp efforts. It will be important to be fresh for another brutal race on a course which I have become somewhat more familiar with. It will also mark the end of my first half of my racing season before I take a break to refresh for a busy second half.

 

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Hanco smashing it.

Image Credit: Zoon CronjeP1050378

The tech zone crew keeping up to date via Tweeta!

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All important stretch before the bottle handover.

Image credits: Rob Gee

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Refuled for the final 27km stretch!

Image credits: Rob Gee

Pop’s logging in a couple of miles.

Image credit: Jess Wolhuter