Day One of the 2016 Potberg & De Hoop MTB stage ride started under dark skies, as a steady drizzle fell on the riders assembled for the start at the Potberg Environmental Education Centre. It had been raining for nearly 48 hours by then, and wouldn’t stop raining until well into the 75km stage, leaving the routes very wet – but it didn’t dampen the rider’s spirits.
As the Potberg & De Hoop MTB is not a timed event the riders were able to ride at a more leisurely pace. Though, with mist and drizzle the order of the day it didn’t quite allow the usually stunning Overberg views to provide riders with reasons to slow down. So, without as much to marvel at, many riders still completed the day relatively fast times.
The route for Day One became increasingly technical as the rain took its toll. Usually easily ridable singletrack climbs became tricky and gravel roads became muddy – sucking riders’ wheels back as they fought to gain momentum. The descent into the Potberg Valley from the saddle of the Potberg Mountain was rendered particularly technical by the persistent rain. The trail on lower sections of the descent in fact had turned into a river providing a much needed rinse for muddy drivetrains.
In the adverse conditions the spirit of adventure prevailed. Rather than be put off by the rain and muddy trails, entrants to the Potberg & De Hoop MTB saw the day as an opportunity to enjoy conditions few riders usually venture out in. The mud might have made the going slower but the offers of boerewors off the skottel and egg rolls made to order certainly warmed the cockles of the riders’ hearts at water point one. As did boerewors straight from the braai and an impromptu wine tasting, of the delicious local Sijnn Wines, at water point two.
Upon crossing the finish line at the De Hoop Collection riders were greeted by an ice cold Mitchell’s beer and a delicious lunch. On Saturday evening, over dinner and a glass or two of Sijnn Wine, riders will have the chance to compete for prizes, like pairs of adidas Eyewear sunglasses, by sharing their Day One photos with Garden Route Events at prize giving.
The 2016 Potberg & De Hoop MTB wraps up on Sunday the 4th of September with a 55km stage. The stage will cross the De Hoop Vei Ramsar wetland before taking riders through the lush wheat and canola fields for which the Overberg is famous.
Fast Facts: Potberg & De Hoop MTB
Event Website: www.gardenrouteevents.co.za
Event Dates: 3 & 4 September 2016
Location: De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Stage 1 Stats: Long 75km | Short 25km
Stage 2 Stats: Long 55km | Short 22km
Facebook: Garden Route Events