When you live in Central South Africa and you’re a mountain biker, there’s two things you can always be certain of: good single track is something you only find at the coast and secondly, if you want to ride a proper stage race you will have to travel.
So when I got invited to a new mountain bike event called the Y2Karoo a couple of months ago, you could image my excitement. We were promised brilliant single track and we only had to drive a short distance down the N1 to Colesberg.
Now for most of the Gauteng cyclists, Colesberg is a very small town on the N1, known as a half-way stop on the way to the Western Cape, but on one crisp August weekend this little half-way stop become a mountain biking hot spot.
The main organiser Keith Wilson, Colesberg local and mountain biking enthusiast, got the community together to organise an event that would certainly grow in future.
We arrived at our race village, the Colesberg Primary School, where the school and its pupils greeted us with all the friendliness the Northern Cape is known for. We were then booked into the old hostel, having been renovated as overnight rooms to accommodate those weary Gauteng travellers.
The event comprised of three stages, starting with a short 24km sundowner on the Friday evening. Straight away we got introduced to some a single track hidden behind the town in the Skietberg hills which we would explore the whole weekend.
On Saturday we had a delayed start as the lovely Karoo rain that fell very unexpectedly during the course of the evening washed away a large part of the markers and Keith and his team had to scout sections of the route to make sure it was safe for the riders.
With the 90% of the day consisting out of Jeep and single track, the treat for the day was a section about 24km into the race, called Jurassic Park. It is a hidden piece of single track heaven with some steep rocky climbs complimented with fast flowing single track.
Sunday would be the longest day with 84km taking the riders far into the Karoo with rolling hills consisting of dirt road, Jeep track and again some mouth-watering single track. Just to make sure this stage wouldn’t be too easy Mother Nature threw in a nice 35km/h wind into the mix.
With Meatlands, Toverberg Meat and Klawer Abattoir on board as some of the main sponsors, we got treated to a gob smacking traditional mutton potjie on the first evening and on the second evening , a proper Karoo lamb braai. The guys from the school made sure all the riders where properly accommodated and with the locals all contributing, it turned out to be a memorable experience for everyone.
The guys from Cycle World in Bloemfontein provided some excellent service to the riders while Rosepark Hospital supplied medical support where needed with a full complement of staff and an ambulance.
With everything said and done, we got treated to a fantastically organised and well catered event with some superb tracks that left a smile on every riders face. And yes, we will be back next year.