The last couple of weeks have been busy but fun for me.
Since the 3 Towers mountain bike stage race I’ve been filling the days by either racing or travelling. From Mpumalanga I headed south toward the Ostrich Capital of Oudtshoorn for my second stage race in October.
The Cape Pioneer Trek is a week-long mountain bike stage race held in the beautiful Klein Karoo.
The event attained UCI status this year which always attracts more international riders eager to gain some valuable UCI points and bolster their rankings.
During the seven day journey riders traverse two mountain ranges (The Outeniqua-and-Swartberg Mountains), cross the semi-desert Karoo and cycle through the coastal forests of the Garden Route to complete a total distance of 574km and 11 958m of climbing.
I teamed up with good friend Aurelie Halbwachs for the fifth edition of the event and this would be the sixth time we would race together as a team.
The Cape Pioneer started with a lung busting 15km prologue on the remarkable trails of Cango MTB Park just outside of Oudsthoorn. These trails were built by professional rider Matthys Beukes who sculpted a flowing course which made for exciting racing.
On day two the Trek officially started as we headed westwards from Oudtshoorn to finish a 100km later at South Africa’s Port Capital of Calitzdorp.
The next day’s 86km route took us to our new camping ground in the charming little town of Prince Albert.
Day four was a sightseeing highlight as riders got to cycle through the magical Meiringspoort before finishing in the little town of De Rust.
Day five was by far the most demanding stage of the race as riders set out to conquer the feared “Kammanassie Kanon”.
Compared to all the miles already banked, the last stage was a relatively short 86km spin mainly on district roads and some of the trails at Chandelier Game and Ostrich farm to finish back where it all started at the town hall in Oudtshoorn.
Finally Aurélie and I placed fifth overall in die ladies category.
The Cape Pioneer Trek is definitely my favourite weeklong stage race in South Africa. The Klein Karoo has warm hearted, sincere people, spectacular scenery and genuine hospitality which are all steadily revealed during the event.