Alistair Schorn and his Avis Van Rental teammate encountered mechanical monsters on day six of the Old Mutual joBerg2c. Read this installment of his Confessions of a Weekend Warrior for the full story.
Day six of the Old Mutual joBerg2c, and a brand new route awaited us.
This has traditionally been a tough one, incorporating plenty of climbing through the Drakensberg mountains as well as the highest point of the race.
It’s not clear whether the new stage still has the highest point, but it certainly threw up a variety of challenges.
One of these, Gumtree Climb, was allegedly the steepest on this year’s route and named because of the suspicion that riders might want to sell their bikes on Gumtree afterwards.
The other was the newly created Harrison’s Pass, incorporating more than 32 switchbacks.
Several other sections were almost equally memorable, but, unfortunately for Michelle and I, we weren’t able to enjoy the stage as much as we would have liked as she fell victim to mechanical monsters in her front shock.
This meant that we were considerably hampered in terms of our ability to traverse the technical sections quickly and safely, resulting in the loss of another couple of positions on the general classification in the Lanham-Love Attorneys mixed category.
I guess that just like falls, these are the vagaries of stage racing.
One thing is certain though – my respect for my partner has increased in leaps and bounds.
Having never done a race longer than three days before, Michelle has handled pretty much everything that has come her way – from knee problems to mechanical issues – with the aplomb of a seasoned racer and I would certainly be happy to partner with her again.
Tomorrow marks the start of the final segment of the event – the sani2c stages. The sani2c is one of the most popular races in South Africa and known for its well-groomed single-track, so that is definitely something to look forward to.
Alistair Schorn has been racing bikes since the mid-80s – before most of today’s mountain bike pros were born. He bought his first mountain bike in 1992, but only took up stage racing after coming back from overseas in 2004. In early 2014, he was bitten by the singlespeed bug, which is still firmly entrenched in his system. His favourite places to ride include Mpumalanga and the Berg (definitely not on a singlespeed though!). As an escape from his day job as an economist, Alistair moonlights as a writer for publications such as In the Bunch.