The X-Berg Challenge is a one of a kind mountain bike endurance race that challenges competitors to cross the inhospitable uKhahlamba-Drakensberg range.
The 7th year of Chasing the Dragon – as organisers describe this mental and physical journey – will see the bravest souls in the sport take on the terrain, their competition and themselves over either two or three days in late March this year.
What makes it unique, is that not only do cyclists test their ability and skills against other mountain bikers, but against trail runners and paragliders as well.
Unlike other stage races, participants choose their own route between official pre-determined checkpoints with the aim of completing the course in the shortest possible time.
The constantly changing dynamics of the mountains keep the race exciting. From weather conditions controlling whether paragliders fly or are forced to continue on foot, to navigational skills determining whether competitors get lost or overtake you, there is never a moment to relax.
This is a mountain bike race for the most adventurous cyclists who love the wild outdoors – perhaps even enough to sleep under the stars in their bid to reach the finish first.
The race takes participants along single-track, cattle and foot paths, dirt road, jeep track and short sections of tar.
From the start at Oliviershoek Pass in the Northern Drakensberg, they wind their way up past Witsieshoek towards the dramatic peaks of the Amphitheatre (widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth) before dropping down into the Mnweni Valley.
From there they meander through the breathtaking scenery of Cathedral Peak and Injisuthi to finish at the Drakensberg Brewery in the Champagne Valley.
The three-day Extreme starts on March 21 and the two-day Mini on March 22.
The longer version covers 140km as the crow flies, but riders can expect to traverse between 310km and 340km depending on their choice of route.
The short course is over 40km as the crow flies, but the choice of route can turn this into a slog of between 105km and 115km.
The event offers a resupply service for those who do not have a dedicated support team as well as the opportunity to enter as an individual or in a team.
The X-Berg Challenge was established in 2013 and has seen many return annually for their “Berg fix”.
This is Africa’s most adventurous cycle challenge and it will take you where only a few mountain bikers have dared to go before.
Watch video below
This article was sponsored by X-Berg Challenge.