Once a battle site, then a battle to ride up, the infamous climb of Spioenkop makes a welcome return to the Old Mutual joBerg2c in 2018. With over 250km of single-track only open for the event – and some truly rural riding – the Old Mutual joBerg2c is about Riding the Beloved Country, where the journey is more important than the destination.
The nine-day ride across South Africa, the longest stage race in South Africa, will once again take riders up and over Spioenkop Mountain. Riders entered into the 2018 event can steel themselves for the challenging climb to appear on day four of their journey from Heidelberg in Gauteng to Scottburgh on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast.
After a few years absence from the joBerg2c, the event organisers, inspired by a group of British Army Soldiers who took the detour of their own accord during the 2017 joBerg2c, have decided that this iconic location is a must-ride for all participants.
Spioenkop is, of course, the famous mountain on which one of the fiercest battles was fought during the Anglo-Boer War. Winston Churchill, who was a war correspondent at the time, reported the scenes of the battle:
“There was moreover a steady leakage of unwounded men of all corps. Some of these cursed and swore. Others were utterly exhausted and fell on the hillside in stupor. Others again seemed drunk though they had no liquor. Scores were sleeping heavily.”
Thankfully at joBerg2c there will be liquor present – and the promise of a good night’s sleep – but only after riders have conquered Spioenkop.
“All Old Mutual joBerg2c riders will have to do is ride the up Spioenkop – not too much to ask compared to fighting and dying in the trenches,” says one of the three race organisers, Craig Wapnick.
The Old Mutual joBerg2c is no ride in the park. It is the longest fully serviced stage race in the world – by some distance. It is an incredible way to see the real South Africa if you are fit and willing. Going from city to sea off-road on trails and through more than 100 farms requires the right attitude: ride hard and reward yourself with ice cold beers.
The ride also attracts over 150 foreigner riders (there are 180 foreigners entered so far this year) from all over the globe who love riding their bikes in special places. From Mexico to Australia and in between, the love of mountain biking in places less travelled is universal.
“The Old Mutual joBerg2c is into its ninth year.” says Wapnick, “And if you ask most riders, it just gets better and better.”
There are limited entries available for 2018. Entries close 31 January 2018 or when full. The 2018 Old Mutual joBerg2c takes place from 20th April to 28th April.
For more information and to enter visit: joberg2c.co.za
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_