After eating my body-weight in Easter eggs and only two short rides I’m happy to report I’m nicely recovered from that other rather large multi-stage mountain bike race near Cape Town. And I’m already itching for the next adventure. Thankfully, it’s just around the corner… It starts this Friday, to be exact.
The Old Mutual Joberg2c is similar to the Epic. It’s also a multi-stage endurance mountain bike race. It too requires supreme negotiation skills to get out of the house for nine days. You’ll also have to foster a relationship of understanding with your bank manager. And it’s best to have a job where you’re not really doing anything, so the office is not likely to miss you.
But that’s where comparisons end. The Joberg2c has soul. By the bucketload. It’s more like nine days of riding your favourite trails with your mates. Even if you don’t know anyone else at the start. Race organisers Farmer Glen, Gary Green and Wappo are hell bent on showing you the most sublime trails possible as the route winds its way off the escarpment and down to the seaside. It’s tough, sure. But these lads want you to finish the race with a smile on your face. And there’s enough singletrack to coax a smile out of anyone.
The boys’ energy is contagious, and it’s no surprise they manage to rope in the local communities for support along the way. There is, however, a downside to having every farmer and his wife looking after you from Joburg to Scottburgh – you’re quite likely to pick up weight.
I’ve been casting my eyes over my correspondence from last year’s event. And I’m getting bloody excited! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Epic, but what that race just took out of me, the Joberg2c is going to put back!
My partner will be Andrew Hall again. Last year I couldn’t get Andrew away from the Freestate farmers’ water tables as the wors rolls and egg-inside-boiled-potato treats were too much to pass up. We went in for seconds… and even thirds. Hell, on one of the days he stopped for coffee and vetkoek at a waterpoint. Half an hour later I found him lying in a deck chair chatting to his wife on the phone. Such is the power of the Joberg2c: even 70km into a stage it can be such a pleasurable experience you forget you’re riding a bike race.
This time will be a little different, I fear. Andrew is a shadow of the partner I had last year. His svelte 75kg racing frame just powered him through the snottiest weather the South African Ironman Champs in PE has ever seen. He has definitely upped the ante.
It’s too late for me to get any more training in, so I’ve asked for an extra week’s leave to taper as hard as I possibly can. When I hit that start line at Karan Beef (near Heidelberg), I will be so well tapered Andrew’s going to need a litre of coffee, a bullwhip and jumper leads to get my heart rate going…
Just three more sleeps. Man, this is going to be another ripper!