May 21, 2010

Landroskop hike a bike (misadventure)

So the official rematch was on. Woke up got ready and hit the road to Jonkershoek, getting used to the extra weight of the backpack but still interesting cycling with an extra 8-10 kg on your back and bike, especially the first hill of the day. I knew it would be a tough day, though it would be similar to the Boegoeskloof hike a bike, wow was i ever wrong. Lesson one, don't ever trust second hand information about a route you intend to hike a bike it. But i'm getting ahead of myself.

After our previous epic over the mountains excursion i heard from a friend that there is a much "easier route" over the mountain instead of taking the route through Boegoeskloof. Obviously i was interested and tried to find out exactly the scope of the route, how long?, rocky?, and most importantly is it rideable?
After being assured that the route would be a lot easier than the kloof i was quite exited to try out this new route. Would it open up a new dimension of mountain biking in Stellenbosch area? Hopefully no one of Cape Nature will ever read this blog.

After 'scouting' most of the route on Google earth and knowing where to go i decided to go up Kurktrekkersnek with my bike. Firstly it would save me at least an hour instead of going over Dwarsberg plateau, secondly i reckoned it would be good practice for Die Leer out of Gamkaskloof during the Freedom Challenge. For those that haven't done it, Kurktrekkersnek is quite a tough climb even just hiking up, gaining close to 500m in altitude in a bit over a kilometer, which amounts to some very steep hiking.
After a gruelling hour and a half of walking i finally made it to the top, i though the climb was really worth the view (this became my motto for the next 5 hours).

From here i started on the Swartboskloof hiking trail, as soon as i hit the top of the climb i was treated to some amazing riding. Wow, this was what it was all about, why did we bother with the kloof, i have to phone harry, we're doing this again on Saturday, whoop whoop! etc was flashing through my mind for the next 15 minutes as i rode some amazing singletrack with a view, that is with a VIEW!

Reaching the Landroskop turn off the trail became very much hike and very little bike. However i was not worried, i mean it looked as if the trail would just rise over the ridge and then the rest of it should be as rideable as the previous section (still relying on my second hand information of the trail). Little did i know. When the trail eventually finished close to the top of the mountain i was ready to jump on my bike again to ride some singletrack.
A few thoughts:
  • If you can't really see most of a track on Google Earth there might actually be a good reason for that(i.e overgrown/non-rideable etc)
  • Never ever ever ever go on second hand information(unless you don't mind getting in over your head)
  • Cycling shoes are only comfy hiking with for the first three hours.
  • There's more than one way to carry your bike.
Walking for the next four hours i think i got close to discovering most of the ways to carry your bike, high up, resting on one shoulder, resting on both shoulders, with one hand, two hands, hands free, reminds me of Bubba...

Without going into the details, i got frustrated walking everything and tried riding the unrideable with some interesting results. When i eventually saw Landroskop hut i think it topped all the previous views, salvation!
The last kilometer to the hut was the most fun, being mostly rideable and extremely rocky and technical, i was loving it. A stray though crept into my mind as i was flashing down the trail, this almost makes up for the hike..WHAT? Must have lost my mind hiking the route. When i got to the hut i realised i would have to get a move on since the 'race briefing' of the Freedom Challenge was in three hours in Cape Town. So i left the Nuweberg trail to explore on another day.

The next 50km's flew by riding through the pine forests next to Grabouw making my way to the top of Sir Lowry's pass. Realising i would not make it back in time i tried phoning Harry, and as days like these work my battery died right after he picked up. So much for that plan (this is starting to read like a Clive Cussler novel too much action for one book). Well after being out for close to 10hours i started bonking (hitting the wall), not so much fun. Plan B, head to a friends house in Somerset West and then phone Harry.

Luckily all worked out to plan, and after a stop at a supermarket i was restocked, my bag weighing closer to 12kg's now. Some of the best food i've had in a long time, can't really remember exactly what i had but it was goooood. Perfect timing and Harry picked me up just outside Somerset West.

To end off the story, i made it to the race briefing, only 20mins late, had an absolutely epic training day for the Freedom Challenge and i'm thinking of the Nuweberg trail. Check out the photo's and the map to get an idea of the trail. Landroskop hike a bike


  1. Why is Hammie getting so fat??:-P I'll feed him for you while u on the trip, so that he can become big and STRONG!

  2. WOW, dude. you did all that and then made it to bellville. you did look alittle bit moeg that day.