Jul 31, 2010

A day in the mountains

To take advantage of perfect winter weather and to take a break from the constant programming and frustrations that go with it decided to have another wild ride in Jonkershoek. This time however i've done the whole route beforehand and knew what should be rideable and therefore what we're going to attempt.

Roping in my partner in crime wasn't too difficult, thanks Harry, and we set off early Sunday morning in quite chilly weather. Overview of the route, start by riding up to Bergriviersnek, over Dwarsberg and then onto Swartboskloof route and down it. In total close to 18km of very tough riding/walking over some very scenic mountain terrain.

The first section went a lot quicker than the previous times, made it to top of Dwarsberg in about 3.5 hours. Had a quick detour to have a look at the path to Victoria peak, will definitely come back to do the first part of it. Some very technical and exposed riding later descended to top of Kurktrekkersnek and made way up to Sterrekykerskop. Surprised some hikers, most of which just stared in disbelief. Reckon i would have done the same thing a few years ago, it just doesn't seem possible/sane to take a bike that far into the mountains.
Although i can imagine that Cape Nature would be ecstatic to find us with bikes on the route i seriously doubt there will ever be a problem with mountain bikers causing erosion up there. Not enough crazy people to do it.

Once we hit the section next to the Triplets the trail smoothens out becoming probably the best section of riding in Jonkershoek (or above it), still a lot of technical sections but very rideable and with spectacular views of surrounding mountains and areas. Saw a Mountain Adder on the trail, very beautiful but gave it a wide berth after some photos.

When we arrived at the top of Swartboskloof decided to ride down as far as possibly before taking break. Our first mistake of the day came when we started discussing the ride as an adventure and and before it was over. Harry said, "One of us should just break something then it's an epic ride..", well 5 minutes later i rode over some rocks, which when compared to the rest of the route really wasn't even worth looking at. Maybe i should have been more focused on the trail than the views but never even felt the rock that hit my big blade, broke tooth and ricocheted off into my rear derailleur snapping the hanger. Well no worries i told Harry, will just make it a single speed and then ride down. Take out the multi tool. Ok look in the other pockets, open zip shake out bag...remembered that i took it out to put camera in. Luckily had some tape, taped up the jockey and proceeded to nature-fix the chain so that it doesn't flick into spokes. Good thing it happened right at the end, would have really sucked if it broke on the singletrack earlier. Still made for some very tough and interesting downhilling on last part of Swartboskloof trail (first half down is not very rideable).

Eventually made it all the way down to the circle route, that's when Harry realised he now needs to push me all the way home. With Lady Luck smiling on us just after the first small rise ran into some friends one of then busy fixing his chain. Great, converted the bike into single speed, took random guess took out couple of links and ended up with a 30*16 which actually worked really nicely.


  1. absolutely jealous of your riding! We only had district farm roads. Please note: Riding not breakdowns ;-))

  2. Great to know that you will be riding a single speed on the 2011 freedom challenge