Ride Report: 2019 Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge

The Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge and Trail Run, sponsored by Superspar Boland, present one of the few opportunities to access the exclusive network of trails in Piket-Bo-Berg. This year was the tenth edition of the event which gives mountain bikers the option of a 12km, 18km, 37km or 63km route.

 

A journey of around two hours from the Southern parts of Cape Town, Piket-Bo-Berg is tucked away atop the mountain just off the N7 above Piketberg. The valley is home to several farms and an array of some of the most rewarding and scenic trails in the Cape.

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Although I’d entered the 63 km route, after a near-miss of the start due an alarm clock fail and too little saddle time of late, I made the call to take it easier on the 37 km route with 700 metres of elevation.

 

The start is self-seeded, based on an honesty system, with both the 63 km and 37 km routes starting together at 8 AM. After a rush to the start, I slotted in somewhere in between “Weekend Warriors” (aka C batch) and “I'm here just to enjoy the ride & experience some of the best single track in the country” (aka D Batch). The amusing names embody the fun, friendly, 'don't take it too seriously' nature of the event.

 

The combined start is intentional so that the “racing snakes” from both routes can avoid congestion. After a few gentle kilometres winding through the farm roads, we hit the first climb and single track of the day. Being mid-pack there was a bit of congestion heading into the narrow trail, but soon we were winding our way up into the mountain.

 

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The first 25-30 km of the route traverses the western side of the valley over a mix of smooth, flowy trails, tight technical turns and rocky sections. The trails wind up, down and around just about every inch of the mountain treating riders to some spectacular views along the way. The occasional farm road or dual-track provided some reprieve from the often demanding trails with a chance to sneak a drink or overtake slower riders.

 

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The trail runners enjoyed an 18 km and 8 km route on these spectacular trails.

 

After what feels like mostly climbing, the route descends back towards the Moutons Valley Farm to close off the first loop. The descents require your full attention to navigate through the rocky alleys and fynbos lined switchbacks. Although there are no scary or overly technical sections if your concentration slips and your flow is interrupted you risk an awkward stumble into the rocks or woody fynbos.

 

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The remainder of the 37 km route featured a few short kicks but flowed pleasantly back towards the finish. At the split point where the 63km riders would head out for their second loop and some 900 metres of extra climbing, I funnelled through the ‘chute of shame’ to record my route change and happily cruised into the finish where a cold beverage and burger awaited.

 

 

Along with the rewards of the Piket-Bo-Berg trails, there were some phenomenal lucky draw prizes up for grabs including weekends away in Piketberg and surrounds, dinners, wine, gear hampers and more. Don't make the same mistake I did in heading back to town too early and missing out on these!

 

It's all about the community


The events helps to support the Piket-Bo-Berg Residents association, a Non-Profit Organisation founded by the local farming community residing on the Piketberg Mountain.

 

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As part of a twelve month 'Learn to earn' programme, twenty children from the local Staweklip Primary School received Qhubeka bikes thanks to the event's title sponsor, Superspar Boland.

 




4 Comments

hansolo, Sep 13 2019 09:03

Really nice event and I had to dig deep on that 63 km in the heat. Made it into the photos of this write up, way in the background on photo 2...

Admin, Sep 13 2019 09:20

Really nice event and I had to dig deep on that 63 km in the heat. Made it into the photos of this write up, way in the background on photo 2...

Good job on the 63km, especially in that heat. Having done The U a few times I knew what lay ahead in climbing on that second loop and took the soft exit on the 37km. 



 

hansolo, Sep 13 2019 09:47

I've done the 37 km event two times before and it was time to step up the game.

 

Good job on the 63km, especially in that heat. Having done The U a few times I knew what lay ahead in climbing on that second loop and took the soft exit on the 37km. 



 

Larry Montana, Sep 13 2019 03:09

I went to dark places on the 63km...