Trail Daze | On the path to Ho Chi Minh

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Not the one in Vietnam though - the one at Muratie, just outside Stellenbosch.

Driving up towards our first Trail Daze destination for 2016, passing vineyards and keeping an eye on Simonsberg in the distance, with new gear packed and ready for action, we were buzzing and excited to experience the smorgasbord that is Muratie. From panoramic views, to a variety of single track ridden plantations, to warp speed inducing, tight bush tunnels that will make you pedal back up for more... it's all there.

 

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The heat wave we've been experiencing here in SA is by far the worst in recent history, and temperatures have soared to the mid 30's every day in the Stellenbosch area. But the need to ride will always be stronger, so we filled our hydration packs, packed the cooler and headed for the hills.

 

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Two thirds of the motley Trail Daze crew awaiting the French flair.

 

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A short but steep and exposed pedal away from the Muratie tasting room drops you into a lush, fern-lined pine forest with fast single track taking you all the way down into the gully. A welcome escape from the relentless heat.

 

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The trails at Muratie offer amazing diversity - from vineyards into beautiful pine forest, to blue gum plantations, to fantastic wattle forests, and open grassland - a real treat for those of us with short attention spans! Designed by Meurant Botha, the trails are top quality and are perfect for entry-level riding, but also beg to be shredded at speed by more experienced riders. Finish off the day with wine or beers in the garden, watching the sun set over the iconic Table Mountain - there are worse ways to spend your day! Harry Millar

 

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The vineyards are such a great place to ride at this time of the year - colours are perfect and the vines are full of juicy berries. Muratie offers flowy trails and a perfect ratio of climb to downhill time, an ideal spot for a sunset ride with the sun hiding behind Table Mountain. The bush tunnel trail is THE route to discover, giving you the feeling of being super Mario between two continuous and packed walls of trees. The kind of trail your eyes can’t follow so you must rely on the capabilities of your bike… That was so good, we did it twice! Matthieu Hamel

 

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Climbing up and out of the gully via some tight switchbacks on the way towards Gillooly's interchange, with Simonsberg, Stellenbosch mountains and the Muratie/Delheim vineyards as your backdrop - not bad 'ey.

 

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This side of the gully is blue-gum central, with that distinctive smell and sometimes unpredictably slippery leaves covering the trail.

 

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The Muratie trails are something that we've been needing in the Cape for a long time. Fun green and blue rated singletrack that are perfect to introduce beginners to the sport and give intermediate riders the confidence to go faster on trails. The bush tunnel trail has to be one of the funnest pieces of trail anywhere (if it's ridden at pace!). I have no doubt that Meurant and his team have plans to expand the network of trails and to add a few more technical trails in the mix, which will make it one of the premier mountain biking centres in the area. Daniel Dobinson | iRideAfrica

 

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Natives.

 

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The remnants of events that have plagued Western Cape trails during 2015. Lets hope this year brings better luck.

 

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Riding out the last rays of the day, with only one thing left to do...

 

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Happy new year to everybody! May 2016 be full of trails, dust and ice cold beers.

 

This project is made possible by:

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GPS: -33.870591,18.8714526

Permit: R50 for a day of riding - just be out by 7pm

 

All images by Ewald Sadie

www.esphotography.co.za

instagram: @ewaldsadie

 

Riders : Daniel Dobinson | Matthieu Hamel | Harry Millar

 

Stay tuned to Bike Hub for more Trail Daze coming soon...

 

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27 Comments

Comments

Mntboy, Jan 19 2016 12:55

Awesome write up and photos as usual Ewald! Definitely adding in Muratie onto my ride there list for 2016!

droenn, Jan 20 2016 08:38

These trails are great for running actually, perhaps better than for MTB. Still worth a visit though.

Bibi, Jan 20 2016 09:12

I love these inserts !! Keep em coming ;)

rouxtjie, Jan 20 2016 09:12

agree....love your work

Rock Guy, Jan 20 2016 09:14

Looks amazing. Hope this hasn't been destroyed by the fire that raged there the last few days. It looked massive last night. According to AFIS Muratie was pretty much at the center of the fire.

droenn, Jan 20 2016 09:19

I can't actually see the mountain for all the smoke, but the fire was above Ida's Valley last night.

 

I also want to know if its reached around to the Muratie side of the mountain...

Bibi, Jan 20 2016 09:23

this is what could be seen from G-Spot last night 

 

Interesting , seems I can't upload images today ....

 

Hopefully later then 


Attached Images

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droenn, Jan 20 2016 09:30

Couple of random tweets:

 

Embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/ItsReal_ItsAlet/status/689564560416751616

 

Embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/SeamusAllardice/status/689559483341742080

droenn, Jan 20 2016 09:43

Thread here: https://www.bikehub....monsberg-fires/

NicoBoshoff, Jan 20 2016 09:45

Meurant posted 4am this morning that it has reached his trails.  Delheim burning.  So much destruction. 

Strong rumours that it was arson originating from Pniel.

 

Wonder whether the Fairtree Contour race will still continue.

 

Feel for the farmers and land managers and communities that depend on them especially this time of the year.

nonky, Jan 20 2016 09:55

Great write-up, guys.  Sorry to hear about the fires

Rock Guy, Jan 20 2016 10:00

So incredibly sad. My thoughts go out to the land owners and people living in the effected areas.

 

I don't want to believe that something like this could have been arson. The gain for the arsonist could just never even come close to the loss incurred. Then again, I don't want to believe that someone's life can be worth less than a cell phone, yet people get hit with bricks in the face for only the possibility of carrying a phone.

 

I am sad for the state of this country.

Odinson, Jan 20 2016 10:53

Dat YT! Dat Canyon! Dayum!

 

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Great write-up. Some gorgeous shots.

iRide, Jan 20 2016 11:12

Dat YT! Dat Canyon! Dayum!

 

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Great write-up. Some gorgeous shots.

 

Dat Giant! ;)

NicoBoshoff, Jan 20 2016 11:39

Can't find photo now, but Meurant posted picture of bluegum trails razed :(

Odinson, Jan 20 2016 11:43

Dat Giant! ;)

 

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NicoBoshoff, Jan 20 2016 02:24

Local authorities confirmed arson.  They were busy cutting new firebreaks when they saw individual start fire further down in alien vegetation and fynbos.

 

I give up.  How do you negotiate with a force that's only aim is to destroy?

droenn, Jan 20 2016 02:40

Can't find photo now, but Meurant posted picture of bluegum trails razed :(

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:(

droenn, Jan 20 2016 02:46

Also hearing this was arson.

 

The Klapmutskop fire last weekend was kids playing around, which is pretty much arson too...

sawystertrance, Jan 20 2016 03:53

I find this just so upsetting. I see that there is a fire at Glencairn now too...

Just what the he#% is going on?

Mntboy, Jan 20 2016 04:45

Also hearing this was arson.

The Klapmutskop fire last weekend was kids playing around, which is pretty much arson too...

Or a case of negligent parenting, which is worse imho.

Beer4Recovery, Jan 22 2016 11:26

Daaayum! These photos always seem to tell a story in their own way. Always makes me want to go ride!

Awesome review as usual. 

 

Sorry to hear about the fires though...

Nick, Jan 22 2016 09:03

Looks like we're losing this unique trail  :(

 

"amarider Parting shot from me... Ho Chi Minh in flames under the almost full moon.#simonsbergfire #SimonsbergTrails"

 

(Deon), Jan 22 2016 09:12

Words won't do my thought justice. I'll continue to just gaze at the selfish actions people are capable of. 

 

This is really screwed up.

NPJ, Jan 25 2016 08:52

Just opened this article up, scrolling down, getting so stoked off the images, thinking WOW this place is awesome, these images are so rad! Then got to the comments and was like...*sigh*.

 

Great way to remember how awesome it was though!