Lesotho Sky MTB Recce – Day 2

Day 2 dawned with some small amount of collateral damage from the session at Scoopie’s Shebeen, but we soon had the bikes loaded and ready for the trip to Malealea, arguably one of Lesotho’s best-known lodges. A detour via Morija – with a quick stop at Lindy’s for a pap-and-meat take-away – juddered us onto ‘Gates of Paradise Pass’, with 360 degree views across the valleys and ridges beyond.

Darol decided our ride would take us back up to ‘Gates of Paradise’, from where we would scout a new route circumscribing the mountain in an anti-clockwise direction. Good move, although we got way-laid in a village by some pretty strong umqomboti rather early on the mission. (We decided the batteries lying around were not here for acid harvesting, but hopefully to power the sattelite dish on top of the one hut).

A few sunset hoicks on the SLIDER 275 took us well into the dark zone, but fortunately we made it back onto the main track to Malealea Lodge before the light shut down completely. A fantastic spread and a few ice cold Maluti’s hit the spot before we in turn hit the bed, but not for long.

Before dawn we were up and off into the ridges on foot, negotiating huge boulders along the ravine bed towards the waterfall. A fantastic duck and dive trail run got us to the falls for some quick pix, before we slogged back onto the plateau about 3.5hrs later. Stunning spot!

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Lesotho Sky MTB Challenge Recce – Day 1

Lesotho has been on my travel radar, but not so you’d notice … Little land-locked country nestling somewhere against KZN and the Free State, with loads of mountains, dodgy roads and not much else to write home about. Right? How wrong can one be …

The Mountain Kingdom is everything you can want in an African travel destination, with a dizzying selection of action options vying for the attention of Outsiders from around the globe. It’s not even that far away – Maseru is less than 2hrs from Bloem along a peach of a highway – so no more excuses. And the one thing you cannot afford to leave behind when you cross the border to visit your Basotho brethren? Your mountain bike, buddy, because you’re gonna ride till you get used to the thin air up there.

My first day with the Lesotho Sky MTB Challenge crew (Christian Schmidt and Darol Howes) was relatively laid-back, with us exploring the time trail route within the immediate vicinity of Maseru for this kick-ass Stage Race … 3hrs of cattle-track tripping, donga dashing and pavement cruising eventually got us to Scoopie’s Shebeen, where I was initiated into the pleasures of Africa’s leading brew, Maluti, in quarts, of course.

Any Maseru sojourn is seriously incomplete without a visit to either the Oo-Lah-Lah Coffee Shop or Tumisang Taabe‘s Bike Shop, both institutions in their own right. Best of all, this was just the start of my journey into Africa’s ‘Little Tibet’ …

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SA Duathlon – Race #2

Champagne morning … that is all one can say of Lourensford this AM. The 2nd race in the MOMENTUM HEALTH SA National Off-Road Duathlon Series kicked off in perfect weather at what surely rates as one of the Western Cape’s premier wine estates. A strong field of athletes, massive family participation and fantastic vibe made it a memorable day in the great outdoors.

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Zini Estate Buffalo Classic – MiWay Big 5 MTB Series

Whooba! How cool to be back in ‘The Kingdom’, and to experience a completely new mountain biking route and race! MiWay’s phenomenal series of races have taken the mountain biking community by storm, and it is easy to see why from today’s course … sugar cane singletrack, blue-gum downhill blasts and an ethereal boardwalk winding through raphia palms and mangrove forest. Fantastic cranking? You bet … and I for one will be back to ride in Mtunzini :-)

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