Desert Knights MTB Challenge 2016 Day 6 : Over Helskloof to the Finish

Somehow, the last day always seems to sneak up on you, and#DesertKNights is certainly no different. Five days into your desert journey and your mind, body and soul belongs to the RIchetrsveld, and the last thing you want to do is leave …

But Helskloof Pass and the final grit-chute of a gravel pass onto the Sendelingsdrift plains await. A dawn crank-off sees the riders dust-trail into the rugged terrain awaiting them to the west of Hakkiesdoorn, with a hard-arse ascent up a pass that does not know when to bloody quit.

Gravity may be a bitch, but there’s always pay-back beyond the summit, and on this final day it comes in the form of a side-windering desert adder of a road plunging precariously onto the alluvial plains supplicating towards the Orange River.

It’s a treacherous descent and every year it claims a casualty or two; fortunately the endo this year only resulted in a gashed eyebrow and some severly swollen facial contusions. Without a helmet, the injuries would have been way more serious.

The route traces the flatlands along some switchbacking single-track before finally dog-legging into Sendelingsdrift. Here you cross for a last time under the #DesertKnights arch, knowing that – bar the beers and jubilation of the final Big Skop – your desert journey for this year has come to an end.

Peter Kirk and I went to shoot some final time-lapses of the sun setting across a giant basterkokerboom. We sipped on some cold Windhoek Draughts while the stars sneaked their way into the velveteen heavens draped high above the minimalist plains. And it was good.

Click here to view the pics