Visiting the GVB Conservancy is one of my great pleasures every year. It is a place of undiluted natural grandeur, brimming with ecological treasures ranging from minute restios blooms to gargantuan gorges that conspire to take your breath away.
I mean that both literally and figuratively, as the ascents to the hiking hut and out of Saagkuilskloof are breath-eaters of note. In fact, I can still feel my quads complaining while writing this. But the views … man oh man, do they ever make up for it!
Gorgeous fynbos ridges, rugged Cape Fold peaks, the Overberg farmlands unfolding in the distance, Lord-of-the-Ring forests, and then finally morphing into the arid landscape of the Karoo towards Barrydale to the north.
On Day 2, the route sticks to the Duiwenhoks River valley, with a less spiked altitude profile, traversing some of the most pristine relic forests one can hope to find in all of the Western Province. Giant podocarpus yellow-woods and Cape beech rub shoulders with a stand of Californian redwood, and around any given corner you may bump into a bushbuck, baboon or forest hog.
Although most runners immersed themselves within the essence of the surrounding wilderness, the top dogs went out hard and fast. Roelande Greyling seemed to skip her way through the 52km route (I heard her shout ‘Wow-Wow-Wow!’ coming through the forests), while trail-hubby Christiaan Greyling had to put the pedal down on Day 2 to make up his 2min deficit in order to snatch victory from Piet Calitz.
All in all, this was another superb Spur event, with Ugene Nel, Angela Wilson and the Quantum Adventures crew pulling out all the stops. Kudos to the locals on Honeywood Farm, including John Moodie and all the other Conservancy members, who plied us with Belgian frites, home-made waffles and organic milk.
These are just a few of the images, but all the other photos will be made available to racers on www.quantumadventures.co.z
Click here to view the pics