The Berg & Bush will be hosting the premier mountain biking events, the Descent and Great Trek from 07 until 16 October 2016. Mountain bikers say there are eight reasons that mark the Berg & Bush a truly unique MTB experience.
- The view across Great Wall My China: the escarpment separating the Free State from KwaZulu-Natal offers elevated views from the former across the latter. Independent Newspapers group sports editor Tim Whitfield, the journalist who described the Berg & Bush as the country’s premier event, says: “I am not a big one for great views on a ride. I tend to appreciate them and move on, but this is truly spectacular – probably the only view I have come across that is worth stopping for a selfie.”
- Then there is the descent down Solly’s Folly and the Drakensberg Drop that takes riders down into KZN from the Free State: “A great section of riding that every mountain biker needs to do at least once (a year),” says Whitfield, himself an accomplished an experienced mountain biker.
- The Spioenkop Sprint, a one-off race up Spioenkop for anyone who would like to compete for the prize money. After Stage 1 of The Descent the top pros and any other challengers take on the 2km climb as an extra contest – for a hefty prize purse. The other riders and supporters get to watch from alongside the course, giving rise to a vibe a bit like some of the great climbs on the Tour de France.
- The descent on Stage 3. It starts at the top of Spioenkop Mountain – the site of a famous Boer war battle – and ends a breathtaking 13km later. If you don’t have a huge grin on your face after that then you are not a mountain biker. Or you have managed to crash on the way down.
- The singletrack, which race founder and organiser Gary Green, also known as “Farmer Gary”, says has been designed to have flow and be fun without being too technical. Whitfield adds: “It is well prepared but keeps the natural feel, so you have to ride it rather than simply make sure you wheels are pointing in the right direction.”
- The overnight stops. “Slick and well organised but not clinical,” Whitfield says. “They are friendlier than most other races, but not to the point where you are ever worried about what you are eating.” This year a lot of work has gone into the Centriq Chill Zone at the Em’seni race village on the Tugela River bank and it is going to be spectacular.
- The logistics. In the past this might have been a challenge, but this year they have been made as easy as, well, booking a flight, a tent at the start and a shuttle. There is going to be a shuttle from OR Tambo airport to the start and then another one from the finish back to the airport. The overnight stops on Day 1 and Day 2 are both in the same place, so there is obviously not an issue there.
- Winterton is nearby with B&Bs, supermarkets and a rich history. There is also a special “Drakensberg Experience” on offer with nearby hotels. Champagne Sports Resort (Central Drakensberg), Montusi Mountain Lodge (Northern Drakensberg) and Cathedral Peak Hotel are offering a 30 percent discount to all 2016 Berg & Bush participants during the month of October.
For more information please visit http://www.bergandbush.co.za.