Mud, sweat and gears at joberg2c
On the morning of the last day of flat out racing at joberg2c, the day eight steam train cycle into and out of the wild Umkomaas Valley, eventual 2019 mixed category winner Amy McDougall was staring straight ahead in the start pen, eyes fixed on nothing, looking at no one. She was there, but she wasn’t.
Music screeched in the background while 799 other riders ran around the race village packing bags and filling bottles, the scene like an army of ants had just discovered an open packet of sugar scattered across a kitchen floor – busy, chaotic and organised. Madness and necessity all rolled into one heaving cycling colony.
McDougall was all business, though, focussed on holding onto the mixed category lead, letting nothing distract her. Her legs duly delivered on the 97km last racing day, wrapping up the Amabokke-bokkie Global Mixed Category alongside partner Mike Posthumus.
To claim the prize, though, the big money winners needed to ride the final stage, the neutral day nine from Jolivet Farm to Scottburgh.
Everyone else in the field also lined up this morning, at a misty and muggy Jolivet, to launch their own personal final assault on joberg2c.
With glazed eyes (some from exhaustion, some from the Jolivet party the night before) and weary limbs, 800 riders clicked in from 7am to complete the last leg of what truly is an incredible journey.
And like any good journey, lessons were learned, beast were tamed, and alliances made. Chief among the lessons learned? Never underestimate nine days of cycling. As an event, joberg2c doesn’t claim to be anything other than a beautiful ride through a beautiful country.
But make no mistake, by the time a rider wakes up in the serene setting of the macadamia trees at Jolivet, everything is worn out – the bike, the mind, the body, the bum cream.
It’s all gone, ground down to nothing but a fine dust of resolve that coats the rider and keeps the legs turning for one last day. It covers riders like McDougall, and it covers the last rider to cross the line. That’s the other lesson from joberg2c – when you think you can’t keep going, you really can. Aided of course by your alliances.
Some people choose to ride solo at joberg2c. It’s a tough task, but made manageable by the characters you encounter, like Bronwyn, riding solo, but always with a smile on her face and time for a positive word of encouragement. Or married couple Brett and Lesley, cheerfully plodding along and chatting to anyone who has time for a chat.
These are all people, either just behind or in front of you, who help you tame the beasts of joberg2c – the long days, the big climbs, and the deep dark places you dive into when the temperatures rise and your legs keep turning but for some reason the distance never shortens.
When you cross the finish line of joberg2c with these new comrades, having seen raging rivers, pristine bushveld, dozing cows and magnificent mountains over the nine days, and having conquered seemingly unending days of trails together, your heart will be better for it.
You’ll feel moved. You’ll feel sad. You’ll feel proud. You’ll feel inspired. You’ll feel you’ve really been somewhere – on your bike, deep into your soul, or just into a quiet place where nothing really matters but the next pedal stroke. And that’s a true joberg2c journey.
Final 2019 joberg2c results
Amabokke-bokkie Global Mixed Category
1. Michael Posthumus and Amy McDougall (Dormakaba) 32:42:25
2. Ben Melt Swanepoel and Yolandi Du Toit (Team Garmin) 36:01:13
3. Corinne Overney and Vincent Flueck (Ekibike Dupasquier Sports) 37:52:19
1. Matthys Beukes 30:33:14
2. Hendrik Kruger 32:03:03
3. Kristof Sterckx 34:21:48
1. Sandra ‘t Hart 36:21:46
2. Monica Glover 38:06:47
3. Yvette Roberts 40:13:01
1. Andrew Hill and Shaun-nick Bester (Team Darkhorse wheels insured by TIB) 31:09:32
2. Luke Evans and Craig Uria (Sage Racing) 32:34:56
3. Gavillet Julien and Ecoffey Sylvain (Cycles Passion Bulle) 32:51:10
1. Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk Ladies) 34:41:26
2. Auralia Edwards and Gina Wills (Seattle Speed) 41:33:36
3. Sandra Lippert and Heather Craemer (Crazy Nam Girls) 47:02:25