Day 3 - Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam
Towards the edge of the world – the new section up Mt Paul comes late in the day, so make sure you have enough gas saved for one of the new legendary sections of single-track. The ride up Mt Paul is one of the Isuzu low range sections.
Water Point 1 at 35km, run by Hoërskool Reitz
Water Point 2 at 65km, run by Reitz East Farmers Association/Reitz Oos Boere Vereeniging
Water Point 3 at 91km, run by Kestell Retirement Village
Day 3 is a long day. Save your legs for the last 40k’s. You will leave Reitz, and your last Afrikaans town, with bellies full and legs in machine mode. You will probably still be thinking about the Reitz race village hospitality for the first 7km through and out of the quaint town.
We warm up with a rolling start behind a giant VKB Tractor. The top riders are always chomping at the bit to get going, but after the day is over they always thank us for this relaxed start.
As soon as we turn off the tar, after 7km, it is straight into some seriously back country farm lands. We hope it is relatively dry for your sake as it can get a little swampy as you work your way through Hansie’s “back yards”. 18km of farm riding proves once again that joberg2c is a special route that you cannot ride any other time. Hansie has cut a brand new trail to make your ride better. Old timers won’t recognise this new piece. This shows the commitment and passion from our landowners.
From Hansie we are onto a long stretch of kilometre-munching rural roads with new little twist. We managed to find a very special cut through to water point 1 on De Wet’s land.
A festive water point 1, hosted by Hoërskool Reitz to raise funds for their hostel, will prepare you for some special riding. For overseas riders from mountainous areas you will appreciate the vast open spaces. Since 2015 have managed to shave 7km off the total distance of Day 3 by making the ride more direct. Enjoy it as you get the opportunity to enter farms very seldom frequented by the outside world. Water point 2 at the 65km mark is hosted by the very festive Reitz East Farmers Association/Reitz Oos Boere Vereeniging – it is a welcome relief from Wappo’s nightmare – a 17km section of farm road that requires some bunch riding and working together.
James “Jabu” Leslie and Oupa Tshabala are joberg2c riders but more importantly they are potato farmers of note. In fact, if you eat potatoes there is a very good chance, even overseas, that you have eaten a Jabu potato. Anyway, they have helped us create some special riding from Water Point 2 all the way through to the end.
Save your legs, pace yourself and relax because from around the 75km mark there is a wonderful single-track called Jabulani (happiness in Zulu) along the river, more single-track through farm lands and then another great Water Point 3 hosted by the Kestell Retirement Village at the 91km mark.
From Water Point 3 you will ride toward Mt. Paul on tribal lands with special permission from the local chiefs. This is where the view really starts to hit you in the face.
It is around the back of Mt. Paul that you encounter the first of the Isuzu low range climbs. The trail on the edge of Mount Paul is 7km and is breathtaking and Sollie Prinsloo and his crew have been hard at work making sure the trail is in great nick. The climb around Mt Paul to the start of this special downhill is well worth every metre as you will get to see the Drakensberg and Sterkfontein Dam in full view before you free wheel hub hums down a tune and the legs start dancing.
For 4km you will not need to touch your brakes. If you are a great rider you can go very fast and if you are a cautious rider you can free wheel down with heavenly views.
Sollie Prinsloo (you will get to know him well over the 9 days) has also built the underpass that leads up to the mighty Sterkfontein Dam wall. We are privileged to ride over the dam wall as it is normally closed to public. It is a damn long dam wall (3.2 km) as you will find out. You will see the race village soon and you will either be aiming for your compression socks and recovery drinks or an ice cold lager depending on what your agenda is. Harriston School are exceptional in their planning considering they have to drive 50km just to get to their village. Their special Karan Beef Potjie would have been brewing and stewing all day.
As you contemplate life on the banks of the sea-like dam you will now know there is no turning back. KwaZulu-Natal here you come.