Full Sus November 2020

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2021’S

BEST BIKES,

GEAR AND TECH BIKE REVIEW:

GIANT TRANCE X 29 SA DH CHAMP

JOHAN “POTTIE” POTGIETER JOINS FULL SUS

TRAIL BUILDER SERIES

RICHARD MÜLLER GARDEN ROUTE TRAIL MASTER

N OV E M B E R 2020 VO L 67

RIDE REPORT:

GREYTON PIE RUN

HENNOPS TRAIL PARK GAUTENG’S JONKERSHOEK


W H AT ’ S N E W F O R 2 0 2 1

WHAT’S

NEW FOR

2021


W H AT ’ S N E W F O R 2 0 2 1 NEW BIKES: AGGRO XC, GRAVEL & HARDTAILS

SPECIALIZED EPIC EXPERT

SPECIALIZED EPIC EVO

MERIDA BIG.TRAIL

GIANT FATHOM 29 1

The phrase “down country bike” has become more apparent globally and at last South Africans can sample some of the best modern cross country (XC) bikes available. This year was supposed to be the Tokyo Olympics and every major global brand has a big launch planned with their new bikes. Back to down country - according to our research and understanding this is the new norm when it comes to cross-country bikes. It boils down to the usually aggressive 100mm cross-country with more travel, more reach, and more capabilities. Cross Country bikes are bread and butter in SA and everyone wants to ride and be seen on one. One of the biggest brands in SA, Specialized, launched their revolutionary new Epic and Epic Evo. I say revolutionary because that is exactly what the new bikes are. Slack, longer reach, lighter, more travel and comfort are some of the headline features. Their new Epic Evo is a 120mm down country XC bike with a scarcely believable 66.5* head angle. This sort of head angle was reserved for full blown trail bikes just one year ago! Oh and a new rear linkage and “no brain” are significant changes to the Evo. Trail hardtails are making a massive comeback too. Luckily these are not the sketchy XC hardtails we’re used to but rather (once more) hugely capable trail shredders. Brands like Giant, Merida, GT and Yeti are some to usher in a new era of modern slack hardtails – built to keep up with their more expensive full suspension counterparts. For 2021 Giant’s new Fathom 29 is a prime example of a 66* head angle, a 130mm bike perfect for your local trails.


W H AT ’ S N E W F O R 2 0 2 1 Gravel is continuing to boom with more riders opting for a capable gravel bike to scratch the road bike itch. Locally Titan Racing has a solid line-up of affordable carbon gravel bikes. Their Switch bike has big tyre clearance, space for multiple bottle cages and looks stunning in black. Slap a pair of road tyres on and you can smash the Cape Town Cycle Tour. E-bikes - not enough can be said about e-bikes really. They have taken the market by storm and have flown off the shelves. Saffers have really embraced the new dimension e-bikes have brought to the market. The bikes are looking sleeker and much more stylish than they ever were. Integrated batteries are almost a given now, better batteries and more efficient motors are all the order of the day. Except for the slight engine noise and stupid look of badly disguised pleasure (predominantly as a result of passing some skinny dude up the steepest inclines) it is sometime difficult to even spot the “lazy-boys” of the trails. The capabilities of the bikes are also hugely improved with the e-bikes available across the spectrum of xco, trail and gravity rigs – think of how dirt motorbikes handle and jump – well this is quite easily achieved on the pedal-assist mtb bikes. There are both hardtail and full sus models in the e-bike category and depending on what type of riding you do the hardtail options are well priced and more than adequate for most people’s off-road needs. Brands to look out for are the Trek Rail, the Giant Talon and Trance, Scott Aspect and Strike, Specialized Levo, Cannondale and Habit Neo.

TITAN SWITCH ELITE

TREK RAIL 7

GIANT TALON E+ 29 3

SCOTT ASPECT 920


GROUPSETS

HELMETS

For too long the man on the street could not enjoy the deliciousness of the new generation 12-speed groupsets. For 2021 that too has changed with ultraaffordable new 12-speed Shimano and SRAM groupsets. You can upgrade your current 11 speed setup to a new smooth 12-speed for roughly R5 000. Two years ago, this would’ve been closer to R7 000. We are big fans of 12-speed groupsets for their ability to declutter your handlebar and enable you to traverse the steepest of climbs. We suspect the same trend will trickle down to the new e-groupsets which would hopefully make them more affordable in a couple of years.

Like the helmet being reviewed on page (?) in this issue the added safety features of MIPS are well documented. Thankfully more mainstream helmets like the Bell Nomad, Lazer Beam and Scott Groove can all be had for less than R1 000 with integrated MIPS as standard.

Constantly improving and adding new funky designs is Ciovita. For the ladies they have some stunning new floral and pastel colour riding shirts. Light, breathable and sizing to suit every body type is available. The Paradiso and Tinta ranges will ensure you’ll be seen during your next ride.

APPAREL

COMPONENTS

Summer is coming up and we’re excited to ride with less layers and soak up some good old free Vitamin-D. Some fresh new cycling kit is always welcome and in SA we’re spoilt by great local brands. Vye Cycle is based in Cape Town and they have solid options at affordable prices to suit your budget. We dig their range of trail short (for those anti-lycra lovers).

We’ve mentioned the advancement of a venerable 12-speed groupset in the mountain bike sphere, but brands are already nearing the completion of 13-speed groupsets. A quick Google search will tell you that a Chinese company is selling their S-Ride 13-speed as we speak. Adjustability, integrated and affordable is what they are after. Rotor Bike Components has also joined the party with

their more premium 13-speed and if money was no option we would’ve ordered it by now. Corona has certainly slowed the entire industry, but no end is in sight when it comes to progress. We predict giant leaps within the e-bike hardware industry. Shimano has released their brand new EP8 motor system which promises more power, more range, more compact layout and even less weight. Only a few years ago we were all satisfied by small, lightweight two piston brakes. Four piston brakes where reserved for gnarlier enduro-type rigs but safe and reliable stopping power is now available for the masses. The ever-present Shimano SLX now offers a solid four piston option at an affordable price. You can fit them to your XC, trail or even enduro bike and as you know they’ll last a lifetime and offer unbeatable stopping power.


ED’S LETTER

T

he “new normal”, I am absolutely sick of hearing this and also seeing it being used conveniently to answer away what is at times lot of complete nonsense. Excuses for ineffectual services could be my complete worst: think vehicle licensing and offices for having your relevant access cards renewed that open and close at what appears to be a whim and service related industries that have cried out for desperate support and lamented their loss of income and then opened and been absolutely appalling! You may also have noticed that while the bike industry appears to be doing extremely well there are challenges regarding finding bicycles at certain price points, parts can be scarce and workshops under severe pressure particularly to get steeds (sometimes really old bikes that are being resurrected from the dark depths of the garage or shed) back on their wheels. The challenges that all service industries are facing, including our own, are understood but cannot continually be used as excuse for poor workmanship, rushed services, bad attitude because of “pressure” and shoddy systems that are inadequate for good workflow and to meet client expectations. There are many sites, advisors and examples available for advice, systems and assistance in business practices, systems and workflow models that are free and can and should be instituted into the cycling front end business. We need to put our hands up and, much like

us as publishers having to look at our model of doing business and presenting content to our audience in a new way, have to adapt to the situation and just make things “normal”! I recently headed out to the Piket-bo-berg to tackle the U Recce with the sponsor, Adventurscape Events. Another event that has been hard hit by the lockdown but that have embraced the challenges and that have kept their chin up and used technology and grit to make sure that the 2021 offering is going to be the superb event it has always been and will, I have no doubt, be even better. Integrated Media, our big-little publishing firm, has some huge news to announce shortly, we are dying to let you all know – an event publication that we will be publishing for this fantastic client early next year – watch the socials for details. I can also tell you that Full Sus will be on a brand new platform for next issue and we are confident that you will find it an improvement and it will definitely improve your experience with the digimag. Enjoy summer! See you on the Trails!

Full Sus team at the U Recce!

REGULAR PROGRAMMING WILL RESUME SHORTLY

F

or six months, half a year or over 180 days South Africans were locked up and forced to stay home and away from the stuff that we love. As you are reading this, myself and Robin Moore (head of sales at Full Sus MTB) recently returned from the beautiful Greyton after completing the annual Pie Run event. A gravel event which is open to all cyclist and mountain bikers. The route features rolling hills towards the N2 at Riviersonderend and back to Greyton! Read more about the event in our ride report (PAGE 35). With everything going back to normal that Level 1 of lockdown initiated, and international tourism restarted, it is refreshing seeing our airports busier and our borders open for travel. Personally, I can’t wait to visit Namibia once more. An amazing place to ride your bike, shut down and recharge whilst revelling in the beauty of our neighbouring country. For our cover feature we decided to focus on the new normal for 2021. Big changes are expected within our cycling industry. We see the return of fun and affordable hardtails. An even bigger boom for the gravel bike sector and how we will be approaching events going forward. If you’re traveling to George or live in the Garden Route, the chances are you’ve ridden on some of the Hillbillies MTB Club trails. These were built by Richard Muller – read about his remarkable love for building some of the best trails in SA. Have a look at our monthly events calendar too - make sure you book your next ride. Remember the entire cycling industry is under pressure and we must support them where we can. Until next time, stay on two wheels Cheers

Frans


CONTENTS

FEATURES:

REGULARS:

02 COVER FEATURE: It is that time of year again when manufactures release their latest gear, tech and bikes. We cover all the basis and keep you in the loop.

27 GEAR: 4 New bikes to look out for

08 NEWS: The #MTB skinny. 12 CLIMBING FOR A CAUSE: Jamie Marais’ Everesting attempt was quite remarkable. 17 WHAT HAS CHANGED: Racing at the sharp end changed to adapt to new Covid protocols - Timo reports. 20 N EW DHI COLUMN: POTTIE POTGIETER joins Full Sus and his first column delves deeper into the mullet-bike trend. 23 BIKE REVIEW: The trail slaying GIANT TRANCE 29 X was put through its paces.

32 TIMO’S HIDDEN GEM: Timo explores some of the kiffest local trail parks. Hennops is up first 35 RIDE REPORT: Greyton Pie Run 2020 was a wind fest! 38 TRAILS: Jacques Marais rips it up in Magoebaskloof! 43 TRAILBLAZERS #2: The spectacular Garden Route is up next and we meet up with Richard Müller. 48 F-STOP: Professional and amateur photographers show their work and give some insight into how they got the shot. 51 COACH: Changing up your training programme will keep your body honest and sharp. 53 CALENDAR: Check out our events calendar- yes they’re back and they need our support!

NEW STORE IS OPEN NOW!

Photo by: Oak Pics

06 ED’S LETTER: Events are making a comeback and December is around the corner.

28 TEST ZONE: Putting products to the test

MONDAY – FRIDAY, 8AM – 5PM • 072 267 6619 UNIT 9, DURBANVILLE INDUSTRIAL PARK, 1 LILIE STREET, (CLOSE TO MACDONALDS) DURBANVILLE


MTB NEWS

MTB

NEWS 01

DBX LIMITED – A NEW FORMAT FOR 2020

Despite Covid-19 cases decreasing and regulations easing, the challenges of bringing events to riders are still alive and well. Due to the increased cost to meet the Covid-19 compliance regulations and the limit on the number of riders allowed to participate, DBX will not go ahead in its usual format – instead for 2020 DBX will be held as DBX LIMITED EDITION. The routes will be provided but it will be up to the riders to create the experience. This year riders will have the opportunity to cycle the beautiful and otherwise inaccessible Darling routes in their own time and at their own pace! Dates: The DBX routes will be open on the 7th and 8th of November 2020 from 7H00 to 16h00.

Start and finish: Darling Brew, 48 Caledon Street, Darling. Routes: There are three routes, a 20km, 45km and a 65km route. All routes will be clearly marked and riders will receive the GPS files for the specific route they have entered. Make sure you load the route file on your device. If you get lost, you can return to the previous route sign and continue from there. To adhere to social distancing regulations, there will be different starting batches from 07:00 to 13:00 with a limited number of people per time slot. You are able to change your time slot multiple times, but it is dependent on availability.There will be sweepers and a recovery vehicle on route to make sure everyone gets home safely.

How to enter: A limited amount of entries are available on Entry Ninja. Those that have already entered for DBX2020 will be issued a voucher and with the Entry Ninja links to choose a date, distance and time slot for their ride. Rules: The basic cycling rules still apply. Wear a helmet, keep your distance and look out for other riders. There will not be any assistance on the route, please follow the route signs and cross roads safely. As per Covid-19 regulations, this is a selfsufficient ride. Please carry with you what you require. There will be a water tank at the start for filling bottles and one refill station on each route. Unfortunately, no spectators will be allowed.

At this time of year there are loads of thorns in Darling. Please ensure you do not ride without sludge in your tyres. Registration: All routes start and finish at the Brewery. Riders have to register and do a Covid-19 screening before they leave. Finishers: All riders will receive a post ride finishers beer and DBX Limited Edition bottle opener. Those that entered Long Claw and Bone Crusher in its previous format will receive a DBX loyalty pack to the value of R200. Post Event: The Tasteroom will be open and mobile coffee, beer and food will be available for quick and easy access. Booking for the restaurant is advised. Make sure to enter here: https://darlingbrew. co.za/pages/dbx2020


MTB NEWS

02

LYNE COMPONENTS LAUNCH NEW CARBON WHEELS Lyne Components are taking the plunge into the world of carbon wheels and have approached this new project with caution. As yet there is no set launch date for the new carbon wheels. In order to fine tune their new product, Lyne have used a range of riders from different disciplines for product testing. From 60kg high school XCO racers to 100kg+ shredders who are known to eat wheels for breakfast. By doing this they have managed to fast-track the testing process. Instead of focusing on weight, they have spent time preparing a product that will reliably get you to the finish line, so the new carbon wheel will not be the lightest ones out there.

PULSE CARBON WHEELSET

The Pulse carbon wheelset uses a wide hookless profile laced to the lightweight JB01 hubs. The result is a stiff and fast race ready wheelset.

AMP CARBON WHEELSET

The AMP Carbon wheelset has been fine-tuned to meet the demands of modern trail and enduro riders. The rim profile features a super wide inner and outer width resulting in a stable and durable ride. These wheels come standard with Lyne’s High Engagement hubs, which offer reliability, fast engagement and a great sound when freewheeling. Find out more here www.onlynecomponents.com/collections/wheels

RIDES XC. AND THE STUFF THAT SCARES XC RIDERS. TOP FUEL Part trail bike, part XC race bike, and full-on singletrack ripper. Top Fuel is quick on the enough suspension (120/115mm) to pin even the sketchiest, most technical descents.


MTB NEWS

03 GIANT UNVEILS THE ALL-NEW TRANCE X E+ PRO 29 New frame design with updated motor technologies, flip chip adjustable geometry, and 29-inch wheels make this the most advanced E-MTB trail bike ever from Giant. Giant, the world’s leading brand of high-quality bicycles and cycling gear, is introducing an all-new E-bike for trail riding that combines proven off-road engineering and design with updated Hybrid Cycling Technology power. With its high-performance SyncDrive Pro motor, new Maestro suspension system, and adjustable frame geometry, the Trance X E+ Pro 29 is the most capable all-around E-MTB ever from Giant. Aimed at E-bike enthusiasts and performance-minded trail riders who may be new to pedal-assist riding, the new Trance X E+ Pro 29 delivers a blend of progressive trail bike design and innovative, user-friendly motor technologies. It’s a next-generation advancement on Giant’s popular Trance E+ Pro series that boasts several key updates including larger

29-inch wheels and an all-new flip chip feature that lets the rider switch the frame geometry between two different settings.

TRAIL-TUNED CHASSIS

The Trance X E+ Pro 29 is built on a super strong and lightweight ALUXX SL aluminium frameset. The chassis is engineered for the unique needs of E-MTB trail riders, with added strength and stiffness to improve handling while climbing, cornering or descending on a wide variety of terrain. This purposebuilt frameset is balanced out with the latest Maestro suspension system that delivers 135mm of smooth, active rear travel.

POWERED BY SYNCDRIVE PRO

The SyncDrive Pro motor gives the new Trance X E+ Pro 29 a massive 80Nm of torque and 360 % tuneable support. This means that when you’re riding in the highest mode (Power mode), 100 % of human pedalling input offers 360 % assisted power. The adjustable support allows the rider to choose exactly how they want the motor to react to pedalling input to fine-tune how the bike performs on the trail. For more information go to www.giant-bicycles.com/za/bikestrance-x-eplus-pro-29-2021



RIDE FOR A PURPOSE

CLIMBING FOR A CAUSE


RIDE FOR A PURPOSE

“THERE WAS A MASSIVE STORM THE PREVIOUS DAY THAT HIT THE COUNTRY AND RESULTED IN WIDESPREAD SNOWFALLS ACROSS THE REGION.”


RIDE FOR A PURPOSE DURING THE LAST WEEKEND OF AUGUST 2020 JAMIE MARAIS BECAME THE ONLY KNOWN PERSON TO CYCLE A VERTICAL ASCENT OF 9 000 METRES, THE EQUIVALENT ELEVATION OF MOUNT EVEREST (8,845M), IN A BIG 5 GAME RESERVE OVER 36 HOURS. HE MANAGED TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE AND THROUGH HIS EFFORTS SUPPORTED WILDLIFE PROTECTION AND FAMILIES AFFECTED BY COVID-19. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES HENDRY & MICHAEL HOFMEYR JAMIE, CONGRATS ON YOUR EVERESTING FEAT! WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THE CHALLENGE AT KARIEGA GAME RESERVE? The ride was never actually intended to be an Everesting attempt, the vertical ascent achieved was purely incidental. Why Kariega? Well, during lockdown I was thinking back to the incredible time my family and I had at Kariega Game Reserve during December. I called up one of the senior rangers and asked how lockdown and the resulting downturn in tourism had been affecting them, and specifically how they were funding the antipoaching unit. They told me they were really struggling and had not had any income for months. I mentioned that I had an idea in

mind and shared the concept of coming up and riding for 36 hours in at Kariega Big Five Game Reserve as a way of raising funds for the anti-poaching unit and to feed the families of those affected by Covid-19 at the reserve and surrounding communities. I then met with Lindy Sutherland who is the Director of the Kariega Foundation, and three weeks later my support crew and I were on our way up to do a reconnaissance trip to find the right climb for me to ride. No one has ever climbed a mountain for 36 hours in a big five game reserve before, and we figured that the outrageous idea of doing this would generate a lot of interest and support. TELL US ABOUT EACH LAP? DISTANCE, WHAT WERE THE OBSTACLES? The climb I rode was 4.5 kilometres up with 240 meters of climbing. My aim was actually to do 65 summits in 36 hours, but there were factors that slowed me down and hampered my progress. The biggest obstacle was the cold. There was a massive storm the previous day that hit the country and resulted in widespread snowfalls across the region. This resulted in freezing air blowing through the night, which was extremely taxing both physically and mentally. I was really suffering in the cold and didn’t have the right gear to deal with that extremity of temperature, as none of us, including the locals, were expecting it! Every descent was a gamble and I was just hoping and praying that I wouldn’t collide with an elephant, buffalo or any other animal running across the road.


RIDE FOR A PURPOSE


RIDE FOR A PURPOSE DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY WILDLIFE DURING YOUR CHALLENGE? Yes - an enormous bull elephant nicknamed “Charlie”. He appeared in the middle of the road on my very first summit! It was nerve-wracking and played on my mind for the rest of the ride, especially whilst descending at speed during the night. During the reconnaissance trip, I had the incredible experience of riding right up to a rhino by the name of Thandi, while her calf was with her. I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared. My heart was pounding. That rhino is huge and could easily have trampled me if she felt threatened. Thandi is famous for becoming the first rhino to survive after being poached, and the fact that she allowed me as a humanbeing so close to her (literally a couple of feet away as I rode past) was an experience that impacted me deeply. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO KEEP FIT DURING LOCKDOWN? We had just moved into a new development with only a few finished houses, so I was able to ride on the undeveloped side of the estate. MOST MEMORABLE PART OF THE ENTIRE RIDE? Having my two sons aged 15 and 10 do a summit with me on an e-bike, and knowing that my wife and daughter were waiting at the summit. My wife was a trooper - she was limping around with a broken toe for hours on end, welcoming me at the top of each summit with her radiant smile and making sure I was attended to. My son Sam took off like a missile on the e-bike and smashed the entire climb on his own. That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I asked him what he would have done if he ran into an elephant - his answer? “I would have pedalled really fast Dad!” TELL US ABOUT THE BENEFICIARIES YOU SUPPORTED WITH THIS CHALLENGE? All funds raised were donated to the Kariega Foundation and used to fund the anti-poaching unit and, through various soup kitchens the foundation supports, theyfed the families of those affected in the area. GEAR: WHAT BIKE DID YOU USE, ANY SPECIAL UPGRADES? NUTRITION ON THE BIKE? I used my own personal bike - a Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 0 with SRAM XX1 Eagle. I have a 720mm Specialised flat racing bar but other than that, the bike is standard. I carried one water bottle with me and used Power Bar gels and bars towards the end of the ride. ANY OTHER BIG CHALLENGES PLANNED FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS? There is always something brewing in the think tank. The challenges are becoming more and more extreme in nature, but riding a mountain bike up a climb for 36 hours in a big five game reserve is going to be hard to beat in terms of extremity. I like climbing, I enjoy danger and am passionate about conservation. Let’s see what happens. GLOBALLY, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO AN ENDURANCE EVENT AND WHY? I love Africa. There are so many wild and challenging places to test yourself. If I had to choose somewhere outside of Africa, it would be Australia. I lived there as a kid and would love to go and test myself in the Outback.

JAMIE MARAIS is a South African-based adventure athlete, author and speaker. www.jamiemarais.com


C H A N G E S AT T H E S H A R P E N D

WHAT HAS CHANGED? By now its not uncommon that most things we knew have changed completely. Lining up for your next race will be different. Full Sus regular Timo Cooper explains.

Nissan Trail Seeker – Bufflesdrift


C H A N G E S AT T H E S H A R P E N D

I

AFTER THE TEMPERATURE TEST, THE USUAL QUESTIONNAIRE AND FIVE TIMES OF SANITIZING IT WAS TIME TO FIND MY DOT ON THE START LINE.�

cannot decide if I was more nervous, excited, or scared to race again. The only thing I knew for sure was that it will not be the same as the good old times. Racing used to be where I see most of my mates, enjoy a beer afterwards, share war stories and plan the next adventure. This is all in the past, now a race venue is like a nuclear site, mask, sanitizer, no you are not allowed to stand there you have an allocated dot. Yes, we had to stand on dots, kind of like school but worse as all I wanted to do was high five all the familiar faces and fellow riders, obviously this was not allowed. After the temperature test, the usual questionnaire and five times of sanitizing it was time to find my dot on the start line. One thing that did not change was the tension on a start line, I think it was worse than ever before. All the riders had one goal in mind and that was to get some form of exposure for their sponsors. On the start line all the riders must use a mask but once the gun goes its pretty much back to the old days, riding in dust, spit, riders sneezing and all the normal fun of cycling challenges. I thought to myself, ok I was safe with my mask but as soon as the race starts its all back to normal, trust me this is not a bad thing, it just ads to the very unusual rules and the reasons for it. The actual racing was fast and furious. I did not have my best day on the bike at all and with everything at least I have someone


C H A N G E S AT T H E S H A R P E N D

to blame now. Eli our four-month-old is not doing me or my wife any favours when it comes to sleep and as you all know sleep is a massive part of any endurance sport. After the race I was super excited to catch up with my mates, but no luck there as well. “Sir please move on and leave the venue if possible.� This is what I heard about four times before I finally decided to leave the venue. I ride and race my bike to build existing and new relationships but with the new regulations this is not possible and that to me is very sad. The regulations have taken away from the reason why most of us ride our bikes. This is a bold statement but until races return to normal most of us are better off just planning a ride with mates, at least we can still enjoy a beer and banter afterwards without being asked to leave the venue. I do believe we also race to measure ourselves against other riders, but this too is not possible with all the different days and start batches. I hope it changes soon, I like, most of us, miss the real racing feeling and great times before and after these events.

All I wanted to do was high fives, but this was not allowed.


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE

MULLET’S AND DOWNHILL Johann Potgieter (Pottie) is our newest regular contributor. Pottie is a multiple South African downhill champion and he starts off with some interesting new trends within the downhill industry. PHOTOS BY SHAWN VAN ZYL

@SHAWN_VZ


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE i Guys and Girls! I am so stoked to have this opportunity to be sharing my thoughts with you every couple of months through this column. For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Johann Potgieter and I am a multiple South African downhill champion. I’ve been riding for 20 years and I race for Team Racing Dudes and YT-Industries in Germany and I also do Youth skills camps and skills clinics for all mountain bike disciplines all around the country. Coffee is a big passion of mine and I also own two coffee bars, one in Cape Town (Hooggekraal) and one in Port Elizabeth (Cyclo Pro). This month for my first column I would like to delve a little deeper into the new trends in the gravity scene. Now there are constantly new things and tech popping up throughout the scene but one of the most talked-about trends in my opinion would be the mullet bike. A mullet bike is a bike with a 29er wheel up front and a 27.5 wheel in the rear. Cross Country mountain biking went from 26 inch straight to 29er… then for a brief period there was a 27.5 craze and then they went back to 29er as the accepted better option. In downhill (this period was before enduro got mainstream, I would say) we went from 26 inch to 27.5, then it stayed there for a couple of seasons and then some teams and brands started experimenting with 29ers. In XC and

H

marathon riding rolling is the biggest part of the game, where as in the gravity scene handling plays just as big a part and the riders have to be able to ride the bike close or on the limit more comfortably. Straight off the bat you could see the riders who were comfortable on the bigger wheels and also the guys who were struggling to adapt. There was a period where all the manufacturers just tried to get 29er bikes out there as soon as possible and some just made the wheels fit onto the current bikes which made the geometry on some of the bikes a bit awkward, and that saw a lot of guys ditch the bigger wheels and go back to the more trusted 27.5 options. Come the next year and more manufacturers had fully fledged race-

“STRAIGHT OFF THE BAT YOU COULD SEE THE RIDERS WHO WERE COMFORTABLE ON THE BIGGER WHEELS AND ALSO THE GUYS WHO WERE STRUGGLING TO ADAPT.”


PULLING G’S WITH POTTIE ready 29ers out on the courses. More riders were on full 29er bikes, whereas some guys stayed on the 27.5 bikes. The funny thing is, where it was the taller guys who adapted well, and the short to mid-sized riders who weren’t fully comfortable or fully convinced, and thus not long after, the mullet bike was born. The goal with the mullet was to have the best of both worlds, with the front wheel rolling over obstacles easier and the back wheel being smaller made it easier to handle and lean the bike. Thus far the mullet bike has seen great success under riders like Loic Bruni and Danny Hart with both being on the mullet bikes during the 2019 race season. 29ers were also still up there with Amaury Pierron and Greg Minnaar as well as 27.5 with the super-fast Aussie Troy Brosnan deciding to stay with the smaller wheels. Which one is better? I guess this is a debate that could go on for a long time, but in my opinion it will be the length and riding style of the specific rider that will decide what would be best for them. Until next time.

JOHANN (POTTIE) POTGIETER is a multiple national downhill champion. He loves to rip, stay caffeinated and share his skills and knowledge with new gravity riders. Follow him on instagram @Pottie_dh

IMAGE BY CRAIG KOLESKY

Johann Potgieter


BIKE REVIEW

GIANT’S NEW AGGRO TRANCE X 29 RIPS WE LIVE IN A TIME WHERE BIKES ARE MORE VERSATILE AND THE LINES BETWEEN TRAIL AND ENDURO START TO GET BLURRY. ENTER THE NEW GIANT TRANCE X 29 2 - FOLLOWING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE NEWLY LAUNCHED TRANCE29; THE GLOBAL GIANT CREATED THIS EVEN MORE CAPABLE RIPPER!

WORDS BY FRANS LE ROUX I M A G E S B Y R AY C O X A N D M A X S U L L I VA N


BIKE REVIEW

G

iant Bicycles are certainly on a roll locally when it comes to proper trail mountain bikes. Back in 2018 they launched their Trance29 in both carbon and aluminium. Think of the Trance as a more capable and forgiving Anthem. More travel, more reach, bigger tyres and more fun. I was so impressed with the Trance29 Advanced that I used my hard-earned money to actually buy one. That is where the new 2021 Trance X 29 comes in – a more aggro version of the already capable Trance 29. I can’t remember the last time I threw my leg over an aluminium frame, which is not a bad problem to have I guess, so naturally I had some preconceptions on how the bike would differ in weight and feel compared to the carbon model.

“I HAD THE FLIP CHIP IN THE LOW POSITION, GIVING ME A SLACKER HEAD ANGLE FOR THE BIG HITS ...” As per usual, Giant have paid attention to detail when it comes to the paint job, from afar the bike is very subtly branded, in a rather neutral off-grey/green colour. However up close and especially in the sunlight, you can see the clean lines and sparkling glitter finish, along

with a striking silver Giant and Trance X logo on the head and top tube respectively. I was excited to see what the wide hoops and big travel could handle, but nervous as to how the bike would go uphill. Unfortunately we did not weigh the Trance X but I can confidently say that it is at least 2.0+kg heavier than my own Trance Advanced carbon bike. I had the flip chip in the low position, giving me a slacker head angle for the big hits, and a longer wheelbase for grip in the corners. Unlike most flip chip equipped bikes, the one on the Trance X makes quite a big change. I didn’t test it the other way around, but if you’ll be riding some flatter terrain or doing some longer rides then it is nice to have the option. I was rather impressed on the first climb of the day. With the suspension on the middle setting, I casually climbed my way up some loose terrain with very little pedal bob thanks to the Maestro suspension linkage. Head angle and weight seemed to play little part in my climbing comfort but I did start to hurt a bit when the road got to around 20%, I quickly reminded myself that I was only going up to have fun on the way down. The bike handled the big hits on the way down the trail well. To be fair, this was expected from a burly Fox 36 fork with 150mm of travel. What blew my hair back was the amount of grip in the flat corners! With the Giant Contact Switch dropper post all the way down, I had the bike leaning underneath me, gliding through the corners with more grip than usual (think boerewors to a rusty braai grid). I’m not too sure


BIKE REVIEW


BIKE REVIEW

“IT BECAME APPARENT THAT THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR GOOD QUALITY ALUMINIUM” if it is the longer wheelbase, the new 2.4” Dissector Maxxis tires or that super stiff Alu frame, nonetheless I was blown away. Steep drops, rough terrain and gnarly corners are where you want to take this bike, and you won’t be disappointed. The overall ride quality is what you’d expect from a big travel bike. I did enjoy meandering along some gravel roads with the suspension fully unlocked because I wasn’t in a hurry and I thought why not just be as comfortable as possible? We are all obsessed with carbon and we desperately want the lightest bike possible. After thoroughly enjoying the Trance X it became apparent that there is still a place for good quality aluminium. That same quality comes at a comparative bargain when compared to its full carbon stable mates.

The rest of the build kit is more than adequate to keep you going. Shimano SLX 4-pot brakes, a 780mm wide handlebar, wide rims capable of swallowing 2.5”tyres, Fox Float DPS shock and Giant’s own Romero saddle finish this build. The saddle was a bit too narrow for my personal preference, but we’ll always revert back to our preferred choice. Value for money and smiles per mile made me wonder why we are so infatuated with carbon. If you’re a keen rider who wants to explore the limits, try your local enduro or head down that black route near your house, make sure you get to demo an alu Trance X. I would happily have this aluminium beast towering over my carbon bikes in the garage, although … I wonder how the carbon model feels? RRP 60 000

Shock ratng:4/5


TEST ZONE

Safety is such an important factor for cyclist and that is where ANGi from Specialized comes in.

BALANCED ENERGY BAR

CARBOFUEL BAR

USN CYTO POWER HP

SPECIALIZED PROPERO 3 HELMET WITH ANGI

To keep going and smash your goals you need some energy and we’ve tested a USN and Cadence product in this issue.

STAY SAFE &

POWER ON


NEW

2021 BIKES

FRESH BIKES FOR 2021 Most brands have released their 2021 bikes and for our current gear section we picked four of our favourite rides across different disciplines. GRAVEL: GIANT REVOLT 2021 Description: A section that deserves more credit and certainly gets us excited is gravel. Affordable, fun, long days and it doubles as a road bike – sign us up. For 2021 Giant refreshed their aluminium gravel machine the Revolt. This all-rounder mixes great value, good looks and modern tech to easily crush your goals. With disc brakes and clearance for up to 45c tyres, the Revolt should be on your shopping list. Check out for more: www.giant-bicycles.com/za/ revolt-1-2021 Rival: Momsen GP500 RRP: R27 000


Description: Canyon is now established in South Africa and their short travel trail bike, the Neuron, is something that deserves more attention. Too many weekend warriors ride and barely survive on their 100mm sketchy XC bikes. This is where the category in which the Neuron finds itself starts to make more sense. 140mm of front travel, a solid and reliable RockShox Pike, full carbon frame and a dropper seatpost at this price is unreal! Check out for more: www.canyon.com/en-za/mountain-bikes/trail-bikes/ neuron/neuron-cf-8/2629.html?dwvar_2629_pv_ rahmenfarbe=GN%2FBK Rivals: Scott Spark 930 RRP: R71 199


NEW

2021 BIKES

Description: The Rail 5 is an electric mountain bike built for ripping the big stuff. It features the same high-end trail tech as our analogue trail bikes, plus a powerful new Bosch drive system that’s basically like having your own shuttle. Rail 5 is Trek’s best-value long-travel e-MTB. It’s equally as capable as their regular long-travel trail bikes, it just gets you back to the top in a flash. The powerful Bosch drive systems and durable part spec make for long-lasting fun. Check out for more: www.trekbikes.com/za/en_ZA/bikes/mountainbikes/electric-mountain-bikes/rail/rail-5/ p/30913/?colorCode=greendark_black Rivals: Specialized Turbo Levo Comp RRP: R99 999


NEW

2021 BIKES

Description: The all-new Chisel Comp is the perfect bike to begin your journey into XC riding and racing, with all of the features to get you to that elusive “top step” at a price that leaves some jingle jangle left over for race entries. This Chisel comes dressed with Shimano’s crisp-shifting SLC 1x12 drivetrain and powerful M6100 hydraulic disc brakes, a 100mm (Size XS: 80mm) RockShox Judy Gold fork, and 25mm internal width alloy wheels wrapped in 2.3 Fast Track Control casing tires. Check out for more: https://www.specialized. com/za/en/chisel-comp/p/184105?color=291516184105&searchText=91721-5101 Rivals: Titan Racing Drone Expert RRP: R29 000


HIDDEN GEM TRAILS

HENNOPS TRAIL PARK-

GAUTENG’S JONKERSHOEK! Timo Cooper is fairly new to Gauteng. Finding new kiff places to ride his bike in the urban jungle is his mission.

Great climbing at the Hennops Trail Park


HIDDEN GEM TRAILS never thought I would say this, but Gauteng is an amazing place to ride a bike. We are so spoilt for choice and there is no slowing down by the amazing trail builders. Hennops Trail Park is still one of the best kept secrets in the cycling world. The park is very well-known for its amazing hiking trails and over the last year they have invested in building some of the best mountain biking trails I have ever ridden. Hennops is located about 40km from Fourways Johannesburg. We usually cycle out to the park, do the 50km loop and ride back. The Park offers something for everyone with technical, nontechnical and beginner trails. The park is located on a hilly farm and that is a great recipe for mountain biking. There are some proper climbs in the 50km route with great downhills to follow. The overall route and terrain in rough and rocky it should be for a mountain bike. The 50km route is the one every avid mountain biker must try; it is tough and will take the average rider close to three hours to complete. The route starts off with a gradual climb up to the first peak and you are greeted with a technical rocky downhill on the other side. If you are doing the loop for the first time be careful, there are a lot of places where you can come off second best. The route then makes its way up against the infamous snake trail and then the mini Umko Drop, a short but super fun replica of the famous trail we have all come to love at Sani2C.

I

You will then hit Killarney, a race track like singletrack that goes on for a few kilometres; this trail does not have berms in it for a reason, you must stay focused and really try and keep your traction as much as possible. After that the trail goes up again and to what is probably the hardest part of the route, rough yet super fun up and down a few times. If you still have some energy here you can make some proper time on your fellow riders. We all know that a group ride ends up in a race most of the time. The last trail down to the trail centre is amazing, some jumps, berms and just a great mix of grip and technical aspect makes it the best out there. Hennops is our Jonkershoek here in Johannesburg. It offers us everything we need to better ourselves as mountain bikers, it even has a few climbs in it as I mentioned. The trail centre offers all the things you need to have for a great ride; your usual coke, sweets and on weekends a coffee and some food as well. The usual R50 entrance fee is not over charging at all, once you have done the full loop you will be happy to pay even more than that.

TRAIL TALK: Hennops MTB Trail’s unique features are the Hennops river flowing through a valley bordered by mountain ranges to the north and the south. This gives our 90% singletrack purpose-built mountain bike trail a variety of terrain, some steep climbs and descents, lots of natural obstacles and great views to enjoy.

Fast and flowing single tracks made us smile!


HIDDEN GEM TRAILS The trail is 36km in total (Elevation gain 500m) and is made up of six sections with shortcut options after each section to make up your own distance. * Beginner riders: Take the “Short Cut” at Safari and Snake and try the Kyalami section, complete with the Home Run back home. This will be 14km. Or take all “Short Cut” options to ride only 10km. The first section “Safari” starts of with a 30m suspension bridge.

SAFARI (6 KM/ELEVATION GAIN 100M) Entering the game fenced 4×4 park. Some steady climbs and downhill singletrack to negotiate whilst you can keep an eye out for zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and kudu. In this section, the MTB trail crosses the hiking and 4×4 trails on a few occasions.

SANI (6.4KM/ELEVATION GAIN 138M) The name says it all! If you like mountain climbing – this is the one! Dragon is fast flowing, twisting and turning. You will meet four witches (bridges) at the bottom of the valley.

SNAKE (4KM/ELEVATION GAIN 54M) This is a twisting mountain singletrack with many switchbacks. Come test your technical skills here, but be careful as the name suggests the Snake can bite!

KYALAMI (3.7KM/ELEVATION GAIN 28M) Kyalami is a flat, super smooth flowing singletrack with long and short corners to test your flat terrain riding.

SKELETON (8KM/ELEVATION GAIN: 170M) Skeleton offers a variety of terrain from flat savannah to gorges and creek bed riding.

HOME RUN (3KM) Home Run takes you back to the home leg of River and back to Hadeda camp. This is a fast downhill track. Panoramic views await!

The obligatory bridge needed to be crossed.


RIDE REPORT: 2020 GREYTON PIE RUN

WIND AND PIES

IN GREYTON

EVENTS ARE BACK, AND WE WERE STOKED TO LINE-UP IN GREYTON FOR THE THIRD ANNUAL PIE RUN. DESPITE SOME CRAZY WEATHER, ASSOCIATE ED FRANS LE ROUX LOVED EVERY MINUTE. WORDS BY FRANS LE ROUX AND IMAGES BY BRIAN WOOD


RIDE REPORT: 2020 GREYTON PIE RUN

W

hen I look back at my 2019 cycling event memories, I can hardly believe that most of them were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid. Fast forward six months, and some events are still happening, and we are all flippen excited! One such an event was the recent Greyton Pie Run. The third annual Pie Run took place on a cold, wet and windy morning in the sleepy town of Greyton. I loved the event in 2019 and wanted to ensure I came back for more this time around. The route and format were unchanged as it takes riders on either gravel or mountain bikes from Greyton to

“WAKING UP THE MORNING BEFORE THE EVENT I KNEW THAT THE 80 ODD KILOMETRES ON MY GRAVEL BIKE WON’T BE EASY.” Riversonderend and back. After a swift registration process, I went to my overnight accommodation. No sign of warmer spring weather as rain and wind made its way through the village. Waking up the morning before the event I knew that the 80 odd kilometres on my gravel bike wouldn’t be easy. Puddles, wind, and the odd shower made everyone anxious and rather quiet in the start chute. The race started with a short neutral zone where the kids from the local community cycling club led us out. The biggest mistake I made in 2019 was not working hard enough to stay in contact with other riders to hide from the elements. Within the


RIDE REPORT: 2020 GREYTON PIE RUN

first 20 minutes we had a rain shower and some weird gusting side winds. The route inwards towards Riversonderend is truly beautiful with orchards, rivers and rolling wheat lands as far as the eye can see. Pedalling through a couple of small rivers on a gravel bike (NO SUSPENSION) is a tricky affair. Next up we had a quick halfway stop at the Ou Meul Café for some pastries! As much as the 35-odd kilo’s towards Riversonerend went by quickly and without too many struggles, the way back to Greyton proved to be a whole different story. The groups were now broken up and we were greeted by a massive head wind. The kind of wind that was so strong that it made it barely possible to have a conversation with other riders around you. After suffering for more than an hour at barely 20km/h we made a sharp right turn. I will forever be grateful for that one turn as it lifted my spirits and made me reach a bunch of five riders. With the same wind now pumping “THE KIND OF WIND THAT at us from the left, WAS SO STRONG THAT IT we could manage to get into some sort of MADE IT BARELY POSSIBLE rhythm. Some short TO HAVE A CONVERSATION and sharp rolling WITH OTHER RIDERS hills followed as we snaked along AROUND YOU.” the Riversonderend river. Amusingly the last 10 kilos towards Greyton were the worst. The road surface was filled with rocks and corrugations and made the going arduously slow. The sight of coffee, beer and food at the finish line made the slog worthwhile. Tummy filled I left Greyton satisfied but broken. For the 2021 event I might be persuaded to use my mountain bike! Thanks to the race organisers and Greyton Mountain Bike club who hosted us. We’ll see you again in 2021!


TRAIL REPORT

Magoebaskloof MTB Trails,Wolkberge, Limpopo Province

THE “CLOUD MOUNTAINS” OF THE LIMPOPO PROVINCE RATE AS ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S ORIGINAL MOUNTAIN BIKING DESTINATIONS. A ROBUST FAT TRACK CULTURE PREVAILS, WITH CONTEMPORARY TRAILS SUITING THE FULL SPECTRUM OF RIDING STYLES AND ATTITUDES OUT THERE. PLUS, THERE’S DAMN GOOD BEER! PHOTOGRAPHS AND COPY: JACQUES MARAIS


TRAIL REPORT

“OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ‘THE LAND OF SILVER MIST’, AS IT IS BLESSED WITH BEAUTIFUL VIEWS, SCENIC DRIVES AND THE CASCADING WATERFALLS ...”

Local Buzz: The name “Magoebaskloof” has such a lekker, mythical ring to it that you cannot help but expect a solid dose of forest magic when you head out into the woods here. And you certainly won’t be disappointed if you saddle up and crank into these verdant surrounds, originally (and erroneously) named for Chief Makgoba, the erstwhile leader of the Tlou tribe. Forested passes along the meandering R71 connects the towns of Polokwane and Tzaneen, with the tiny village of Haenertsburg set centrally to the mountain community who thrives in this rural space. Organic cheese dairies, SA’s northern-most craft beer brewery, avocado plantations, a 2000year old cussonia kiepersol tree, the Cheerio Tea Garden, quirky “Mountain Foodie” characters … welcome to the ultimate space in which to reconnect with nature. It is therefore no wonder that Magoebaskloof is at the top of the ticklist for birders, trail runners and hikers, and firmly established as a mecca for mountain bikers. Often referred to as “The Land of Silver Mist”, as it is blessed with beautiful views, scenic drives and the cascading waterfalls ... go check out www.lovelimpopo.co.za for an overview of this incredible ecodestination.


TRAIL REPORT Trail Low-down: The TMA Routes are set up and maintained by the “Tourism Magoebaskloof Association� and have been designed to link the top tourism attractions, while offering an awesome MTB experience. Permits are available from Cheerio Trout Lodge and Magoebaskloof Adventures: the cost is R40 per day and kids under 12 are free and the overall route covers nearly 60km in total. The Yellow Route (distance - 17km / elevation - 375m) The least technical route links Haenertsburg to the beautiful Cheerio valley along the scenic course of the Broederstroom River. It is a fairly flat and fast 17km ride, perfectly suited to beginners along a mix of mainly forestry roads and some singletrack. Saddle up at the Cheerio Gardens Coffee Shop and follow Cheerio Road (L Road) towards the R71 to wind down through some beautiful indigenous woodland at Glensheil Farm towards Haenertsburg. Just before town, make a sharp right at the old bridge and follow the Broederstroom River back to the Cheerio Valley. The climb out of the valley is fairly tough, but worth it as you traverse the beautiful Sequoia Gardens, Cheerio Trout Fishing and Holiday Resort before returning to Cheerio Gardens. The Green Route (distance - 22km / Eelevation - 510m) This is the most challenging of the three routes, with a solid mix of climbing and flowing downhill trail, with a fair serving of singletrack. Start from Cheerio Gardens again to bomb into


TRAIL REPORT the Wegraakbosch organic farm, with a technical downhill through their indigenous forest. (Please remember to close the cattle gates.) Next is a section of the Magoebaskloof MTB XCO track before suffering up infamous Mount Merrick. The summit at Long Tom Monument beckons, with superb downhill switchbacks all the way to the river, which you then follow to Zwakala River Retreat and Brewery. The last stretch back to Cheerio is uphill but worth it: you traverse the beautiful Sequoia Gardens, via Cheerio Trout Fishing and Holiday Resort and finally back to Cheerio Gardens. (You will want to make time to sample Zwakala’s award winning lagers!) The Blue Route (distance - 9km / elevation - 181m) This is a short 10km Route consisting of a good mix of farm roads and singletrack, with spectacular across-thebars scenery. Crank off from the picturesque Mountain Cafe at Blueberry Heights, and then traverse the blueberry and kiwifruit orchards and onto the pallet-bridge to cross the stream.

Turn sharp left (do not go under the bridge, as this links to Green and Yellow) to negotiate a short uphill singletrack through the pine plantations. This is tough but pretty rideable and leads onto an easy flat-and-fast pedal around Stanford Lake. Climb towards Stanford Lake Resort before descending on to Fish Eagle Dam, then bomb through the pine forest on some singletrack. This blasts down past another pretty dam before you’re back into a climb up through the pines, with a long singletrack all the way to Ebenezer Dam. Follow the flat fast water board road around the edge of the dam back to the Waterfall Café at Blueberry Heights. Magoebaskloof XCO (distance 6km / Eelevation - 160m) This purpose-built cross-country track is laid out just behind Stanford Lake College and also serves as a link between the Blue, Green and Yellow Routes. It may be a mere 6km, but is technical and tough, as it consists mainly of singletrack. For those in the know, much of the trail has been designed and built by the renowned Karkloof Trail legend, Hilton Turvey, so you can expect a kickass ride.


TRAIL REPORT

FAST FACTS

GETTING

THERE

JACQUES MARAIS is a GIANT (RSA) Ambassador and SA’s MTB Trail Guru, with six mountain biking trail guides and the www.mtbroutes.co.za to his name. If he’s not on his bike, chances are he’s out trail running or surfing in some wild corner of the country ... His latest book, ‘A Guide to More MOER & GONE Places’, will be on shelf later this year. Follow him on Twitter @JacqMaraisPhoto or www.jacquesmarais.co.za

FULL SUS IS A FREE BI-MONTHLY MTB PUBLICATION #MTB #EMAG. TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ADVERTISING RATES AND PACKAGES CONTACT:

ROBIN MOORE | +27 63 776 3557 ROBIN@INTEGRATEDMEDIA.CO.ZA


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 2

GARDEN ROUTE TRAIL BLISS IN OUR SECOND INSTALMENT OF OUR NATIONWIDE TRIBUTE TO TRAIL BUILDERS, WE FOCUS ON THE GARDEN ROUTE. RICHARD MÜLLER IS THE MAIN MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE STOKE AND WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM. WORDS BY RICHARD MÜLLER AND FRANS LE ROUX


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 2 How did you get involved with trail building? For how many years have you been building? I did mountain biking for about eight years and enjoyed the forestry roads in the Garden Route area – especially the dedicated MTB trails. At that stage I stayed on the Saasveld Campus, outside George. One day in 2009, I decided to build a trail that leads through pine plantations right up to my house. It was a popular outing with my two Jack Russels (Jellie-tot and Polkadot) in the afternoons after work. Since this first trail (called Drongos – there is always some drongo birds welcoming cyclists), I never stopped building and maintaining trails. So, I have been building now for about 10 years. However, it is more for the last five years since we had a crisis at the Hillbillies MTB Club and the expansion of XCO races being held at Saasveld (Nelson Mandela University George Campus). In fact, the 2021 Western Cape XCO Champs will be held at Saasveld.

Tell us more about your most recent trails. Where were they built? In the last year, we built Dirty Squirty (sponsored by Squirt lubricants) as it was a much-needed project which relieves the trail-congestion of the Sampieshoogte and Middle Contour roads in Witfontein Plantation. It was such a success that it was extended through to the new Lockdown and Benji trails. Now there is a 4.5 km string of trails stretching as a contour between the mentioned existing contour roads. Another critical trail was to connect DMC and the Upper Swartrivier Dam Contour with a new trail, Berg

Cypress. This connects the Dryland sponsored Chernobyl trail. Lastly, an exciting trail, Sequoia, has been added close to the Campus at Saasveld. It meanders through massive, big California redwoods (sequoia’s). Other exiting new trails are Moose-A-Nice and Die Hark. All the trails can be seen at www.trailforks.com/ region/witfontein-15109/ and https://www. trailforks.com/region/saasveld-15145/ .

“THEN, I BUILT ABOUT 14 BRIDGES, OF WHICH MOST HAD TO BE REPLACED AFTER THE 2018 FIRES.”

You are the head builder at Hillbillies MTB club - what makes your club so unique and special? A unique feature is that membership fees are 95% spent on trail expenses. With a cheap R250 annual membership, a total of 154 dedicated mountain bike trails with a total distance of 185 km are maintained to environmentally sustainable methods. Note that this excludes forestry and access bakkie-roads in the George area. Many trail runners, hikers and dog walkers are also members of the Hillbillies MTB Club – they see membership as their contribution to pay for the upkeep of the trails. Further, with the forestry activities in the area, there is a lot of rides possible. A forestry estate typically has

600 km forest service roads and there is four such estates stretching through the GeorgeKnysna area. Another unique situation is that our trails and trail mapping on Trailforks enabled critical access for fire fighters during the prevention of the 2018 fires. Further (I think this is general for other clubs too?) it serves as a body that acts as the mouthpiece for MTB’ers to represent them with regards to riding access, maintaining relationships with landowners, security and spreading information for riders’ safety (forestry harvesting operations, etc.).

ABOVE: Building Rooikat berm RIGHT: Building final - Volunteer Luke on Rooikat Bridge


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 2

Witfontein


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 2 How many kilometres of trails have you built? Give-or-take a 16.2 km of freshly built trails. However, there was a lot of rebuilding after three incidents: The massive fires of 2018, the subsequent harvesting of the timber in 2019 and the massive wind damage in 2020 of both burnt trees and live trees. Then, I built about 14 bridges, of which most had to be replaced after the 2018 fires.

Are you a keen rider too? If so, does it help when building your own trails if you can ride them? Yes, I am keen to ride, and experience taught me that you need to harmonise the natural topography and features with the trail experience. The final corkscrew dropping down to the Garden Route Dam on the Moosea-Nice trail is an example.

your thoughts of being such an “oulike outjie”.

How big is your team and does each member have his own set of skills? My team consists of a lot of volunteers, that all chip in. Some adopted a trail, some help with chainsaws to clear trails and some build more trails. A local earthmoving contractor, Tippeton, helps a lot with G7 material. The Hillbillies Chairperson, Braam Pretorius, helps a lot with the operational assistance. My official team, called Trail Troops, consists of two persons. On a constant four days per week basis we have Lionel Pedro and on 1 - 2 days per week we have Morien Muller. Morien is the machine operator expert and Lionel is the trail shaping specialist, looking at the drainage, camber and berms.

What is your favourite Garden Route trail and why?

What are the biggest challenges of building on George soil?

Mania on the Garden Route Trail Park. Rob Dormehl did his magic in allowing the trail to flow. In the George area, my second most favourite trail is Sequoia. Stop underneath one of those giant Sequoias, look up and reconsider

Luckily, the soils differ a lot and therefore it is not boring! Saasveld trails has a lot of clay and roots. The stuff in impenetrable, though once it is tilled, it can be manipulated, and it compacts to a very hard and smooth surface. Witfontein has a

lovely deep loamy soil, and works easily, though compaction is not that good. Then there are lots of sandstone rocks, typical of the Cape Folded Mountain range.

“YES, I AM KEEN TO RIDE, AND EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME THAT YOU NEED TO HARMONISE THE NATURAL TOPOGRAPHY AND FEATURES WITH THE TRAIL EXPERIENCE.”

Did Corona/lockdown make trail building slower or impossible? For three weeks we could not do anything … officially. However, since the Hillbillies trails and trail mapping network were used extensively by fire fighters during the 2018 fires, it was agreed that we were critical to provide access to the plantations in order to fight fires. Lots of the trails are in the vicinity of residential houses. “So, when lockdown struck we convinced the local Working of Fire personnel that with the fire season

Manicured trails are a treat !


TRAILBLAZERS: EPISODE 2 starting in the Southern Cape, we could help them and be part of the solution. This enabled us to be classified as “critical services”. This way, we did maintenance on the forest roads, together with Working on Fire personnel. However, we veered off the roads and took care of the trails too. During Stage 4 of lockdown, forestry operations could proceed. We used that angle of forest protection to proceed on the trails.

Any specific area in the Southern Cape you would like to build some new trails? Being a homeowner at Buffelsbaai, I am partnering with my brother, Corrie, to build a few trails to enable trail users from Buffelsbaai to connect with other cycling areas, without using the dangerous and boring tar roads. There is a lot of sand, so this will be a major challenge.

Any advice for upcoming builders? A civil engineer once told me that road building involves three things: water, water and water. Think what the water will do and then after good rains go and inspect it. First do some maintenance on trails before you start to build a new trail. Or start with a short trail and monitor it well, while doing trail maintenance. Respect the soil, vegetation, and natural landscapes to enhance the adventure. Remember that someone needs to maintain your trail after you have left.

What is your favourite place to ride outside of George? The rugged and indistinct off-the-beaten-tracks stretching over various mountain ranges around Calitzdorp. Also, that rock face at Armageddon in Jonkershoek. How could my list miss the drop into the Umkomaas Valley? Lastly, I would love to see the new trails of the Aardvark Bioreserve in the Klein Karoo (Upper Garcia Pass area)

RICHARD MÜLLER For more trail info make sure you log onto www.hillbillies.co.za

Fast and flowy single track makes for tons of fun.



The new Eye Candy section allow photographers and budding amateur photographers to display a snippet of their talent. To have your images featured in F-Stop: Send us 5 images, include who we credit and a short backstory to sussed@fullsus.co.za



COAC H AS CYCLISTS, WE CAN GET EASILY BORED FROM REPEATING THE SAME ROUTINE. HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING MIGHT NOT BE EVERYONE’S CUP OF TEA, BUT THE BENEFITS ARE ENDLESS. WORDS BY BENOIT CAPOSTAGNO yclists will incorporate a variety of training sessions into their training plans to assist them in achieving peak performance. The evidence supporting the inclusion of highintensity interval training (HIIT) into a training programme in order to improve performance is well-established. HIIT is characterised by bouts of high-intensity work separated by periods of low-intensity exercise or complete rest. HIIT allows cyclists to accumulate more time at a high-intensity thereby providing a larger training stimulus or training stress to the body. Some cyclists may be hesitant to perform HIIT, due to the increased levels of physical discomfort, fatigue and high perception of effort. However, a short period of two to four weeks of training which includes two HIIT sessions per week can result in large improvements in performance compared to a similar amount of low-intensity training, highvolume training.

C

the spice of

life

OPTIMISING INTERVAL TRAINING The intensity of the HIIT training sessions is an important consideration when designing a programme. It is recommended that athletes try and accumulate as much time as possible at intensities close to their VO2max. Type II muscle

fibres appear to be recruited at intensities above 90% of VO2max and the intensity of the session should produce a high cardiac output in order to appropriately tax the cardiovascular system. HIIT intervals do not need to always be of a long duration. Supramaximal sprint intervals can also results in significant increases in endurance performance. Intervals as short as 30 seconds have been shown to be effective in improving endurance performance. These intervals require longer rest periods (4.5 minutes) to allow the athletes to recover and ensure that they can reach the target intensity during the next interval. The adaptations that result from low volume sprint training appear to occur on the cellular level with increases in mitochondria and enzyme activity, rather than in the cardiovascular system. Manipulating the duration and intensity of the work and rest periods alter the stimulus of the training session. Longer intervals of between three to five minutes appear to be most appropriate for endurance athletes, as these intervals promote both cardiovascular and muscular adaptations. Sprint interval training can still be prescribed to well-trained endurance athletes, after they have done a few weeks of longer duration intervals to alter the training stress.


COAC H Rest intervals are another important consideration when designing HIIT programmes. The goal of a HIIT session is to accumulate a larger amount of work at a high intensity compared to one long continuous effort. It is critical that the rest intervals are sufficient to allow the cyclist to repeatedly reach their target intensities of the subsequent intervals. If the intensity of the recovery period is too high, or the duration is too short, the accumulated fatigue from the previous interval(s) will prevent the cyclist from adequately performing in the subsequent intervals. Typical work to rest ratios (work:rest) are 2:1, 1:1 or 1:2. The intensity and duration of the intervals will influence the amount of rest required, but the session should

be designed to allow the athlete to reach the target intensity in all the intervals.

WHEN DESIGNING A HIGHINTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING SESSION, THE FOLLOWING FACTORS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED: + The intensity of each interval

+

The duration of each interval

+

The intensity of each rest period

+

The duration of each rest period

+

Total work completed {number of intervals x duration of intervals)

Exercise caution when adding HIIT sessions to your training, because more is not always better. Increasing the number of HIIT sessions won’t always benefit endurance performance and you should aim to include –two to three HIIT sessions per week into your training during the relevant training blocks. BENOIT CAPOSTAGNO

currently works for Science to Sport in Cape Town. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Cape Town and is investigating training adaptation and fatigue in cyclists. For more info: www.sciencetosport.com


E V E N T CA L E N DA R

NOVEMBER

JANUARY

WESTERN CAPE

GAUTENG 1 Tshwane Classic 6-7 Cullinan2Tonteldoos - The Cullinan to

12-15 36ONE MTB Challenge 13-15 To Hell and Back - CS Lewis said that “the road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” In this case, the road to the Hell is a rocky dirt road with steep slopes, sharp switchbacks, ups and downs, dropping a hair raising 3000 feet down into a valley. This race proudly is the first MTB stage race in South Africa. The views while riding on these historic roads are extraordinary, jaw-dropping and nail-biting all in one. It is known as the longest mountain pass in South Africa.

13-15 Ride the Cape 20-22 De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience

9-17 Freedom Challenge – Race to Cradock

MPUMALANGA 6 Alzu Tour de Farm – A total charity race that raises funds for underprivileged children and youth within the local community. 13 – 15 Sabie Xperience – A well-organised stage race that is both affordable and fun. The Sabie Xperience is a race that you can complete no matter your skill level. The event caters to everyone and is family friendly.

CANCELLED

DECEMBER GAUTENG 13 Midvaal 100 Miler - Midvaal 100 Miler is

EASTERN CAPE

KEY:

Tonteldoos MTB Ultra Single Stage event will take riders and their support crews over 260km of unmarked district roads. The journey starts from Cullinan in Gauteng to Tonteldoos, a small settlement in the Mpumalanga Highlands. This race takes your through unspoilt scenery from the oldmine village on an open gravel road that will both challenge you mentally and physically.

a prestigious and exciting new event in Southern Gauteng. Consisting of a figure eight route loop of 80km each.

KZN 3-5 KAP sani2c – The KAP sani2c is a three-day, 265km mountain bike stage race which takes place in the south-eastern province of KZN.

POSTPONED

SCHEDULED

WESTERN CAPE 16 Attakwas Extreme – South Africa’s toughest one-day mountain bike race. This is an extreme race through the desert and mountains of the Klein Karoo.

EASTERN CAPE 23 Trans Baviaans 30 Trans Baniaans Repeat

MPUMALANGA 29 Barberton XCM MTB Challenge - This “not so delicate” race will be a rude awakening for those who overindulged in eating all the Festive Season treats rather than spending some time on the saddle. The race is open to cyclists of all ages, shapes and sizes, unfit, fit and super fit! The race will consist of five routes.


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