Records Tumble at the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race

The 2018 Trans Baviaans Race, wrapped up with prize giving at the Fountains Mall on Sunday the 12th of August – but the racing action had concluded well over twelve hours earlier before the last light had faded over the Baviaanskloof. A consistent tail wind, smooth road conditions and a searing ride by DSV Pro Cycling ensured records tumbled throughout the categories in the fifteenth edition of the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world.

Timothy Hammond leads Ben Melt Swanepoel up the MAC in pursuit of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit in the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race. The Insect Science/Garmin team past the DSV Pro Cycling riders after confusion leaving Check Point 7, but the teams were awarded the joint victory. Photo by Jacques Marais.

There was drama in the men’s race, outright dominance in the women’s and a legacy sealing victory in the mixed; as the racing categories were wrapped up within nine hours of the event’s start. Never have so many records been set in one event and the new men’s course record is all the more remarkable, given the teams setting it made a wrong turn.

 

The race, which started in Willowmore on Saturday morning, was agitated from the off by the DSV Pro Cycling team of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit. “Nobody really thought it was possible to go from the gun, so we kind of wanted to prove them wrong” Du Toit explained. The initial attack by DSV was followed by the Honingcraft Five duo, Dirkus Coetzee and Alwyn Steenkamp. Behind; Insect Science/Garmin’s Timothy Hammond and Ben Melt Swanepoel worked with William Simpson Cars’ Mike Posthumus and Derrin Smith to ensure the gap between the leaders and the chasing peloton remained at one minute.

Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit spent nearly 200km in the lead of the Trans Baviaans Race, after a brave attack in the opening kilometres. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Heading into the Baviaanskloof Reserve a puncture for Steenkamp cost Honingcraft Five the chance to contend for victory. This left Heyns and Du Toit alone at the front, but over Baviaans Back the Fangs and MAC the chasing peloton gradual broke apart until Hammond and Swanepoel where pursuing on their own, with Posthumus and Smith also isolated in third on the road. The leading three teams were separated by just four minutes heading into the decisive final 30 kilometres.

 

Disaster struck for all three the leading teams just after the final check point when they were diverted them from the unmarked Trans Baviaans route onto a permanently marked route in the Zuurbron Bike Park. Hammond and Swanepoel were first to realise that they were off the route and back-tracked, managing to maintain their position ahead of Posthumus and Smith. Heyns and Du Toit however were not as fortunate and ended up losing their lead. Posthumus and Smith also regained the correct route ahead of the DSV pairing. “Everyone got lost in Zuurbron” Posthumus explained. “Then heading home we saw Gert (Heyns) and Arno (du Toit) [riding through] the bush so we waited for them and rode home for them” he elaborated.

 

Given the nature of the obstruction and the time losses all the teams suffered, the race commissaire adjudged the obstruction in the route to have hindered riders’ ability to determine the correct route and thus awarded the victory jointly to DSV Pro Cycling and Insect Science/Garmin. The unfortunate outcome should not detract from the amazing rides both teams put in however. “They (Heyns and Du Toit) went from the start. It was an incredibly brave ride, I’ve never seen anyone go from the start like that” Hammond praised his rivals, upon crossing the finish line first.

The MAC, or Mother of All Climbs, is one of the primary obstacles between Willowmore and Jeffreys Bay. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The Insect Science/Garmin combination’s ride was likewise one for the history books; as they kept DSV in sight from the Fangs to the turn off to check point seven. Hammond was the reigning course record holder, for the route which finishes at the Fountains Mall, but he and Swanepoel smashed over twenty five minutes off that time. The pair stopped the clock in an astonishing time of seven hours, fifty one minutes and six seconds – a time which was retrospectively also awarded to Heyns and Du Toit.

 

The third placed team of Posthumus and Smith crossed the line shortly after Heyns and Du Toit, having gallantly declined to contest the sprint – given their rivals’ loss of time in the confusion after check point seven. The William Simpson Cars’ riders still managed to beat the sun too though, breaking the eight hour mark by three minutes.

 

The record breaking feats were even more remarkable in the women’s race were Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill took fifty eight minutes off Ralph and Amy McDougall’s 2016 record time. The Galileo Risk riders rode a flawless race. “Everything went perfectly today” Hill said afterwards. “We always stayed slightly uncomfortable. We agreed on a scale system before the race, and we kept communicating, staying at a level eight” she explained.

 

The pair has now defended their Trans Baviaans title as a team while Ralph added a third successive Race victory to her palmarès. They were keen to play up the event to their fellow elite women’s mountain bikers too. “Women’s mountain biking has really picked up in the last couple of years” Ralph started. “And we love the competition between the ladies, and actually we’re all friends. So it would be nice if they could come and join us, we could have a more competitive race and then we could all have a beer together at the end. It would be marvellous if other ladies could come give us some gears” the Galileo Risk champion enthused.

 

In the mixed category the seemingly undefeatable combination of Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer, riding in the colours of Ultimate Cycling Knysna, continued their undefeated run at the Trans Baviaans. The 2018 Race marks their sixth successive category victory and their second as a two person team, having won the first four with the able assistance of Johan Labuschagne. “I felt like I died seven times out there, especially on the Fangs,” de Villiers half-laughed half-grimaced after securing the victory. “Neill (Ungerer) was a machine out there” she concluded, heaping praise on her partner. The pair’s time of eight hours, twenty three minutes and nineteen seconds was twenty minutes faster than their own previous course record.

 

Despite blitzing the course they were not really aware of just how fast their time was until the final phases of the race. “We went through this last little dip, at Mooidraai, and it was still light. I thought: ‘what’s going on here? Did we start earlier’” Ungerer revealed. “It was a long day. But a fast day” he concluded with a smile, clearly ecstatic to be able to put his feet up early ahead of his second attempt at the 230 kilometre long course next weekend – in the Trans Baviaans Repeat.

 

Riding into the night, in the depth of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve where light pollution is non-existent, is one of the highlights of the Trans Baviaans for the non-elite riders. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Results: Trans Baviaans Race

Men:

=1. Insect Science/Garmin (Ben Melt Swanepoel & Timothy Hammond) 07:51:06

=1. DSV Pro Cycling (Gert Heyns & Arno du Toit) 07:51:06

  1. William Simpson Cars (Mike Posthumus & Derrin Smith) 07:57:00
  2. Bianchi (Jac-Louis van Wyk & Gert Fouche) 08:18:40
  3. Bikelane/SPH Transport (Steven Philip Hayes & Andreas Studer) 08:21:47

 

Mixed:

  1. Ultimate Cycling Knysna (Yolande de Villiers & Neill Ungerer) 08:23:19
  2. East Coast Cycles (Kevin Taljaard & Siska van der Berg) 09:14:44
  3. Enduroplanet (Christo Roos & Tanya Kirstein) 09:41:01
  4. Urcycling (Pierre Smith & Mariske Mclean) 10:19:04
  5. Siverfish (Tania & Werner Visser) 10:24:31

 

Women’s:

  1. Galileo Risk (Theresa Ralph & Sarah Hill) 08:58:02
  2. Riding for Jason (Sarah van Heerden & Cindy Theunissen) 11:41:44
  3. Long Life (Marle Kotze & Naomi Visser) 12:30:33
  4. Cycles Direct (Gina Wills & Sannelize Janse van Rensburg) 13:02:29
  5. Mud & Muck (Tilly Ferreira & Marie-Daleen Serfontein) 13:36:15

 

To view the full results from the 2018 Trans Baviaans Race click here.

 

 

Ciovita Apparel to beat the Winter Chill

With snow on the mountains this year’s Trans Baviaans Race looks set to be a chilly one. So we got our friends at Ciovita to put together a list of must have items and advice, to go along with their Trans Baviaans apparel, which will see you through the Baviaanskloof without losing any appendages to frost bite.

Layer Up

Wearing a base layer will help lock in your body heat and keep your core warm by wicking away moisture from your skin.

 

Click on your preferred cut to take a look at the Women’s and Men’s base layers on the Ciovita website.

Arms & Legs

Arm and leg warmers are the way to go at the start if you are unsure of how hot you might get through the middle of the day. You can always whip them off at a check point if you start to heat up, or in the case of the arm warmers just allow them to bunch up around your wrists. Just don’t drop them in a check point box, because you’ll definitely need them when it gets dark!

Aside from the Trans Baviaans branded arm warmers you’ll also be able to purchase Ciovita’s standard Arm and Leg warmers at registration on Friday.

Go Long

A long sleeve jersey in your check point three or four box, depending on where you expect to be when night falls, will provide you with a bit more warmth for the cold winter night. It’ll also help you start the night phase of the race psychologically on a high being warm in a fresh top. A fresh base layer is another winner ahead of the night phase, as is a set of leg warmers if you don’t already have them on.

 

Ciovita have you covered here with long sleeve jerseys, in Men’s and Women’s cuts.

Multi-Functionality

Now we would obviously love to see 1 250 riders rolling out of Willowmore decked from head to toe in Trans Baviaans kit. It would look great in the photos and to be fair you’d look great because we think Ciovita knocked it out of the park with their designs for this year too. But we know that if you can only buy one emergency cold beating item then the Vindex 2-in-1 Jacket/Gilet should be it.

 

Available in a Men’s and Women’s cut it is a windproof and water repellent jacket with, on the bike, removable sleeves. If you can handle the cold start you could save weight by packing your sleeves into a check point box. Just remember check point four’s boxes depart overnight; so if you make the wrong choice and pack your sleeves in it you could be in for a cold first 140 kilometres.

Handy Extras

A vita-tube/buff for the day and fresh one packed into your night time transition box is the way to roll. And if you struggle with cold ears you should also consider a Trans Baviaans branded peak cap/casquette to wear under your helmet.

 

Though Ciovita don’t produce them, yet, overshoes are also a winner. They’ll keep the icy wind off your toes. Long finger gloves are likewise a must, though unless you really struggle with the cold you probably won’t need proper winter riding gloves.

 

Supporter & Casual Wear

Live the Trans Baviaans off the bike or show your support for the riders taking part by rocking out post-race, or during if you’re a super supporter, in a Ciovita Trans Baviaans Hoodie or Soft Shell Jacket.

Also Available at Registration

At registration for the Trans Baviaans in Willowmore on Friday you’ll also be able to purchase sunglasses from AXUM SPORT – we strongly recommend a pair with photochromic lenses which start completely clear, so you can wear them throughout the night too – and Extreme Lights. We sincerely hope you are not panic buying lights at this point in time, but if you are give Extreme Lights a shout; they’ll be able to sort you out. Socks from Versus Socks, Ride Farr goodies seeing that you will be riding FARR, last minute stuff from Cycleworx. and some great memorabilia Trans branded products all over. Also on display will be a range of Trans Baviaans proven mountain bikes from Momsen Bicycles, including the all new Vipa Ultra.

Stacked Elite Field Prepared to do battle at the Trans Baviaans Race

On Saturday the 11th of August just over 1 250 riders will line up for the Trans Baviaans Race, in the 15th edition of the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world. Headlining the field are past champions, members of the South African team to the World Marathon Championships and the newly crowned South African marathon champion. Mountain biking fanatics will be able to follow the action, as it unfolds live, on the race’s social media handles and the event website: www.transbaviaans.co.za.

The 2018 Trans Baviaans will feature a number of familiar faces at the sharp end of the field including Neill Ungerer, Yolande de Villiers, Mike Posthumus and Timothy Hammond. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The men’s race is always fiercely contested at the Trans Baviaans with pre-race favourites and the inevitable dark horse team or two duking it out over the 230 kilometre long course. The 2018 field of favourites includes defending champion and current record holder Timothy Hammond, South African marathon champion Gert Heyns, the perennial nearly men of the Trans Baviaans Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert, the 2017 dark horses Hansie Joubert and Jaco Ferreira, and a series of experienced campaigners including Riccardo Stermin, Adreas Studer, Mike Posthumus, Derrin Smith and Ben Melt Swanepoel.

 

Given their recent results it is hard to look past Heyns and Arno du Toit, who will be riding as DSV Pro Cycling, for the title of favourites. Heyns was crowned South African marathon champion in July has ridden the Trans Baviaans before, but only socially, while his teammate Du Toit is making his debut. “I don’t really see the national jersey as adding any extra pressure as I feel me and Arno (du Toit) are still very new to this racing format,” Heyns said ahead of the race. “We have a lot to learn so in a way I don’t think we should necessarily be considered as favourites. The Trans Baviaans is very different to any other marathon race and I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to my first race in the new jersey” he concluded, playing down his and Du Toit’s chances.

Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph have their sights set on beating their 2017 winning time by at least an hour. Photo by Jacques Marais.

A pair who calmly own the pre-race favourites tag are the Insect Science/Garmin team of Hammond and Swanepoel. “I do feel a bit calmer with each year I race the Trans Baviaans, I know what needs to be done now. That being said, it doesn’t make it any easier on the day” confessed the course record holder and defending champion. “This year has an incredibly strong field which is exciting so I don’t think we will be the targets specifically. It’s the type of race where you should ride your own pace, if you let someone else dictate your pace your wheels will fall off later on. Jaco (Ferreira) and Hansie (Joubert) showed that last year when they nearly rode back to us in the final 20km’s” Hammond elaborated.

 

Picking up the explanation Swanepoel continued: “Tim and I have been looking for an opportunity to race together for a while. So I am glad things allowed us to race Trans Baviaans as a team. Tim’s experience at the event will be a big asset to us because the Trans Baviaans is all about teamwork. When you race 230 kilometres all members of a team will have highs and lows, so I guess it’s all about surviving the lows and capitalising on the highs to bring out the best in each individual.”

Gert Heyns will be riding the Trans Baviaans competitively for the first time this year. Photo by Jacques Marais.

A quartet who know all about the challenges of managing the physical, psychological and especially mechanical difficulties of the race as a team are the Ellsworth ASG squad of Kachelhoffer, Seyffert, Armand Swanepoel and HB Kruger. Three of the four completed the Trans Baviaans together last year and the addition of HB Kruger, who has been selected to represent South Africa at the Marathon World Championships in September, has further strengthened the team. “Trans Baviaans being a 230 kilometer MTB race is all about tactics. It starts with who you select as a partner. This year we will be a four-man team,” Kachelhoffer stated. “It’s the first time HB (Kruger) will do the race, but after his second place finish in the African jersey competition at the Absa Cape Epic, we are confident he will be a big asset to our team. Last year we got a puncture and lost valuable time. Though we know having four riders in a team, means we have to look after eight wheels and the chances of a flat wheel are greater; but in the same breath, having four riders also means we have more depth should conditions on the day demand more team work” the Ellsworth ASG rider expounded.

 

The 2017 runners up Joubert and Ferreira come into the race with more attention focused on them, but also with more experience and better preparation. “Fitness most certainly plays a role, but it becomes a mental game as the distances increase” Ferreira responded when asked how he and Joubert manage to compete with full-time elite riders. “It’s about how well you pace yourself and manage your body throughout the entire 230 kilometres, compared to only a ‘sprint’ 50-80km event. Knowing the route most certainly adds an advantage as well” he smiled.

Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer are no strangers to the top step of the mixed category podium. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Hoping to exploit their experience and route knowledge to the full will be the PowerBar team of Stermin and Studer. The pair has won the Repeat multiple times over the last few years, but work schedules have never allowed them to match themselves against the more competitive field of the Race. It will be interesting to see if their familiarity with the event provides them with a racing edge on Saturday the 11th. Another fascinating battle within the race is the one between coach and athlete, which plays out between Posthumus and Heyns. The Team William Simpson duo of Posthumus and Smith will be eager to out-do, the highly regarded sport scientist, Posthumus’s athlete Heyns and his partner Du Toit. “I also expect Derrin (Smith) and Mike (Posthumus) to be fast and I’ll definitely feel some pressure not to be beaten by my own coach” Heyns laughed.

 

In the women’s race the defending champions Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill, riding for Galileo Risk, are out to knock an hour off their 2017 winning time. “Trans Baviaans is a magical race that is never the same” the three time winner Ralph said. “I have experienced a wet Trans, a dry Trans and a very bumpy Trans. All provided their own challenges. It is possibly those jaffels, at check point seven, that keep bringing me back though. This year Sarah (Hill) and I have a goal to better our time by an hour and hopefully we will do that as Sarah has grown from strength to strength over the past year and we will definitely be much faster” she elaborated.

Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert (in the Altech Autopage kit) placed second in the 2016 Trans Baviaans and fifteenth last year after significant tyre related drama. Photo by Jacques Marais.

As in the women’s race the mixed category sees one team stand head and shoulders above the rest as race favourites: the Ultimate Cycling Knysna team of Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer. “The mixed category is very difficult especially for the woman” De Villiers, who was also recently selected to represent South Africa at the Marathon World Championships, revealed. “I am usually in my red zone all the way just trying to hold on to Neill (Ungerer’s) wheel. But I’m very fortunate to have Neill as a partner, because he is always looking after me asking me if I am all right and if the pace is good. Communication is very important and telling each other when you go through a bad patch” she advised to less experienced Trans Baviaans riders.

 

Racers and riders hoping to simply finish in a good time alike will be pleased to know that the weather conditions for the Trans Baviaans Race are looking advantageous for a fast time. There is no rain predicted throughout the event; while in Willowmore and the Baviaanskloof the expected temperatures range from 5 to 17 degrees centigrade, with a light to gentle breeze from the north west blowing throughout the morning and afternoon. In the evening once the teams have crossed into the coastal region approaching Jeffreys Bay the mercury is predicted to read between 18-14 degrees, with a light tail wind blowing from the north east.

The famously powerful Mike Posthumus will be teaming up with Derrin Smith as Posthumus takes one of his charges, Gert Heyns. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Riders are encouraged to keep an eye on the race’s social media channels and the EcoBound Explorer mobile application, for iPhone and Android devices, for updates on the road and weather conditions closer to the time. While mountain biking fans are reminded that they will be able to follow the action live on the race website, www.transbaviaans.co.za. Alternatively they can share in the Trans Baviaans experience by liking the Facebook page, Trans Baviaans, following the Instagram handle, @transbaviaans, and the EcoBound Twitter handle @EcoBoundMTB.

Saving energy and hiding from the wind is the aim of the game in the first 100 kilometres of the Trans Baviaans. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Trans Baviaans Founder Makes His Debut in 15th Edition

Wikus van der Walt is the patriarch of the EcoBound family. From left: William, Alexander (on William’s shoulders) Marelize, Nina, Terence, Maia (being held by Terance), Wikus, Elmarie, Carmen, Lukas (being held by Zane) and Zane . Photo by Jacques Marais.

Wikus van der Walt – the founder of EcoBound Mountain Events, the organisers of the iconic To Hell and Back and Trans Baviaans mountain bike races – will be making his Trans Baviaans debut in the 15th edition of the famous ultra-endurance race, when he rides the Repeat on the 18th of August. To make his traverse of the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site and the 230 kilometres of the race route a little easier van der Walt will be taking part on the new Momsen Vipa Ultra.

The new Momsen Vipa Ultra (first look)

Over the years van der Walt has poured his passion for mountain biking into event organising and ensuring others get to experience his twin loves for the sport and the environment in which it takes place. Since 1995, when the first To Hell and Back took place, he has been a pivotal figure in the local mountain biking community. While his three daughters were at school van der Walt and his wife, Elmarie, were exceptionally active in the organising of age group racing – particularly in the Southern Cape.

Now with the Trans Baviaans running like a well-oiled machine he can delegate to his trusted team of children, their spouses and long-time crew members, and take the opportunity to experience one of the events he created for himself. He will be setting out from Willowmore alongside his partner for the initial To Hell and Back trial ride, 24 years ago, John Sharples and MP Heyns, father to one of the race favourites Gert Heyns. Do not be fooled into thinking that van der Walt is a stranger to riding a bicycle through the Baviaanskloof however.

Wikus van der Walt and his famous beard, have been at the forefront of the South African mountain biking community since the inaugural To Hell and Back stage race in 1995. Photo by Jacques Marais.

He is a firm believer in the principle that an event should never take in a trail he has not ridden himself. Over the years he has ridden through the Baviaans numerous times on reconnaissance rides and most recently while undertaking the Freedom Challenge in June this year; though that crossing of the Baviaanskloof was done in the opposite direction and on a heavily loaded bicycle. Those recent memories and his new purposely endurance-designed Momsen Vipa Ultra are sure to make his Trans Baviaans ride a far more enjoyable experience.

Wikus van der Walt and his fellow Trans Baviaans riders will need to conquer the Mother of All Climbs en route from Willowmore to Jeffreys Bay. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Designed and developed by EcoBound’s bicycle partners, Momsen Bikes, the Vipa Ultra is a complete reengineering of the original Vipa full suspension mountain bike platform. Showcasing the modern trend for full suspension race bikes to feature longer top tubes, slacker head angles and more capable performance in technical terrain the Vipa Ultra is not only lighter than its predecessor the Vipa Race but is also more comfortable (now with 100mm rear wheel travel) and confidence inspiring. Key to an ultra-endurance event like the Trans Baviaans is the Vipa Ultra’s ablity to fit two bottle cages inside the main triangle and the presence of integrated storage compartments in both the top and down tubes. It is a bike that not only lives up to the Momsen motto of “Forged in the untamed” but is superbly equipped to conquer the Baviaanskloof. For more info on the Momsen Vipa Ultra you can go to their website www.momsenbikes.com or follow them on social media: Facebook & Instagram

The production models of the Momsen Vipa Ultra have been kept carefully under wraps, but their predecessors the Vipa 2 proudly sported the contours of the Baviaanskloof on their top tubes. Photo by Jacques Marais.

“After 15 years of organising the event, I look forward to taking part in my first official Trans Baviaans, to experience the highs and lows of the event with my fellow riders,” van der Walt said. “I’m especially looking forward to doing this event on the brand new Vipa Ultra as it is a bike made and developed for this type of riding” he concluded.

The 2018 Trans Baviaans takes place over two weekends in August, with the Race starting on Saturday the 11th and the Repeat the following weekend on the 18th. Mountain biking fans can follow Wikus van der Walt and his fellow riders’ progress throughout both events online at www.transbaviaans.co.za or on social media, by liking the Facebook page, Trans Baviaans, following the Instagram handle, @transbaviaans, and following the EcoBound Twitter handle @EcoBoundMTB.

Preparing for the Biggest Ultra-Endurance Race of the Year

The Trans Baviaans is without a doubt South Africa’s iconic ultra-endurance mountain bike race. In a country where ultra-endurance events attract thousands of participants the Baviaans holds the torch as mountain biking’s Comrades Marathon. Now in its fifteenth year the 230 kilometre event takes place over two weekends, with races starting on the 11th and the 18th of August.

The annual Trans Baviaans mountain bike race covers 230 kilometres from Willowmore to Jeffreys Bay, via the remote Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Billed as the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world, it challenges riders to cycle from Willowmore on the edge of the Great Karoo, through the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site and to the coastal town of Jeffreys Bay. The 230 kilometre route includes 2 843 meters of climbing, with ascents like the Mother of All Climbs and Neverender having gained infamy of their own, beyond the event at large.

Boasting two events, each attracting over 1 250 riders, the Trans Baviaans sells out in a matter of days – making it undoubtedly the largest ultra-endurance mountain biking event in the country. It is also made unique by the fact that riders take part in teams. The teams range in size from two to four individuals, but ride as a team they must – to ensure each person has someone looking out for them throughout the rugged journey from the hinterland to the Indian Ocean.

South Africa’s top ultra-endurance riders will be pitting themselves against each other and the challenging route in the first event, dubbed the Race on the 11th of August. Photo by Jacques Marais.

For the fifteenth edition of the famous event riders had the choice of entering the Race or the Repeat. The Race starts in Willowmore on Saturday the 11th of August at 10:00 in the morning, while the Repeat begins, at the same time and place, seven days later. South Africa’s most competitive ultra-endurance riders will be lining up in the normally quiet main road of Willowmore to do battle to be crowned the Kings and Queens of the Baviaans in the first edition. The second edition is a little more relaxed, though riders can be sure there will still be a racing element; but without as many elite riders on the start line – the bunches tent to traverse the first 150 kilometres a few kilometres per hour slower.

With the Trans Baviaans starting at 10:00am in Willowmore all the riders will be cycling into the dark, which adds to the unique experience and the challenge of the event. Photo by Jacques Marais.

The good news for one and all participating in the 2018 Trans Baviaans is that the roads leading to the reserve have been recently graded. This should ensure faster times at the front of the field, and perhaps new record times if the weather plays along. More importantly it should ensure a pleasurable day out for the bulk of the riders, who ride the Baviaans for the experience and the camaraderie.

With the events now rapidly approaching all that remains is to nervously keep an eye on the weather forecast and to complete the final pre-race preparations. Fortunately EcoBound does just that on their social media channels and on the race website, www.transbaviaans.co.za. Be sure to like the Facebook page, Trans Baviaans, and follow the Instagram handle, @transbaviaans, for all the news in the build-up to the event. If you are not riding one of this year’s Trans Baviaans events, but would like to live vicariously through those that are, you can follow the racing action on the EcoBound Twitter handle @EcoBoundMTB or on the race’s website.

 

Stay tuned to the Trans Baviaans social media channels in the built-up to the race for more information on the route and weather conditions. Photo by Jacques Marais.

For more information visit www.transbaviaans.co.za, alternatively contact Zane Schmahl (zane@ecobound.co.za | 072 076 8623) or Seamus Allardice (seamus@seamusallardice.com | 082 748 7772).

Don’t Panic: Trans Baviaans Is Just Around The Corner

The Trans Baviaans, 24 hour MTB Marathon, is rapidly approaching and while there is virtually no time left for improving your fitness there is a great deal of preparation you can still do to ensure you have a successful ride. Whether you are lining up for the Race on the 11th of August or the Repeat on the 18th you will still have 230 kilometres of rugged Eastern Cape gravel roads to cover, including 2 843 significant meters of elevation gain. So here are a few tips for ensuring you a prepared for the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world…

  1. Go Long at Least Once

While you cannot really improve your fitness much between now and the event you can get your body and mind used to long hours in the saddle. So schedule a last long training ride, of at least 150 kilometres, to simulate how you will feel during Trans Baviaans. It will also give you the opportunity to find tune your nutrition plan, and remember never eat or drink anything for the first time during the big race, you have to train your gut like you do your muscles to perform on race day.

 

  1. Final Bike Prep

Give your bike a pre-race check-up. Hopefully at this late stage it won’t need a major service; but to be on the safe side make sure everything is turning smoothly, that your tubeless sealant is topped up and that all bolts are tightened up appropriately. Also be sure to check that your spare tube is puncture free and that your multi-tool, CO2 adapter, CO2 bombs, tubeless tyre plugs and spare chain link are all packed.

3. Gear Check

Do you have everything you will need gear wise for Trans Baviaans? Download the official gear check list here and ensure that you have all the kit, regardless of what the weather throws at you. Included in the gear check list are essentials like bike lights, cycling kit, nutrition and more.

 

4. Plan Your Strategy

Don’t be too rigid in your planning because it’s a mountain bike race after-all, anything can and probably will happen. But put plans in place for your ideal and worse case scenarios. Plus pre-pack your checkpoint boxes into large zip-lock bags so you can minimise your post-registration hassle. It’ll also help to print out the Route Profile and tape it to your top tube.

Night riding like never before…

5. Pack Right

  • Pack for warm, wet and cold weather. Make your final decision on race day but remember to add cold weather gear to your checkpoint 4 box regardless.
  • Pre-pack your race day nutrition. If you plan on putting bars, gels, whole food or a sports drink concentrate in your checkpoint boxes pack all the necessary products into a clearly marked zip-lock bag for each checkpoint box.
  • Double check. Make sure you have all the essentials, by cross referencing the official gear check list, which you can download here.

6. Reduce the Stress

Get to Willomore early, register and check-in to your accommodation. Have a hearty, early supper, of easily digestible and familiar foods before trying to get a good night’s rest. If you struggle to fall asleep don’t stress it, try to remain relaxed and visualise the challenge ahead. Just lying relaxed in bed will ensure you’re more well rested for race day than if you spend the night tossing and turning trying in vain to get to sleep. (If you’re staying in the hostel ear plugs are a good idea too!)

Pre-Race fun or nerves?

7. Wake Up Early

With the Trans Baviaans starting at 10:00 you have plenty of time to eat and digest a good breakfast, but don’t waste your morning either. Get up early, eat breakfast and then check in your boxes if you are sending boxes to checkpoints two and three.

8. Kill Time in Willowmore

This will be less of an issue than you think but if you are struggling for something to do take a very slow pedal down the main drag and check out the town. Or settle in with a newspaper. Just remember to avoid too much coffee, it’s a diuretic and can play havoc with a stressed stomach too, so rather use the time to hydrate with a watered down fruit juice.

9. Line Up to Go Time

From 09:00 you can start collecting your race token, which will be marked at each checkpoint, and file into the start chute. At 09:45 the race briefing will take place and at 10:00 the Trans Baviaans starts.

10. Early Kays

Remember, save energy. Every calorie you expend early on is one you won’t have for later when you’re climbing MAC or Neverender. Someone has to sit at the front of the group, but try to ensure it’s not you – or at least not you for too long.

11. The Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve

Once you hit the reserve the going gets tougher, this is what you saved energy for. The climb to Baviaans Back at 115 kilometres in could be a shock to the system, but the Fangs at 130 kilometres certainly will be. Just after the second Fang the Mother of All Climbs starts (Check it out on Stava), save energy for it. The main part of the climb is about 5 kilometres long and averages just below double figures in gradient, but be warned there are sections which ramp up briefly to over 20% and longer drags at over 10%. The surface of MAC is better than ever this year though, with Eastern Cape Parks having laid concrete strips up the climb; just don’t drop off the concrete onto the old eroded jeep track surface.

12. The Big Dipper

At Bergplaas you’ll reach the all-important checkpoint 4. It’s here that most riders aim to be before it gets dark. Remember Bergplaas is located off the main road, so hang a left to the check point about 3 kilometres after the King and Queen of the Mountain hot spot. Descending the Big Dipper at night can be daunting, but if you have an Extreme Lights Ultimate+ or Endurance+ light you’ll be thankful for their wide beams which cast light through the corners as well at a focal point straight ahead.

13. Beyond the Baviaanskloof

Once out of the nature reserve the road surfaces improve once more, but by now you’ll probably be too tired to notice the difference. This is where your mental strength and team work will really come to the fore. Prepare to suffer here and promise yourself now that you won’t quit. Once over the Neverender at 195 kilometres the major battles are won.

14. Final Tips

  • Eat, Eat, Eat. Keep putting back those calories
  • Drink, Drink, Drink. Keep hydrating, especially if it gets colder and your thirst response drops off. You’ll still need the fluids.
  • Don’t faff. Don’t waste time at the checkpoints, get in and get out. Have a plan for what you’ll need at each checkpoint and stick to it.
  • Save energy for the end. The final 5 kilometres to the Fountains Mall in Jefferys Bay are now on a singletrack next to the railway line. Don’t expect a smooth tar run in to town.
  • Stick together and Enjoy it. The Trans Baviaans is a team race and hopefully you’re riding it with friends, so stay together and enjoy the experience.

15. Stay Updated

Keep yourself updated in the build up to the Trans Baviaans by following the event on Facebook and Instagram, or EcoBound on Twitter. Your supporters at home or meeting you at checkpoint 5 will be able to follow the race live, over both weekends, by following those social media handles or by watching online at www.transbaviaans.co.za.

The Start!

For more information visit www.transbaviaans.co.za, alternatively contact Zane Schmahl (zane@ecobound.co.za | 072 076 8623) or Seamus Allardice (seamus@seamusallardice.com | 082 748 7772).

Trans Talks – The Big Cities

The Big Cities of our country was up next for the Trans Talk Roadshow, but first an “intimate session” with the boys from Pietermaritzburg in Greg Minnaar Cycles. It was a small group of people but a good talk with lots of questions and discussion on the Trans Baviaans.

Greg Minnaar bikes are all on display at his shop

Centurion, a predicted 150 people for the evening, the biggest Trans Talk yet at The Bicycle Company. Johan Labuschagne gave some insight on his experience of racing the Trans Baviaans as a multiple title winner of the race in his own shop. Polar once again delivered with an excellent insight to training for this event.

The Gauteng area saw more Trans Talks as stops where made in Klerksdorp at Tailwind Cycles and in Johannesburg at Melow Velo Cycles.

Some new stuff revealed at Melow Velo

Bloemfontein was a big surprise with over 80 people for the Free State Capital, the talk was done in Afrikaans in true “Vrystaat” style.

Full selection of ice cold Darling Brew’s

It was Cape Town Cycle Tour week in the Cape and the Trans Talks kicked of with Stellenbosch on the Tuesday evening at Extreme Lights offices. Charl from Extreme lights added value with a quick demo on the lights!

Polar and Extreme lights collaborated to demonstrate a solution for your GPS battery life / run time! This is an ideal setup for the Trans Baviaans, taking into account that the route is not marked, its a 24hr race, you need lights and that Polar is the only unit we know of that will navigate while plugged into a power source!

Cape Town at Revolution Cycles was the last stop of the “Big City” Trans Talk tour.

Only two Trans Talks are left for the tour with home town George and Knysna this week.

15 March 2017 Knysna Knysna Cycle Works
16 March 2017 George Coimbra Cycles

The Trans Talk initiative has grown from strength to strength and has become an valuable part of this iconic mountain bike race!

First Round – Trans Talk 2017

The Trans Talks in the Eastern Cape region 2017.

The first round of Trans Talks has been very well received in Port Elizabeth and East London last week. Port Elizabeth saw double the number of people from the previous year and The Bike & Brew was jam packed with 90% of the mountain bikers being Trans Baviaans rookies. This made for a very attentive crowd as Wikus van der Walt explained the story of how it all started, Harald Zumpt from Polar gave everyone a sigh of relieve with the valuable tips on training for the 230km route and Nick Cape from PowerBar explained the importance of nutrition.

East London Cycles hosted the first Trans Talk in the “Slum” town after a request from the local riders. “The amount of riders that showed up for the talk on a Friday evening amazed us” said Zane Schmahl from Ecobound.  Some very interesting questions was asked and the Ice Cold Darling Brew went down well as everything MTB was discussed.

The rest of the Trans Talk Tour schedule is below, all evenings are set to start at 19:00 and you need to RSVP with carmen@ecobound.co.za

7 Feb 2017 Pietermaritzburg Greg Minaar Cycles
15 Feb 2017 Centurion The Bicycle Company
16 Feb 2017 Klerksdorp Tailwind Cycles
17 Feb 2017 Johannesburg Mellow Velo
22 Feb 2017 Bloemfontein Cycle World
7 March 2017 Stellenbosch Extreme Lights
8 March 2017 Cape Town Revolution Cycles
15 March 2017 Knysna Knysna Cycle Works
16 March 2017 George Coimbra Cycles

 

Trans Talk Port Elizabeth


Polar Trans Baviaans competition being entered


The Trans Baviaans Route Profile being studied 


The mountain bikers of Port Elizabeth


The Ciovita Trans Baviaans 2017 kit being fitted


You can enter for the Polar Trans Baviaans competition and win a Polar V650 or M400 follow this link

 

East London Cycles



Momsen Bikes being checked out 

Trans Baviaans Event #1 Race Report Video

Trans Baviaans Event #1 2016 Press Release

Luus and Stelling Claim Trans Baviaans Victory with a Tactical Masterstroke

Trans Baviaans first timer Lourens Luus teamed up with old hand Billy Stelling to successful effect as the PowerBar 1 pairing rode to Trans Baviaans victory on Saturday 13 August. The race was the first of two weekends of Trans Baviaans action and joining Luus and Stelling on the top step of the podium were; Yolandi de Villiers, Johan Labuschagne and Neill Ungerer, of Ultimate Cycling TBC, in the mixed category and Theresa Ralph and Amy McDougall, of Galileo Risk Valencia in the women’s category.

The 230km race started at 10:00 in Willowmore on Saturday morning. A steady early pace was set by in large by the ASG Best-Med teams, with Labuschagne and Ungerer also doing turns on the front. The expected tail wind failed to materialise and instead a slight head wind kept the lead bunch together until around the 80km mark when the jockeying for positions heading into Check Point 2, at 104km, started. At Check Point 2 the experience started to show for teams like Ultimate Cycling TDC as they tended to navigate the potentially confusing check point zones; where riders had to check in, fill bottles, stock up on nutrition, collect essentials for the next leg from their check point boxes and check out again in good time. Stelling and Luus had clearly planned their check point strategy too and managed to minimize their time off the road.

Heading into the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve the race started to splinter as first the Frangs and then The Mother of All Climbs (The MAC) took their toll. Up front Stelling and Luus were joined by the Altech-Autopage duo of Pieter Seyffert and Hanco Kachelhoffer. Behind them on the road the leading mixed team of de Villiers, Labuschagne and Ungerer were riding with the third placed men’s team of Steven Shirley and Juan-Pierre Minnie riding as team On Your Bike. A little further back the race for second in the mixed category was hotting up as the RMB Change A Life duo of Martin Dreyer and Jeannie Bomford had caught the Merrell Mixed trio of Craig Boyes, Timo Cooper and Nicky Gillomee. 

Stelling appeared to be struggling up The MAC, so Seyffert and Kachelhoffer attacked in the final phases of the climb to claim the PowerBar King of the Mountain prize. However, once over the climb the four leaders all missed the Bergplaas check point at the crest of the climb and had to track back, nullifying the 20 second gap the Altech-Autopage guys had garnered. The first woman to crest The MAC climb and claim the PowerBar Queen of the Mountain was the high flying de Villiers.

Descending the Big Dipper Seyffert and Kachelhoffer again pulled a lead on Stelling and Luus, but Luus dug deep when they reached the kloof below to re-join the leaders. For the next 50km Luus sat at the front of the lead group setting a steady pace, while Stelling recovered on the back of the group. Heading up the Never Ender climb the race for outright victory appeared to enter a stale mate.

The Trans Baviaans is famed for its need for strong teamwork and in the final reckoning it was teamwork that settled the two closest battles. In the mixed category race for second the advantage of having three riders in a team allowed the Merrell Mixed trio to reel in the RMB Change A Life duo. Gillomee took turns hanging on Cooper and then Boyes’ pockets as they powered up the Never Ender passing Dreyer and Bomford. In the men’s race the decisive move came at the self-service Check Point 6. Stelling passed the check point tag to Luus in the approach to the check point and while the stronger Luus stopped to tag the PowerBar 1 team in Stelling continued up the road. The Altech-Autopage team stopped together, but when Luus accelerated away from the check point to catch Stelling they were unable to hold his wheel. Despite having nearly 40km to race Stelling and Luus managed to hang on; eventually even extending their lead when Seyffert and Kachelhoffer eased off the pace in the closing kilometres once it became clear the pursuit was futile.

DSC_1843The race-winning move was made at Check Point 6 where Pieter Seyffert waited for his Altech-Autopage teammate Hanco Kachelhoffer to complete the check-in process, alongside Lourens Luus, while Billy Stelling raced ahead. Photo by Seamus Allardice.

In the mixed category the Ultimate Cycling RDC team of de Villiers, Labuschagne and Ungerer crossed the finish line, at the Fountains Mall, hot on the heels of team On Your Bike, the third men’s team made up by Shirley and Minnie who they’d ridden with for most of the day. The trio’s victory was their fourth in the Trans Baviaans mixed category. Behind them Boyes, Cooper and Gillomee, of Merrell Mixed, finished strongly to claim second while the RMB Change a Life duo of Martin Dreyer and Jeannie Bomford were third.

The women’s category race failed to ignite into a racing spectacle when an early mechanical for Hanlie Booyens dropped her and her Tiletoria Ladies teammates, Fienie Barnard and Esther Lategan off the pace of eventual winners Ralph and McDougall. Riding on tired legs, following her recent Iron Bike stage race exploits in Italy, McDougall was not happy with the time she and Ralph managed. The very competitive pair would have liked to have challenged the mixed teams more closely, but it wasn’t too be so their attention shifted to enjoying the route and there surely could not have been a team who finished the first event of the 2016 Trans Baviaans with bigger smiles than the Galileo Risk Valencia duo. Closing out the women’s podium was the Ander Fairies duo of Franci Joubert and Lolita van Aardt.

With the first of the two Trans Baviaans events wrapped-up the attention now shifts to the second event, which takes place on the 20th and 21st of August. Along with the other prizes the victors of the second Trans Baviaans event win entries to the first event in 2017 to ensure that the strongest possible field attend the first event each year. To stay updated on all the action from the second Trans Baviaans event follow @EcoBoundMTB on Twitter, @transbaviaans on Instagram, and like the Trans Baviaans Facebook page. For more information and all the results from the first 2016 Trans Baviaans visit www.transbaviaans.co.za.

Selected Results: 2016 Trans Baviaans | Race 1

Men:

  1. Lourens & Billy Stelling (PowerBar 1) 08:40:52
  2. Pieter Seyffert & Hanco Kachelhoffer (Altech-Autopage) 08:49:06
  3. Steven Shirley & Juan-Pierre Minnie riding (On Your Bike) 08:553:59The gruelling #TransBaviaans #mtb race through #Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, RSA - presented by Ecobound.

Mixed:

  1. Yolandi de Villiers, Johan Labuschagne & Neill Ungerer (Ultimate Cycling TDC) 08:54:07
  2. Craig Boyes, Timo Cooper & Nicky Gillomee (Merrell Mixed) 09:11:04
  3. Martin Dreyer & Jeannie Bomford (RMB Change A Life) 09:19:27

Women:

  1. Theresa Ralph & Amy McDougall (Galileo Risk Valencia) 09:54:26
  2. Hanlie Booyens, Fienie Barnard & Esther Lategan(Tiletoria Ladies) 10:46:09
  3. Franci Joubert & Lolita van Aardt (Ander Fairies) 11:00:43

The gruelling #TransBaviaans #mtb race through #Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, RSA - presented by Ecobound.The MAC – A.K.A. The Mother of all climbs, snaking from the valley floor up into the clouds. Credit: www.jacquesmarais.co.za / Pentax.

Source: Seamus Allardice