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While the Old Mutual joBerg2c doesn’t like to brag about how tough it is, or how demanding the ride is, or how amazing you have to be to finish it, it’s still a challenging mountain bike stage race.
It may not bill itself as the toughest MTB race in the world, but you still need to be tough to get from Heidelberg to Scottburgh. That being said, with some inside info, you can take a lot of pain out of your ride.
The first day, from Heidelberg to Frankfort, is a neutral day. That means there are no results and everyone gets given the same time. The day’s riding is also relatively flat, so the trick here is to ease into the joBerg2c. You have eight days of racing to come; no need to go flat out from day 1. Take your time, enjoy the scenery, and feast like royalty at the marvellous water points (water point three, run by Bambi Nursery School, is a particular highlight). Be warned though, because day 1 is “flat”, you pedal all the way to Frankfort.
This is another relatively flat day (1001m of climbing), so the legs might take some time to adjust. Depending on the overnight weather, the start along the Wilge River can be brutally cold. The highlights of the day include water point 1 run by the Skewerkop Boere Vereeniging (there is enough boerewors to lasso the moon), the Boerbull Descent about 10km from the finish, and the Husky Romi Wolf Sanctuary. The final few kilometres can be tough as you bounce along grassy singletrack, so save some energy.
You’ve practically made it. The only thing to do now is go as hard as you can to the finish (although this is another neutral stage in 2017) to get your medal.