- Origin of Trails uses Stellenbosch’s amazing trails.
- The move to April could make it an even greater experience.
- Don’t be fooled by the distances.
Covid has made most things worse, but it could make one of South Africa’s best mountain bike races even better.
The Origin of Trails event has been confirmed for rescheduling, moving from its traditional deep summer date to autumn.
Organisers have reacted to the Covid surge and chosen 24 and 25 April as new dates. The Origin has traditionally been run in late November and early December.
Initiated as a trail funding event, the Origin has a deserved reputation. It loops the most influential town in South African mountain biking, Stellenbosch, and delivers a brutal but rewarding experience.
The quality of singletrack riding offered by Origin of Trails is rarely rivalled in the local mountain bike racing calendar, but its scheduling has been problematic for some.
Even the hardiest riders could struggle with sun fatigue in the stifling Boland heat. The dusty trails and off-camber corners punishing the unwary.
Linking some of the most celebrated trail sections in South Africa, such as the G-Spot gravity flow descent and majestic Jonkershoek, Origin of Trail is a race for purist mountain bikers, instead of pure mileage addicts.
Autumn weather better than a blazing summer date
For those riders who pine to ride the Origin of Trails, but dislike its peak summer scheduling, the 2021 April dates are ideal.
With lower temperatures the overall riding comfort will be superior. The trail conditions also provide a better riding experience, with less dust, in early autumn.
By April the Jonkershoek and Banhoek valleys would have received some early season rain, making for grippier riding conditions, especially on those technical descents.
Although the two-day format is an oddity in South Africa’s local racing scene, which mainly configures around single- or three-day events, the Origin is a must for many.
The race fee is R1600 and that buys you access to arguably some of the best trails in Africa, for two consecutive days of marked route racing.
Distance splits are 45km for day one and 40km on day two. Those might be half of what a conventional South African mountain bike race would cover, but the compound climbing gradients and calibre of technical descending, make it a very intense experience.
The Origin of Trails event might be short on overall distance, but it certainly isn’t short on difficulty or trail quality.