Jolling at joBerg2c

David Moseley (right)
David Moseley (right)
Cape Town - Today (or Friday, April 25, depending on when you read this) was the first day the Old Mutual joBerg2c.

It's a nine-day mountain bike race that starts in Heidelberg just outside Johannesburg and finishes in Scottburgh in KwaZulu-Natal. Right now the race is in Frankfort (Eastern Free State) where apparently the towels froze overnight last night. In our two-man tent, whether my partner Jonathan likes it or not, there will be cuddling.

The race started this morning with the sound of Joburg's wildlife - a clutch of enthusiastic motorcyclists racing up and down the streets outside our pre-race accommodation - ringing in our ears at 02:00.  
Thankfully it got better from there.

Day one, unlike the Absa Cape Epic, is not a racing day. It's a neutral procession for 116km that allows all participants to ease into the event. What the day lacks in competitive edge, it makes up for in mielies. And blue sky. And then some more mielies. Row after row of brown husks escort riders almost from start to finish. So many kilometres, so many mielies.

The rows of pre-popped corn eventually took a small break to allow riders to cross the Vaal river over a 400m floating bridge, allegedly the longest of its kind ever built (certainly it's a record for this event).

Nervous mountain bikers wobbled onto the interconnected pallets, hoping that years of training would keep them from plunging into the water. It wasn't to be. While waiting to cross, team LOPP (Legends of Plum Pudding) Till You Drop, saw four cyclists take a reluctant dip.

After waiting just under an hour for our turn to cross nerves were high. But luckily skill levels were too, though on a day with hardly any climbing this was the one opportunity for the heart rate to soar, as a combination of fear and (slight) talent carried the intrepid LOPPers across.

After that it was back to long district roads, mielies and a water table that offered marshmallows dunked in condensed milk. That, and a woman who kept saying tremendously naughty words as she struggled through the soft sand, broke the monotony.

Interestingly, the race organisers bill day one as a day where riders will pedal for every single kilometre. They weren't kidding. For 116km the legs kept turning. Except when we stopped to admire the mielies.

*Day 2 is 93km from Frankfort to Reitz.

When he's not riding his bike, David Moseley is a columnist for News24...
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