Day 1 – A deceptively easy start
At 05:45 on a Friday morning, Cullinan was a rather sleepy town, excepting for 16 riders, that waited in front of the towns normally bustling restaurants, not entirely sure of what was to be expected of them over the next few days. Luggage (and there was a lot of it, made its way into the follow car, and after a short rider briefing, where the best news was that everyone had been upgraded to Chalet accommodation for the entire tour (this will be the norm for future tours). Excited by the knowledge that no one would need to sleep on the floor in a tent for the next few nights, the group set off from Cullinan, at exactly 06:00, to tackle the 118km to Loskop Dam.
The route is a pretty easy ride (when measured against what awaits on day 2), that flows along district roads through some very enjoyable scenery, especially in the second half, after passing through Verena. From here, you get amazing views into the Olifants River Valley, as we rode along the upper boundary of the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve. The last 15 odd km is on tar, taking you past the dam wall, and then just for kicks, a short punchy climb before arriving at the entrance to Forever Resorts Loskop Dam, where we would spend the night.
Check-in went smoothly, with all the riders arriving within a 45-minute window – not bad over 118km. After Check-in and being allocated rooms, everyone went off to enjoy a shower, and then a splash in the pools, before all getting together for lunch an a few drinks.
The resorts in house restaurant also catered for a lovely dinner, that was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and then it was off to bed, to rest up for what tomorrow will bring.
Day 2 – This is nothing like day one
Day 2 was always going to be the big one. But just how big, everyone was soon to find out. Just after 6 am, the convoy of riders headed out from Forever Resorts Loskop, and right away it was into a climb. The route for today is very beautiful, but also very hilly. There are just over 2000m of climbing over what was meant to be a 116km route. There is, unfortunately, no easy way to get this done.
Unfortunately early on in the day, a previously open road was found blocked by a large gate, and we had to re-route slightly. The detour only added a handful of extra KM to the total distance but meant that that the bulk of the climbing was now done in one big push, instead of being broken up over a number of smaller climbs. Nevertheless, the riders soldiered on, an impressive effort was put in by all. About 15 km before Steelpoort, a refreshment station was set up, and sandwiches, salt and vinegar chips, biscuits, nuts and drinks were handed out.
From Steelpoort, the route would be mostly uphill again, all the way past Tonteldoos, and then finally, a bit of a downhill finish into Dullstroom, where a group of very tired riders could enjoy some well-deserved beers and lekker pizzas at the Old Transvaal Inn.
A really beautiful route, but equally tough, deserved a properly scrumptious dinner, which the entire crew could enjoy at the Coachmans Restuarant, and they did not disappoint.
Not Surprisingly, it was an early night for all, but luckily the last day’s ride was a lot shorter, so all could sleep in.
Day 3 – A slightly different start to the day
In contrast to the past few seriously early morning starts, today everyone could lie in a little, before enjoying a full breakfast at the guesthouse, before starting the days ride at around 9. Its only 68km, and almost all downhill (you lose 1000m of elevation over 60km), and we could only check-in at our accommodation from 14:00, so there really was no need to rush.
The weather also played along, and it remained mostly cool throughout the morning. The route took riders out around the graveyard, and then down towards Highland Gate Golf Estate. There is a 90 degree turn out of this road, on a highspeed descent…. And a couple of riders overshot this, their GPS navigation not keeping up with their attempt to set a new land speed record.
From here, the rest of the route is all on gravel. Traversing between trout and horse estates, across mountain landscapes, and into the pine forest, before dropping into the beauty of the Kwena Basin, and on to our final destination at Verlorenkloof Estate, where lunch and cold drinks were waiting.
After enjoying lunch overlooking the valleys and mountains, it was off to check in to the luxury crofts, where tired bodies could rest for the next two days.
Day 4 – A day of Rest
Not surprisingly, after nearly 300km of hard riding over the past 3 days, everyone opted to leave the bikes well alone today, and just enjoy the peace and tranquillity that Verlorenkloof has to offer.
The team at the Food space Restuarant saw to it that we had a proper breakfast – before everyone went off on their own to explore the estate on foot, or just relax around the rock pool.
The final night would not be sufficiently finished off without a good old braai at the croft, before settling in for a final night in peace and quiet, before heading back for home in the morning.
We look forward to seeing you in the mountains again soon. If you would like to book for our August 2021 Trip click here. Book Before the end of November 2020 and only pay R2650.00pp (Normal Price R3850). Only 16 riders allowed. Space is limited.