I was invited to ride this year’s Lormar Endurance MTB Tour; this unique event has always been one of those bucket list events that one has to do and with Darling Breweries on board I could not resist. I was joined by my riding partner Reno, a perfect fit for this adventure since his love for endurance sports equals his love for a proper ice cold beer.
It’s always been the organiser’s view that this is not a race but an adventure that takes riders through the Karoo exploring it’s beauty. The event starts on the Fairview farm which is better known for its Arabian Stud; a farm with a rich history when it comes to endurance racing. With this event one rides through the Compassberg region exploring the Karoo and experience a taste of platteland hospitality.
Our adventure started in Middelburg in the Eastern Cape where we made our first stop at the Keg; naturally to carbo load for the first stage that evening. As we entered the gravel road towards Fairview we realised that the Karoo had much more mountains than what we remembered.
The reception at the farm was absolutely brilliant; the hospitality and the bar both caught our attention immediately. The opening ceremony was something we will remember as one of those “WOW” moments; nothing could have ever prepared us for what was to come – a 100 wild horse running past us as part of the ceremony. After a very fast paced 22km under the Karoo stars we were greeted by some typical farm style hospitality; sheep on the spit!
The following morning we started with some warm ground coffee served with condense milk in a classic enamel cup – heaven! Stage one took us on gravel roads over Compassberg towards Nieu Bethesda. The 69km stage consisted mostly of gravel road and jeep track treated us with some spectacular views of the Karoo. We climbed the most part of the first stage but were then rewarded with some free mileage via some awesome down hills.
If you think this is all about mountain biking you are seriously mistaken; the off-the-bike highlight of the day was the tour through town on our bikes. We ended up at a little brewery were we got treated some craft beers and cheese platters. One thing I would not recommend is stopping at the local PUB; the vibe is awesome, the rugby was fabulous BUT the ride back to the camp…not so much.
With Karan Beef on board as one of the sponsors we could not once complain about mealtime, and Saturday night was no different with some mouth-watering steaks that send us all to bed very satisfied.
Stage two was again completely different from the previous day; although again we used mostly gravel roads it seemed the landscape changed overnight. It was cloudy with some light rain at places and this seemed to have coloured in the landscape and nature could brag with her beauty for a few hours.
As we arrived back at Fairview, Darling Breweries rewarded us with a nice cold craft beer and while some of the riders stayed over another night we had to get back to reality. This is mostly defiantly one of the events I would recommend; especially if this is your first go at stage racing.