butt stops here!
who would have thought that so many of you
read The Seat Post - and
enjoy a glass or two of good red wine as well.
A bumper issue this month with lots of events
done and dusted and plenty to come in the
next few months. I trust you have been taking
advantage of our glorious weather to get some
I can’t say that I have but I certainly
enjoyed my lucky draw prize from Heatonville.
We had a wonderful game drive and lunch at
Good news is that Pie is mending slowly but
sorry to hear that Les sustained a badly bruised
hip and hairline fracture of his femur after
some unscheduled airtime riding over a fertilizer
bag on the downhill behind Village Hardware.
It turned out that the bag was filled with
Les is healing fast so hope to see him back
in the saddle sooner rather than later.
Also on the down side is that Fred dislocated
his shoulder on the ride this Saturday –
after discovering that grabbing lots of front
brake on a steep downhill is perhaps a bit
risky. As was quoted in Ride Magazine recently
“Gravity is a law – and no one
has ever won an appeal”.
Thanks to Lesley for driving the Hoffman ambulance
at short notice. Fred was sent for X-rays
which show that the clavicle (collar bone)
has separated from the scapula (shoulder blade)
– a fairly common “heavy impact”
injury. This will heal naturally and Fred
should be back for the next Big 5 race in
The Hluhluwe Big 5 “Rhino Charge”
was well supported by shady characters with
its usual good organisation, venue and rides
on offer. Joelle Thevenau won the girls 10km
ride (I neglected to mention in the last newletter
that she was also first girl home in the fun
ride at Heatonville).
Charles Thompson was first junior boy and
Geraldine was the first sub vet woman home
in the intermediate race. Well done! Results
are posted on www.elitetiming.co.za.
Luck seems to be on my side at the moment
with me scooping a deluxe gas braai in spite
of all the Hoffman’s being present for
the lucky draws. Will have to have a bring
and braai to test it out.
The Hoffmans braved the cold, rain and mud
at Eston this weekend. Most singletrack was
a muddy mess after heavy rain with plenty
of portaging and every stream and dam used
as a bikewash.
Kevin says that the most common word on the
ride was “ridiculous”. Shades
of Hill 2 Hill last year! Following the success
of the Mtunzini Super Classic in May, Mtunzini
Round Table handed over a cheque for R4 000
to our club. Handing over cheques - and maybe
letting go of them - appears to be thirsty
work judging by the number of empties afterwards.
Thank you to Round Table for the money which
will be put to good use developing mountain
biking in Mtunzini and the region.
As a club we are becoming partners rather
than ad hoc helpers in the events both organisations
stage. Thanks to Tanis for her account of
the Bonitas/Mondi Umfolozi challenge on the
25th July. The organisers of the fantastic
2009 Bonitas/Mondi Umfolozi MTB Challenge
stressed the importance for riders to understand
that when embarking on this challenge, there
was the potential for interaction with “potentially”
dangerous animals such as elephant, black
rhino, white rhino, buffalo and lion.
This type of information was not recommended
to be read at night, just before switching
your light out. Vivid dreams were the order
of the day . . . or should I say . . . night.
Riders were encouraged to register on Friday
afternoon at the Centenary Centre, Umfolozi
Game Reserve, as bikes were then loaded onto
a smelly game capture truck and transported
to the start of the race in the middle of
nowhere on Saturday morning. After a race
briefing and dinner, riders retired to the
campsite which was set up especially for the
event – it was bitterly cold and all
riders could be seen looking skywards to check
on the cloud cover.. so they said.. actually
I was convinced that they were all saying
silent prayers in preparation for what the
next day would hold. It was pointed out to
us most clearly, that experience in Umfolozi
has shown that direct flight away from any
of the above mentioned animals, may result
in their pursuit of you which technologically
advanced mountain bikes could outride.
The morning of the race began at about 4am
with nervous riders heading for the few portaloos
available. I have never understood why, when
a race starts at 8am – do mountain bike
riders start waking up at 4am.
Two buses (not of the luxurious variety) arrived
to transport riders to the start of the race,
which was a good hou'rs drive away. Great
excitement could be felt in the air –
or was that the minus degree temperature.
As we were in a wilderness area, no gunshot
signalled the start of the race, rather a
loud bellow from the Park Warden.
The first section of the route was through
thick sand and the thought did cross my mind
as to how one was expected to run through
this stuff if pursued by anything with more
legs than me – if we were charged, we
were advised to leave our bikes and run for
cover but the chances were that the animal
in question would be happier to trash your
discarded bike instead – so owners of
uninsured bikes – sorry for you!!
We were also advised to take note of the prevailing
wind, but I ask you, how was this possible
with the wind whistling past your dry eyeballs
while going down hill at a rate of knots.The
terrain then turned into the most neglected
management track, which equaled the 16km downhill
stretch at Giants.
Lose rocks, stones and dongas were the order
of the day. We actually could have passed
100 rhino lying in ambush for us mountain
bikers, but we never saw one due to the fact
that you could not take your dry dusty eyeballs
off the road – I did for a brief minute
and ended up in a pile on top of some rocks.
The sight of fresh blood made me very nervous
and I kept repeating to myself “blood
is just red sweat” but that didn’t
console me as I was very aware from my ex-parks
board days, that lions have a very acute sense
of smell, especially that of fresh human MTBer's
fact, at one point when we were riding along the
fence line, I consulted with another ex-parks
board friend of mine who was riding with me, as
to what we would do if a lion jumped out of the
bush at us – we decided to throw ourselves
at the electric fence, be knocked unconscious
and then be totally unaware of the being eaten
The route was very hilly as the original founders
of the reserve did not fence the park along any
contour lines, but instead up every mountain that
they could find. In fact, I think this race was
a vision of theirs 150 years ago when they did
the original fencing – some parts of the
route were called the rocky roller coaster and
that’s exactly how it was.
We thought we could hear our conservation forefathers
chuckling – or was that a hyena –
we didn’t hang around to find out.
When we crossed the mighty Mfolozi River, we were
greeted with a whole pride of lion spoor interspersed
with bike tracks. At this point we were not sure
whether the racing snakes had been pursued and
eaten by the lions and it was at that point that
I made the commitment never to be a racing snake
– you open yourself up to all sorts of dangers.
Finally we reached the much spoken about Castle
light Beer/water table. For those wanting that
even weaker feeling in their legs, beer was on
tap or you could merely partake in water or other
forms of energy drinks to get you up the last
of the big climbs of the day.
Needless to say, we passed on the beer! What a
welcome sight seeing the Centenary centre in the
distance, which signalled the end of very special
adrenalin drenched, laughter filled 55km through
a very special part of the world. The magnitude
of where we had ridden only sunk in that evening
as did the celebratory drinks, sore butts, rugby
in the big white tent and of course … the
bokdrol spitting competition.
Tanis survived the ride, ignored the gash on her
leg and rode the Hluhluwe Rhino Big 5 intermediate
event the next day.
Pumping Legs for water
Robyn, Suzi and the Maxwells have returned
in one piece after having had a great ride
through Hwange and a trip to Vic Falls afterwards.
Thanks to Suzi for her account of the trip.
We look forward to the slide show.
On the 25 -26 July four intrepid members
of the Mtunzini Athletic Club cycling section
rode 100 km through Hwange National Park
in Zimbabwe over 2 days to raise funds for
pump maintenance and fuel for water hole
Brian and Jenny Maxwell, Robyn Lombard and
Suzi Raymond had the time of their lives
dodging elephants and lions on a most glorious
ride with 43 Zimbabweans.
Most of the ride was through deep Kalahari
sand and our sand riding skills were severely
tested. Suzi and Brian had a taste of sand
and Robyn’s famous heart rate monitor
freaked out when a lioness bolted over the
path. Pumping Legs for Water is arranged
by the Wildlife and Environment of Zimbabwe
and this was the second year this ride was
Before being proclaimed a Game Reserve in
1928, this vast wilderness was virtually
hunted out with its only human inhabitants
being a few San. Ted Davidson realised pumped
water was essential for reliable surface
water during the long dry season resulting
in the first borehole being sunk in the
Today Hwange boasts in excess of 50 pumped
water points throughout the Park. As the
Zim government no longer functions in the
role of running the park the Bulawayo section
of the Zim Wildlife Society has been supporting
pump maintenance and fuel for the past 20
years. We thank all the cyclists and runners
who supported us in our quest, particularly
Paul Mannix who lent us his bike trailer.
We went on to visit Victoria Falls, cycled
into Zambia and on the Makgadigadi pans
in Botswana, altogether a wonderful ride.
morning rides will continue in spite of a
drop in numbers recently. Maybe the duvet
is winning the Saturday morning fight. We
haven’t nominated leaders for August
but there will be at least one of the regulars
present to lead a ride every Saturday.
Rides leave at 7.00 am from the corner of
Siyaya and Valley drives. Please note that
helmets are compulsory.
Mtunzini, Heatonville and Hluhluwe
are done. Next in the Zululand Big 5 series
Monzi 13 September
Kwambo 4th October
The Claas Tour de Krantz at Harburg is on
Saturday 8th August. Always a fun event with
great German hospitality, food and beer. Some
great scenery and well balanced, enjoyable
Remember the Bush Run (or walk)
on the 9th August, comprising a 16km run over
the golf course, through the nature reserve,
onto the beach and back as well as a 5km fun
run (or walk).
Registration takes place from 14h00 to 17h00
on Saturday 8th and from 05h30 on Sunday 9th.
The 16 km event starts at 07h00 and the fun
run/walk at 07h15.
The Mondi Grantleigh MTB Challenge on the
23rd August offers a good opportunity to stretch
the legs on a fairly fast and not too technical
a course. The 50km usually includes the (in)famous
Barlows hill which is a good test of the legs
and the 25km intermediate flat and a good
introduction to the distance for the older
The Nashua Nite Race is on the Saturday 5th
Mountain biking, running and walking in a
fun format. Details to follow in the September
9-Hole Golf Course
035 340 1188
THE FAT CAT GRILL
Mon-Fri (excl Pub holidays)
It will specialise in STEAKS, SEAFOODS, BURGERS,
PIZZA & PASTAS
THE FAT CAT
Sat, Sun and Pub holidays08h00-14h30
Printing & Design
Station Rd, MTUNZINI
24 Hely Hutchinson Rd
035 340 2931
Cell: 082 770 7423
Fax:088 035 340 2931
• Sunset booze cruise
• Bird watching
• Braai on board
a relaxing barge trip on the scenic Umlalazi
River with knowledgeable host Bob Williamson