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The Wild Coast’s Best MTB Stage Race? – Bicycling Magazine

We thank Chris Whitfield from Bicycling Magazine for participating and writing the following article about his Pondo experience – read the full article here: http://www.bicycling.co.za/race-news/wild-coasts-best-mtb-stage-race/

Highlights from the article:
“There are three factors that set the event apart from others: the first being the amazing part of the world in which it is located. The Wild Coast is a distinctly different part of the country, with hillsides plunging into the ocean (and you ride beautiful singletrack along some of them, peering down at the waves crashing below), tiny houses dotting the slopes in no apparent order, colourful wildlife and stunning beaches dotted with cattle. But look out for the goats, sheep, chickens and pigs on the route … their behaviour in the face of oncoming traffic leaves something to be desired.

Second is the great vibe at the event. In part this is a result of a non-competitive approach and prize-givings that put more emphasis on fun than firsts, but there are also elements of the race that are very enjoyable. These include the ride along the hillside above the sea on Stage One, the super fast Stage Two and then bits of Stage Three: a trip by tiny and none-too-stable powerboat – they can just about accommodate two riders, their bikes and the pilot – across a lagoon 6km from the finish (the boats are on standby to rush the riders across) and the closing 5km ride along the beach. Riding under a finish arch on the beach is quite spectacular.

And then there is the accommodation – you get four nights at the lodge for your entry fee – and food. The Umngazi Lodge was refurbished in 2016 and there are many in the area who say it is now the best resort on the entire Wild Coast. The rooms are comfortable and the views from most of them across the lagoon and on to the beach and sea in the distance are stunning.

The food is world class, from fillet steaks to hamburgers to amazing pies to a huge salad bar to the seafood buffet on the final night, which was spectacular. And the pancakes, that seafood pasta, the cheesecake, the big breakfast buffet, the beers at the finish and lots more.

All of the above lends itself to a family weekend: there are scores of things to do for non-riding partners – including some amazing walks or runs and the beach right there – and a packed programme for children.”

 

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All Photographs ©KEVIN SAWYER

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