No, not the biggest let-down since that New Year’s Eve; absolutely nothing crashed when Craig Kolesky clipped in this rollercoaster ride around the Klein Karoo. To be fair, nothing crashed then, either.
Early August, 2019 (not late December in a previous century), and 400 riders arrive in the small town of Colesberg for the annual Y2K MTB stage race.Yes you heard correctly, Colesberg; a small town in the Northern Cape province located on the N1 between Cape Town to Johannesburg. Named after Sir Lowry Cole, the first British governor of the Cape, nearly 200 years ago, it is today the centre of a sheep-farming area that spreads over half-amillion hectares,in which there is a lot of space for some awesome mountain biking.
Y2K is a three-day race, with Friday a short(ish) prologue of 25km followed by 72km and 75km stages. Never let the relative flatness of the Karoo fool you in thinking the riding here is ever going to be easy; over the three days there are no free kilometres.If you want to get your fair share of pedalling, then this race is for you;a mix of rocky terrain, sand and wind will keep it honest.
Finishing into the Karoo sunset,the 25km sundowner stage stretches across the mid- to late afternoon, so that riders have time to get to town from far afield.The ‘gates’ are open from 2pm to 4pm, so they can choose their start time around as and when they arrive. The stage meanders through the Skietberg MTB Trail in Colesberg, surrounded by Karoo koppies with a mix of jeep track and single track to get you into the mood for what is to come …
A 72km trip through beautiful Karoo farms with most of the climbing (but still only 828m …) of the three days. A beautiful section called Jurassic Park is a highlight from the day, chucking in 15km of pure mountain bike heaven.
This is a more open stage, 74km of constant pedalling on farm roads, district roads and singletrack, once again taking you through more beautiful farms. It is a faster/ easier day, with just 700m ascent, but don’t be fooled, you will work hard to get to the finish line (no climbing also means no descents, or freewheeling) and let’s not forget about that Karoo wind … fortunately, to make it all better, the highlight of the weekend comes at water point two: you can smell the skaapstertjies (sheep tails), straight off the braai, for kilometres.
The event involves the whole community, both organisationally and with all proceeds from the event going to the school fund. It is a very relaxed riding weekend, and even the racing snakes in the mix enjoyed the Karoo chill. For the less keen, Y2K also hosts 20 and 40km stages, Saturday has an open day allowing riders to join and ride Stage 2 only.
Overall the weekend consisted of lots dusty trails, plenty of exposed rocks and lots of open space. The Karoo should not be underestimated, and never disappoints. www.y2karoo.co.za