Ride Report: Darling Brew My Bru!

There is nothing sweet about 28 degrees on a winter’s morning in the Boland. No wind, perfect day, bloody
hot! Perfect for consuming beer! But the wily bone crushers at Darling Brew expect you to work for your brewski! Cape Town clearly has a lot of folks who want to suffer and then enjoy the golden nectar – 2000 of them to be precise. SHAYNE DOWLING joined the monster field.

The Three Amigos, Shayne, Marc and Greg in pursuit of beer.

I went into the ride after a week of flu – not a clever idea. For 40km I was in good nick, the rolling hills, vineyard climbs and farm field crossings with spectacular views, including looking back at Cape Town and seeing Table Mountain in all its splendour, vindicated my decision to ride and tackle what must be one of the biggest one day rides in SA. The next 20 kays were brutal. The DBX is not for sissies, it’s tough! The Wolwefontein single track climbs are a tester, particularly as they come fairly late in the race, the descents are technical and over far too quickly and the singles up are lungbusters. This section is in my opinion the signature of the DBX and why we ride it – hard and a test but fun and biggest talking point over the cold one after. BTW, it’s a complete mindtruck when you reach a summit and can see where the other riders, three metres away from you have been and you still have to go. Note to organisers: it makes you want to
have a cold one right there!

Did we mention beer? The title sponsor’s fare was worth riding for.

The DBX offers great options for all riders from a 16km and 31km ride for and slightly easier challenge (don’t be fooled though, the 31km is still a MTB ride!) to 52km and 78km of tough mountain biking requiring you to be properly fit. We hit the trails at a very civilized 9am start but also on a perfect balmy winters day, in fact we hit the wolf trails at a hot 28° C and not even a breath of wind … cooking! We never felt pushed or crowded on the trails and all the water tables were well-stocked despite the large numbers. I particularly like the atmosphere of the Darling Brew, that magic ingredient that some events just don’t seem to have. Full marquee until late, great food, lots of smiles and chatting – a really festive vibe! Oh and the cycle shirt is pretty dope too – so much so that even though they aren’t part of the entry fee they were sold out!

The riding here is gentle, except for the tough bits. Which are not, but beer – worthy.

On a personal note I have to thank my cycling mates from our Cranks cycling group helping me home. After hitting the wall it was great to have the Doc give me some sage advice, Paul yelling incentive from miles ahead (only managed after a team effort to plug a tyre – did I mention there are tons of thorns out there?) and Marc walking beside me up some hazy steep mothers … the DBX19 was a jol and, man those beers are lekker! See you next year.


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