Stoke and Sunshine at 2019 Patatfees MTB

Words and Images by: Frans le Roux

Returning to the beautiful Overberg once more, ex-Full Sus ed Frans le Roux took part in the 55km Napier Wine & Patatfees MTB event recently. Here’s what went down.

The beauty of doing an event back to back is, that you usually know exactly what’s coming. I do remember that I was relieved after surviving the cold and slippery conditions of the 2018 event. Hesitant to book my accommodation, I waited for the weather forecast to confirm that I will indeed not suffer in the rain once more.

When I woke up in Bredasdorp on Saturday morning I was stoked to see clear skies above. My only other concern was the freezing temperatures we would have to endure during the first couple of kays’, but not even the frost on my car windows could dampen my spirit.

As close on a hundred riders lined up to do the long event, we were blessed with a delayed start which proved amazing as the sun made its appearance. The first 20 odd kilometers featured some rocky gravel roads, forest singletracks, a water crossing, and some wide-open rolling hills. The big surprise and rude awakening to all came (just like in 2018) at around the 21km mark, where route builder Naas has kept his sense of humour to take riders directly to the top of a mountain peak. Roughly a 2km stretch, this section proved to be the decider as plenty of riders walked, stopped and nearly gave up.

Arriving at the summit of this climb suddenly brought a gushing headwind from nowhere. We battled towards a waterpoint which came just in time! A short climb followed after the first blistering downhill section. I fondly remember bombing down the section and I’m glad to report nothing has changed. A short while after, the first ‘DANGER’ signs could be seen, as we flew down a tricky jeep track, descending to the valley below.

Soon we were in the thick of things with some spectacular forest singletracks. Tight, twisty and in places rather technical, but o’ so wonderful. An uphill rock garden made for slow going before yet another super-fast downhill section took us towards the last waterpoint with about 10km to go. This section of the route was where the half marathon runners merged with the mountain bikers. Some fast and flat singletracks saw us zipping past vineyards on our way to the finish.

A last sting in the tail came in the form of a rolling hill or two, which took us onto the lush fields at the Agulhas School of Skills in Napier. Once again, the route was perfectly planned and even better marked. This is one of the very few events that is accurately measured to within a few hundred meters. The Wine and Patatfees festival vibe at the finish, was the perfect ending to an awesome day on a mountain bike.

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