The Munga as most of the cycling world knows by now, and if you don’t, is billed as the toughest race on earth with total prize pot of $1,000,000 USD. Yes you read right, it starts on the 3rd of December 2014 in Bloemfontein and official cut-off for the race is five days later in Stellenbosch. Martin Vos took part in a “Mini” Munga, as it forms part of the official prerace training programme, and is aimed at giving the would be Munga racers some idea of what the pace and the race maybe like.
The first of these Mini Mungas was held on the 16th of August and took in a six hour endurance ride. About 21 people registered to come with for the training ride, but maybe the potential of Gauteng’s first rains scared them off because only seven of us that went along for the ride.
We left from Avianto, in the Cradle, just after seven am in cool and cloudy conditions. We headed out through the Cradle and from there on onto some trails through single track and district roads on route past Magaliesburg.
At the 47km mark the Munga crew setup a coffee station in the middle of veld, with only a 100 year old abandoned gold mine nearby. Michael Griffin was on hand to provide coffee and refreshments for us and David Higgs, the executive chef at The Saxon, had made some wonderful delights for us to eat. It was a good example of what could be used as ‘real food’ during any ride. Mr Higgs, thank you I couldn’t taste them all, but I cannot wait to try other and new combinations you have in mind.
I was by far the slowest rider in the group, unfortunately I don’t have all their names – but all of them are top mountain bikers and world class gentlemen, and was the one dragging behind after every climb. I became the unofficial sweep.
From the water point we headed back to Avianto over the mountains at about four and half hours my legs started cramping, but thanks to my Mcnab’s energy bars it wasn’t a problem for too long.
I must say a big thank you to Alex Harris and the group of guys, for scouting the trails we rode. I now know of some more training routes, close to home and around the Cradle and Magaliesburg area for future training rides. The planned six hour ride ended up being a seven hour test of endurance. There are more Mini Munga’s on the cards so keep your ears open and eyes on the Munga website for updates on future Mini Munga training rides.