This year South Africa’s first MTB Stage Race turned 21 years old!
14 / 15 November 2015 – Not much has changes since the first event, back in 1995, when it was created out of a deep passion for remote places and touring-style riding. The mountainous route, magnificent views, well-stocked waterpoints, relaxed atmosphere and sleep-over in The Hell makes this event so popular!
It’s an original, a classic, enjoyed by the true mountain bikers of SA.
Day 1 stared with the riders making their way over the winding Swartberg pass enjoying the scenic surroundings in the crisp early morning air. Dylan Rabello, Team Jeep, was the first to cross the summit making the 21km climb seem like a mere bump in the road. Riders enjoyed the rest of the route going up and down the valleys towards Gamkaskloof or ‘The Hell’ in ideal riding conditions. The top of Elandspass ended the hard work for Day 1, as it was downhill from there into the kloof, the finish for the first day and where warm showers, food and cold beer awaited.
No electricity, no cell reception, no TV, not even radio reception! Luckily afternoon entertainment was proved by Tony Cook , who also hosted the Movemeber Champs. The evening riders enjoyed great live music while supper was served, or rather ‘braaid’. The atmosphere amongst riders can only be understood if you’ve actually been to The Hell and understand the remoteness.
Day 2 started with the riders setting off to conquer Elandspass, with the weather warming up and promising a nice day. Riders cycled the same route back ‘out of the Hell’ returning to the De Hoek Nature Resort, finishing their 120km’s with a total of 3650m accent over 2 days. It’s not South Africa’s longest Mountain Pass for nothing.
The youngster, Dylan Rabello won the overall mens category in a time of 05.05.59. In the Ladies race, local Ischen Stopforth won in a time of 06.20.42. This was also Ischen’s 10th To Hell and Back. Having done 10 years she now joins the Old Nicks Club.
Thank you to our sponsors! Riders are always happy to find Spur at the midway mark, with waiters handing out burgers and chips with a smile (come rain or sunshine), Squirt making sure every chain gets lube, not missing one bicycle, Safari keeping the fires burning, Momsen Bikes making sure we have quality prizes and Clover, for handing out their goodies to each finisher.
Due to limited accommodation and facilities in The Hell, CapeNature placed a limit on the number of participants allowed. When the event reaches that capacity – entries are closed. Make sure not to miss this experience next year and ensure you enter this event when entries open on 01 June!
The To Hell and Back MTB Stage Race is a Mountain Bike Event organized by Mountain Bikers for Mountain bikers!
For more info, check out www.tohellandback.co.za/tohellandback-mtb/ or follow us on Facebook to get the latest news https://www.facebook.com/hellandbackmountainbiking/