Patrysberg MTB – A West Coast Gem in the rough
With so many races happening over the past weekend – Gravel & Grape, Houwhoek and True Cape to name a few our West Coast recruit seemed to think it good to add another one to the Calendar.
A little pet project he has been working on over the last 3 years to bring a true MTB event to the West Coast which have evolved from a sedate 27km event in 2016 to something truly Savage in 2018 coming in at just over 40km and a 1100m of climbing.
With a lot of hours put into the trails over the last couple of months to get everything cleared and ready on the new expansion of the black route it was now time for him to put up or shut up.
Lining up for the start of the event the riders was greeted by a fog bank in true West Coast style that decided to role in that would end up covering the whole trail under a thick cloud of mist. This however made for the perfect weather and promised to deliver some interesting racing.
With the scene set ”engines” revving the riders set off. Out of the gate hammers was being dropped by everyone but with 2 previous wins at this event Willem he was on a mission to make it a hat trick. So while everyone was dropping their hammers he decided to drop an anvil and break some spirits Nino Schurter style by going for a break away out of the gate.
With everyone’s legs still fresh the start felt and looked more like a sprint to the finish line. This however lasted just for the first 2km’s where the gradient started to make its presence felt and being a Savage Willem kept turning it up. It wasn’t long before the chasing pack drew thin. By the 3rd km as he passed the trail runners water point the pack was dropping out of sight.
Knowing the race was far from won and the next 5km’s of the race is nothing but one long drag of a climb he kept pushing. As lady luck would have it the wind was from the North meaning it was a tailwind up this climb and not the normal headwind. Pushing hard he soon lost sight of the chasing pack and with the fog getting thicker as the riders ascended the top of the hill was also dropping out of sight.
With a breakaway of one the race was on to keep the lead and chase his target time. Thought he might have broken away the fog made for some interesting moments on the trail with the first couple of fast downhill sections. Dropping into the first single track section unofficially dubbed Hell Hole riders found them transitioning into some proper trails with one of the first steepish climbs of the day followed by some fun downhill sections until you reach the first challenge of the day called Walk in the Park on about the 17km mark. At only 400m long but climbing 65m at an avg grade of 16% it is a proper kick in the nether region.
After grinding out Walk in the Park and cursing the trail designer, then remembering he was just cursing himself really, it was onward and forward to the next bit of single track after a bit of negotiation through the shorter routes traffic on the short sections where the trails merged together. Enjoying the open trail in front of him again after the second split with no traffic to worry about in the single-track Willem made quick work of the next section before it was time to face the infamous Montser climb of Patrysberg. This beast meets the riders at about the 26km mark. At only 800m long and climbing 102m it avg out at a grade of 13% but don’t let that fool you as there is a peak point at 34% that will kick you so hard you might just need to go double check you gender afterwards.
After another grind-fest up the Monster it was onto the next bit of single-track. A new addition to this year’s long route. It might only be 7km long but this is one of the more technical sections of the trail. Here Willem had to face negotiating some rock obstacles and even go into low range to crawl up some of the rock faces on the bike before having to dive down some tricky descent again followed by a few river crossings (if it weren’t for the draught that is). Even though this might be the hardest part of the trails it was also one of the most beautiful. With one more drag of a climb to the top and highest point of the farm before exiting the single track it was time to catch his breath for a bit before hitting a sharp downhill single-track section that got pretty steep pretty fast.
Exiting this downhill section and almost at sea level again it was time for him to face the last challenge of the day dubbed the Mini Monster at about km 37. It might be the smallest of the three siblings on the day but at 300m and 40m of climbing and a grade of 12% your legs will surely not agree with you on that statement.
So, with a commanding lead now in the bag it was just a case of bringing it home to the finish line and clocking in under his target time of 2h15m. Flying past some of the backmarkers of the shorter distances as all the trails have now merged together again it was not long before the finish line came into view and in Pure Savage style Willem spotted the photographer and just had to put on a show of how to drop a hammer or two sprinting in as if he was being chased by a wild pack of dogs.
At the end Willem took a commanding win on the day and clocked a winning time of 2:12:59.
He even got a “little” trophy for his effort…
This trail is sure to become a hit in the West Coast in the future as this is a Pure Savage Trail by a Savage for the Savage…
Photos Leon Nel (Facebook) & Frankia Fietse, Vredenburg