You know, an event is just an event like any other event. But when exceptional people attend, it becomes exceptional too.
The Eleos Bosveld Trap attracted a bunch of like-minded, exceptional people who love riding their bikes, the African bush and a kuier around a campfire. And then magic happened.
On Friday, 18 March 2022, a convoy of vehicles with bicycles on bike racks made their way North on the N1, direction Bela-Bela. Who were these people? And where were they heading? They were in for a weekend of sun, bush, bicycles and music. They turned into the impressive stone-clad gates of Zwartkloof Private Game Reserve, their home for the weekend.
Some camped, others chose cosy family dorm rooms, while others found luxury lodging with great views over the Zwartkloof koppies.
Registration commenced at 14h00 at the Wildswinkel Hall. Every rider was surprised with a beautifully designed Bosveld Trap drawstring helmet bag, a pair of Bosveld Trap Sox Footwear, a quality Bosveld Trap cap and a bag filled with treats. When a goody bag looks like that, a race starts well!
The afternoon was spent settling in and learning the lay of the land of the Zwartkloof Race Village. Some booked a sunset game drive through the Zwartkloof Predator Park and various game camps in typical South African style. The Predator Park is home to an impressive selection of wildlife, including lions, tigers, wild dogs, hyenas, serval (tierboskat), leopards and cheetahs, to name but a few. The camps are large and well kept, with lots of room to roam and run.
In anticipation of the three days of mountain biking, everyone made the most of the sumptuous dinner served by the resident Zwartkloof chef, Nico Smith. Paired with a bottle of red or a chilled white wine from the well-stocked Eleos bar, it went down nicely. Add a roaring bonfire, and you get a perfect evening.
The day dawned in a pool of lava. The spectacular sunrise boded well for a marvellous day of bushveld riding.
After a delicious breakfast, the riders were off at 07h30 sharp, and the race was on! I suspect more than one rider regretted that tasty mince and relish at breakfast when they hit the first steep climb of the day. And the hills kept on coming. The notorious Zwartkloof koppies posed a challenge that all riders aced in style. 35 km with 650 m of climbing made for a proper day on the bike.
After another scrumptious lunch, riders spent the afternoon going on game drives or doing the hike through the predator park. Others just spent their time sprawled on the bean bags in the chill zone under the trees.
Eleos pulled out all the stops when they prepared and set a beautifully lavish table with a wide selection of bread, cheese, fruit and nuts to enjoy with a refreshing gin & tonic as a sundowner. By this time, the riders were feeling a little peckish.
Andries Vermeulen entertained us with a selection of hilarious #Stoepstories that had us tearing up with laughter. Riders and non-riders opened their hearts and purses when Andries auctioned off various items for the benefit of Eleos.
Eleos is a non-profit organisation working in the Pretoria-West area that assists and uplifts underprivileged families and communities. That’s what you read on their company documents, when, in fact, Eleos comprises a special group of ladies, who received a calling to serve others, and who does so joyfully. These ladies truly leave a place more beautiful than they found it. Eleos also ran the bar at Bosveld Trap, and every rider and non-rider who bought a drink from that bar contributed to their worthy cause. All proceeds from the bar went straight to Eleos and the communities in need. Cheers!
Nico served up another hearty dinner, and after enjoying a last drink around the fire, riders made their way to their beds, ready for another day of riding.
Another clear, beautiful day dawned, and the riders knew that they were in for a monster of a day. 30 km with an elevation of 650 m is not to be underestimated.
Luckily Nico’s breakfast had everyone feeling ready for anything the tough route could throw at them. The gun went at 07h30, and this time, riders tasted cheese sausage for the second time on their way up. They conquered steep climbs and rough rocky descents like pros. Never did a section of tar feel so good thrown in between the rocky bits.
The well-stocked water points revived and energised flagging energy levels, and riders made their way home without serious incident. The beautiful Zwartkloof scenery dotted with wildlife more than made up for the hard ride. The ice-cold beer waiting at the finish coupled with one of Nico’s chicken wraps probably also had something to do with that.
The afternoon’s festivities promised to be good, with a host of South African artists lined up for entertainment. Mack Rapapali and Christiaan Baartman opened for Jo Black, and what a treat it was to listen to them. Mack and Christiaan set the stage admirably for the veteran Afrikaans artist, Jo Black, to take over from them.
Jo poured out his soul to his audience. Every person was touched by his words and music. It was an incredible afternoon of top Afrikaans entertainment.
After another fabulous dinner, the bonfires were lit, and the evening was whiled away with a glass of red wine while Christiaan Baartman entertained us with an impromptu campfire show. It rarely gets better than this.
Day 3 dawned clear and bright. Another tough day in Africa. The last stage of the race did not include the steep climbs, but the elevation was still significant. 580 m of climbing over 34 km ensured that riders were challenged but had loads of fun, and everyone finished on a high note.
Our champion riders at the end of the weekend were:
- Deon van den Dool 03:58:13
- Charles Zeelie 04:05:53
- Pieter Beyers Oosthuizen 04:22:27
- Nicola Havemann 05:13:51
- Melissa van Huyssteen 05:21:34
- Chantelle Eybers 05:22:58
After a last delicious lunch served by Nico, everyone was loath to say goodbye. But all good things must come to an end.
The South African spirit is unquenchable, and weekends like these only serve to reinforce a proudly South African culture. It means picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and looking towards the future rather than the past. It means focusing on what’s important: growth and a happy lifestyle. And who cannot be happy when they are on a bicycle?
Ond het #LekkerGetrap by die Eleos Bosveld Trap.