With the ever approaching Grabouw Totalsports Xterra around the corner and the MTB race calendar firing up, I figured it was time to do some serious MTB training. I hear the Xterra is quite a titan of a cycle due to the loose sand and severe undulating climbs and descends. So what better place to grind it out then the hills and single tracks of Tokai forest.
I’m no stranger to these vast never-ending climbs that Tokai present to you as an MTB’er but no matter how fit you are these climbs are still a challenge. My goal for today was to do a series of climbs countered by some decent single track that the various routes have to offer. Unfortunately I was rushed for time and the ever-increasing Cape Town summer temperatures didn’t help my cause. Therefore I decided to stick to the main jeep track climb, ascending to the start of the Mamba route, descending to the bottom via the single track only to repeat this a few times over.
Some may find the up hills at Tokai a breeze but for the more novice and weekend riders, it’s a plenty good undertaking especially when you have no-one to compete against but your thoughts and comments. Too make matters worse, on my second trip up, I decided that I would try ride up the single track in attempt to improve my technical skills. To my amazement, it was actually quite fun and it definitely takes the pain out of ascending these cumbersome hills! This is something I am sure to repeat in the future as it adds an element of enjoyment to climbing the Tokai hills.
Single track riding is not for the faint hearted. However, like with most activities, the more you practice the better you become. This also applies to single track riding but, with this improvement in cornering and taking on the drop-offs comes the increased chance of injury and/or bike malfunction. But on this occasion, I sailed through the course without hesitation and with much gusto. I have never been one for single track riding due to its technical requirements and safety concerns but also because I’ve previously been quite a nancy. But no more will I let single track riding inhibit my enjoyment of the sport nor will I opt out for the easy downhill jeep track option.
For those of you wishing to take on the hills and single tracks of Tokai, be sure to take plenty of water as it gets seriously warm up there. A mistake I learnt before when cycling to the mast! The hills are a good trek and offer great training for races and events. The single tracks also seem to have been laden with sand which complicates the riding even more but if you can conquer it without injury or harm, it makes the satisfaction even greater.
Tokia forest definitely caters for all riders as can be witnessed on most weekends. Be sure to get there early for parking and before the wind and heat gets worse. R35 gets you entrance to the reserve unless you have a Wildcard, in which it is free (make sure to bring it!) Lastly, beware of the baboons-hulle vat nie kak nie!
Until next time, Keep it dirty! - Lone-Rida