Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 128

TRAVEL | African MTB Series Conquering the DARK CONTINENT Five carefully selected stage races were targeted by Ben Melt Swanepoel and Yolandi du Toit of Team Garmin MTB, and so it came that they set off on one of their most memorable journeys – the African MTB Series which necessitated a whirlwind of racing, travel and good times (literally and physically!). Namib Quest First up was the six-day Namib Quest taking us on a 480km journey from Windhoek to Swakopmund via some of the most remote and diverse landscapes on offer in this beautifully arid country. Our largely westward route traversed the semi-desert Komas Hochland by loosely following the C28 dirt road, frequently diverting onto adjacent farmland for some serious mountain biking. Eventually we dropped down through the transitional plateau and into the Namib Desert, crossing the Namib Naukluft Park and finally popping out on to the Atlantic coast at Swakopmund. Obviously nothing new to Namibians, but for all foreign riders, camping was taken to a whole new level. To start, the camping equipment was top notch and campsites were erected in beautiful, remote places where phone signal was as scarce as water. This meant the day was spent in the company of nature, fellow riders and the always accommodating race staff, rather than staring at our mobile devices. It was refreshing to spend time watching the sunset while sharing war stories about the day’s stage rather than staying up to date with the latest on social media. The race atmosphere is tranquil and, to keep it this way, race organisers limit the event to 75 entrants which meant we all knew each other by the time we rolled into Swakopmund. Opening and closing farm gates as we traversed private land became part of race strategy and added to the charisma of an event which teemed with individuality. Winning the race overall was a fantastic start to our Series and set the tone for the rest of our odyssey. PHOTOGRAPHS JACQUES MARAIS, XAVIER KOENIG, ADAM PHOTOGRAPHY 128 | MTB | african adventure TRAVEL | African MTB Series Conquering the DARK CONTINENT Namib Quest First up was the six-day Namib Quest taking us on a 480km journey from Windhoek to Swakopmund via some of the most remote and diverse landscapes on offer in this beautifully arid country. Our largely westward route traversed the semi-desert Komas Hochland by loosely following the C28 dirt road, frequently diverting onto adjacent farmland for some serious mountain biking. Eventually we dropped down through the transitional plateau and into the Namib Desert, crossing the Namib Naukluft Park and finally popping out on to the Atlantic coast at Swakopmund. Obviously nothing new to Namibians, 128 | MTB | african adventure but for all foreign riders, camping was taken to a whole new level. To start, the camping equipment was top notch and campsites were erected in beautiful, remote places where phone signal was as scarce as water. This meant the day was spent in the company of nature, fellow riders and the always accommodating race staff, rather than staring at our mobile devices. It was refreshing to spend time watching the sunset while sharing war stories about the day’s stage rather than staying up to date with the latest on social media. The race atmosphere is tranquil and, to keep it this way, race organisers limit the event to 75 entrants which meant we all knew each other by the time we rolled into Swakopmund. Opening and closing farm gates as we traversed private land became part of race strategy and added to the charisma of an event which teemed with individuality. Winn ₯ΉœΡ‘”Ι…”½Ω•Ι…±°)݅́„™…ΉΡ…ΝΡ₯ŒΝΡ…ΙЁѼ½ΥȁM•Ι₯•Μ…ΉΝ•Π)Ρ‘”Ρ½Ή”™½ΘΡ‘”Ι•ΝЁ½˜½Υȁ½‘εΝΝ•δΈ)A!=Q=IA!d)₯Ω”…Ι•™Υ±±δΝ•±•Ρ•ΝΡ…”Ι…•Μέ•Ι”Ρ…ɝ•Ρ•‰δ •Έ5•±ΠMέ…Ή•Α½•°…Ή)e½±…Ή‘€‘ԁQ½₯Ё½˜Q•…΄…Ι΅₯Έ5Q°…ΉΝΌ₯Ё…΅”Ρ‘…Ёё•δΝ•Π½™˜½Έ½Ή”½˜Ρ‘•₯Θ)΅½ΝЁ΅•΅½Ι…‰±”©½ΥΙΉ•εΜƒŠLΡ‘”™Ι₯…Έ5QM•Ι₯•Μέ‘₯ Ή••ΝΝ₯Ρ…Ρ•„έ‘₯Ι±έ₯Ή)½˜Ι…₯Ήœ°ΡΙ…Ω•°…Ή½½Ρ₯΅•Μ€‘±₯Ρ•Ι…±±δ…ΉΑ‘εΝ₯…±±δ„€Έ