The Grootbrak Grabadoo 31 December, 2016:
During the month of December I took a long-deserved break and headed to the Mossel Bay and Gouritz area in the Western Cape to just take a break from the normal hustle and bustle of the busy corporate life. I only recently purchased my new Scott Spark mountain bike and since no holiday is complete without cycling, I decided to see if I could find a race or new trail online.
After spending some time online and not finding much info on trails or trail parks, I discovered the Grootbrak Grabadoo that takes place annually on the 31st of December. I found out the event has been going strong for more than 10 years and decided to join the Grabadoo, both to see the trails in the area, but also see what the race offers to visitors.
The race starts in Grootbrak, a small town located between Mossel Bay and George, and then heads into the hills surrounding the town itself. The race and registry starts on a small sports field on the main road heading through the town. The Grabadoo offers four distances for mountain bikers, 71k, 53km, 36km and a 15km, as well as a 4.8km walk for those who prefer a walk over the cycling.
I decided to enter the 71km race and see what the trails has to offer in the area. Upon starting the race, it takes you down the main road, then splits off on a dirt road which quickly climbs out of the town itself. Once the rider has conquered the first long climb, the Grabadoo takes the rider through a series of rolling hills and open dirt roads crossing farms in the area. This section covers a few kilometers which then takes the rider into the mountains and the forest areas.
The forest section winds its way through the local nature conservation area and covers a great deal of the ride. The race offers almost no single track, but what it lacks in single track it truly makes up for in sheer beauty. The forest stretch has some of the toughest climbs of the route and at times it reminded me of “The Hills Challenge” and its climbs. This section in the Grabadoo, however, starts off with sections of pine forest and then goes deeper into more lush forest that at times almost blocks out the sun entirely and is truly a breath-taking combination of trails.
Once the rider exists the forest, he or she is met with a few rolling hills and then some really steep climbs on your way back to Grootbrak. For those looking to only ride single tracks, this is perhaps not the race you should be looking at. From my perspective, I would advise any rider in the area to enter the race and go see what the Grootbrak has to offer.
For a mere R150, the race is good value for money and is a great way to close off the year if you are a keen mountain biker in the Mosselbay, Knysna or Gouritz areas.
From our side, thank you to all the organizers and sponsors for a well organized race.
Also published on Medium.