As the mud dries and you've cleaned your bike and perhaps contemplated a small ride this weekend, we reflect on the adventure of the iSimangaliso MTB 4 Day 2017 event.
We would like to thank all our 2017 participants!
"Your entry has enabled us to raise R265 000 for the iSimangaliso Rare and Endangered Species fund. Thank you for your participation."Shane Webster (Events Manager)
From uMkhuze and the rocky hills of the Lebombos, heading south to St Lucia and the sea along traditional animal migratory trails, single and jeep track through Big 5 country, this is possibly the most unique route any mountain biker could ever wish for. The weather didn't play its part, but to put a positive spin on this story, the extreme weather conditions created an event that won't be forgotten in a hurry.
As riders encountering the extreme winds and out of season rain, this was, we're sure, especially on Day Two, one of the toughest rides you've ever done. To bear this out a rider who'd recently completed the Cape Epic was overheard commenting that Day Two was comparable to the hardest day on the Epic. We salute you. Even if you didn't make it to the end just getting on the bike at the start was quite a mental challenge.
The route traversed nine properties and a huge thank you goes to the landowners for allowing us to ride through them, namely: iSimangaliso Wetland Park's sections of uMkhuze, False Bay, Western Shores and Eastern Shores; & Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve; Amorello Park in Hluhluwe; Graham's Boucher's Corner; Gavin Dickson’s Hluhluwe River Lodge and Bonamanzi Game Reserve.
As organizers we were pushed to the limit of our logistics with the extreme weather conditions, unusual elephant and other dangerous game activity, some behind the scenes challenges and a high injury rate. Our heartfelt feelings go to the few riders who sustained injuries and were not able to continue.
Apart from the funds raised, in exposing a new group of people to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park we achieved one of the event's major objectives; another key objective of every event is the creation of employment for the surrounding community plus the continued support for a number of schools in the area.
Without your entry and the generous sponsorships we would not have achieved our goals.
Thank you again to our headline sponsor Bell Equipment who, together, with their generous sponsorship also entered twenty of their top national and international clients and assisted us with logistical and helicopter back up along the route. What a great team of people, always willing to assist and fantastic to work with.
Thank you to all our secondary sponsors: Nashua Zululand, Wetland Water, RIS Vehicle Hire, IMPI Group, Compendium Insurance Brokers, OLA, Back To Basics, Hluhluwe River Lodge and Security Fencing & Alarms, who contributed towards the infrastructure and logistics needed for this event. Without them, this event would not have been possible.
We trust this small taste of iSimangaliso and the area adjoining the World Heritage Site will entice you to return with or without your bike. There is so much more to see and explore in this magnificent part of the world.
We look forward to seeing you again and thank you for riding with us.
Yours in Mountain Biking,
The iSimangaliso MTB team