The Ellesmere rides always start off with a gentle route past the cell phone tower and Zamani School before the riding gets more serious.
Here Chris crosses the Ifafa River on his way to the “Thompson Twins”.
The “Twins” are two areas a hill climb and then a stream crossing which have claimed a fair share of victims. Once through the “Twins”, we reach Ellesmere, our hidden jewel which has some really good riding terrain varying from open breaks to rock strewn sections followed by tricky off-cambers.
Below Volvo team leader Aubrey charges up the first break on Ellesmere. The best part of the rocks here are that they generally stay in one place rather than follow you around. (Like those in Lesotho)
Rocky Road. Rocky road is a wonderful section of rocks all firmly planted in the ground but a challenge especially for riders who are “vertically challenged”. So from open fire breaks to rocks galore then back to off-camber tracks skirting young gum plantations all within 2km of each other.
This is what makes us so privileged to ride at Ellesmere. Just like the weather where you can experience 4 seasons in a day, so you will encounter a vast variety of riding conditions right here in Ellesmere.
Below is Cameron negotiating a tricky rocky band with an off-camber to his left.
Here Jason makes “happy button” look easy.
This is the newest route we have opened up and is pitched at the more advanced rider. Facing south here the traction is good with soft sand and great views of the Nontunja valley.
The next fun encounter is “Pipe-Line”. This challenging climb got its name from the pipe that was put in so that vehicles could cross the river. This crossing gave us a good line to tackle this monster climb. Following the heavy rains in December 2010, the road got washed away so this year we have been tackling about 1/3 of the climb with an escape route onto an extraction road.
The peanut Gallery watches the rest of the group tackling the climb up pipeline. Isn’t it funny how easy a climb seems once you have got up?
With the stringent fire regulations in the Forestry sector, farmers are forced to hoe many kilometers of breaks at huge cost so what better way to try and recover the money spent than riding bikes on those breaks. Above is the group making their way down an internal break between two compartments of gum. This is part of a faster section which always sees riders hanging on the cable.
The next challenge was “69”. Without doubt the most famous of our breaks. It is the most varied starting with a rocky break then an awesome off-camber followed by a section through veld then crossing the Nontunja stream and a great climb up out of the valley to more rocks and a much awaited lunch. Below you can see three riders in the veld winding their way down to the stream.
I get by with a little help from my friends. Team captain gets a helping hand from his mates through the last section before enjoying a great lunch.
Chris powering his way up misfire: What an awesome break to ride up.
I still remember the adrenalin pumping the first time we tried to conquer misfire.
From there it was off to the last hill before we made our way back home. Cameron decided to show off and wheelie up the last part of Ifafa Cliffs, he assured us he was in total control at all times!
All in all it was a great day out in the bush again. We are so privileged to be able to get out and ride bikes in the most awesome terrain around.
So where to from here you ask?
We will be hosting another fun ride on the 11th December 2011 the details of which will be put on the website a bit later. Currently, we are thinking of hosting more of a family ride with something for the children and intermediate riders.
Watch this space for more information.
Until next time, ride safe.
The Kevard Adventures Team