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The Munga training rides #1

The Munga training rides #1

The Munga and the preparation towards it. They say it's a mind game. Lets see how things progress..
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So we have all heard about The Munga, right? Well maybe not. Let me enlighten you on the subject of riding non stop from Bloemfontein to Cape Town in five days.

There are a few crazy people who attempt to cycle 1000+ kilometres as fast as they can trap their bikes. You have five days to race across the middle of South Africa in the heat of summer. The route is all self navigation by means of GPS and mainly off road. There are five support villages where one can get a hot meal, rest and charge batteries. In between these support stations are water points with snacks and drinks. The rest is up to you – or me for that matter as Ive decided to enter this years race.

Every year the race team organise what is called a Mini Munga. The idea is to ride shorter distances under similar conditions and give entrants the opportunity to ride with like minded who have entered The Munga to spend time in the saddle. The Mini Mungas rides are around 130km and time wise from 6 to 12 hours long. Last year I found these rides and joined to get time in the saddle and ride with like minded. What I found was a group of really great people who had one thing in common. To get outdoors and have fun, but there were a few who had entered this crazy race. I had licked blood and gotten my taste for endurance riding.

I have now completed my second 36One mountain bike race. The funny thing is, after the first one I said never again. This year I beat my previous time by a whopping 10 minutes (which I felt by the way) and vowed NEVER to do it again, guess what, I’m thinking about riding next year but first have to conquer this beast in November. I have a HEALTHY respect for The Munga and all that it stands for. Been reading many a blog of those who know and those who have failed. It definitely is a mind game, but also a fitness thing. To make the cut off, I will need to ride over 215km per day. Just before the start of this years 36One I met a couple who had done last years Munga. Unfortunately I didn't get their names but the young lady missed cut off by a few hours. Her partner made it. Anyway, I mentioned my plan of using the support stations to purely get some grub, have a short nap and hit the trail. Possibly I should mention my plan. 

Melkbos Cycles in Cape Town are building a dynamo hub for me. I’m using a Ewerk from Busch & Müller to regulate my power and charge a powerbank, from which I then plug in my Garmin 1030 and my Extreme Light. Talking of which, I may even load the Extreme Light battery and tap power off of that as needed. All these decisions to make. The good thing is I have until November. Which is approaching like a bat out of hell. The other modification I have made to my Scott Spark RC SL is to add tri bars, and here to my actual report.

I’ve ridden a few of these Mini Munga’s , both officially and privately. Last years route started at the Golden Valley Casino in Worcester and followed some awesome country roads down to Robertson and then returns back to the start. This particular route is 130km with 1050m of climbing. I recently had the privilege of my wife joining me. Now I must mention that she has never cycled more than 60km in one go. She hates any form of competitive cycling let alone any single track. Her thing is open gravel roads and landscape. This means most of our riding together is either while on holiday in the Little Karoo or Keoberg Nature Reserve. SO she joined me last week and had an absolute ball. It was a long day in the saddle, we stopped for pictures and generally had a blast on our bikes. I dare not rush her and upset the cart so we took things leisurely. To the point where she said yes, lets do it again. YESS... I need time in the saddle anyway and she gets to save snails that are about to get squashed by the odd farmer that drives by. We spent just over seven hours on the saddle, but had a ball. This brings me back to the saying “ Mind over matter” The Munga is exactly that. Oh by the way, should you be needing a ride to Bloemfontein, check out my deal here.

I’ll post some more regarding my bike setup and electronic soon.
Cheers Steve

Written by:  - Updated: 23 Jul  
My wheels for The Munga
Exploring the Breede Valley
eWerk from Bush & Muller germany
Cycling out in the Durbanville Valley
Shimao Dynamo hub spoked by Melkbos Cycles