Pain is merely weakness leaving the body!
Beware: before you enter for the Rhodes Xtreme ask yourself - do you regard yourself as one of the toughest riders in the sport, a person who revels at the idea of suffering; someone who prescribes to the philosophy that pain is merely weakness leaving the body?
If your answer is yes, then read further.
The Rhodes Xtreme, presented by ASG and antonapps, is an extreme high-altitude race which takes place in the Rhodes Village in the Drakensberg Highlands - and you can't say you're a true mountain biker until you have completed this arduous two-wheeled journey.
The magnificent event takes riders back to the roots of true mountain-biking; man alone against the elements with rough, rugged natural tracks and trails at extreme altitudes. It does not get any tougher, or any more satisfying! And it's not for the faint hearted.
The event takes place on 29 and 30 September 2012, which enables riders who want to stay a while to enjoy the famous Rhodes hospitality to do so. The event falls over the first weekend of national school holidays in every province.
The route, surrounded by crystal rivers and magnificent, albeit agonising, mountains, makes for one of the most sublime off-road experiences on offer anywhere in the world.
On Saturday, 29 September, a 15km night ride (18:30) is presented which will loosen the legs in anticipation of the next day's main event - a gruelling 85km journey with a total ascent of 1700 metres, climbing at times at a 30 per cent gradient to a lung clenching 3001 metres above sea level.
The organisation of the Rhodes Xtreme is a tough task in tough conditions. To assist the organisers in ensuring rider safety in these very difficult organisational surroundings, entries are limited to only 200 riders. Entries will open on Friday, 25 May, and ONLY 200 entries will be accepted.
Why is it a must-do ‘cult ride’?
- The Rhodes Xtreme is the oldest mountain bike classic in the country. 2012 will see the 20th staging of the event.
- The Rhodes Xtreme is the highest MTB race in South Africa: summiting at 2678m on the boundary fence with Lesotho and again at 3001m on Tiffindel's Ben MacDhui, South Africa's highest rideable peak.
- Ranked in 'Best Mountain Bike Rides in South Africa' as one of the country's top 20 rides (Struik ISBN 9781868728251)
- Described in Tim Brink's article 'The Entry List' as one of 11 rides to do before you die, published in November 2009 Bicycling Magazine
Medical back-up is provided by MMC Event Medical Specialists, South Africa's foremost event disaster management company. Advanced life support specialists and an evacuation chopper will ensure that cyclists are well taken care of in oxygen deprived conditions. We must underline that this event is not faint hearted.
Rhodes Village is a secret Victorian village - declared a Conservation Area in 1997 - and reminiscent of a bygone era. Hidden away in the Eastern Cape Highlands on the southern-most tip of Lesotho, Rhodes Village exudes the timeless charm and quiet of yester-year.
‘Off the bike’ activities include snow skiing, fly fishing, hiking, horse riding, trail running, wing shooting, rock climbing, hunting, walking, San rock art cave tours, alpine flora, 4x4 trails, star gazing, buying local ceramics and textiles or simply relaxing with a coffee and absorbing the village atmosphere. (See Rhodes Relax on right)
Uniquely positioned on the Freedom Trail, the village hosts Freedom Challenge MTB riders refuelling during their mid-winter 2300km 26-day cut-off epic 'Ride Across South Africa' as well as being the final destination of the 'Ride to Rhodes', a 550km six-day supported stage race in the southern and south-west Drakensberg.
Rhodes Village also has impeccable credentials as a high-altitude training zone. Uniquely positioned on the Freedom Trail, the village hosts pioneering Freedom Challenge MTB riders refuelling during their mid-winter 2300km 26-day cut-off epic 'Ride Across South Africa' as well as being the final destination of the 'Ride to Rhodes', a 550km six-day supported stage race in the southern and south-west Drakensberg.
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The Rhodes Xtreme promises to become a favourite among those riders who enjoy events like The Cape Epic, Sani2c, Swazi Frontier, Sabie Experience, Magalies Adventure and Cradle Quest.
You owe it to yourself to get there.