Sunday, 25 September 2016

Durban Dash Up 2016 - Overview

Durban Dash, not your average ride. In a country inundated with more cycle races than weekends in which to host them, a new genre of cycling is starting to take hold - Unsupported Adventure Cycling. You start at point A and self navigate through a number of compulsory check points and finish a point Z. All without without any formal support or race organiser intervention. While not new on the global scene it has finally made its way to South Africa thanks to the vision and enthusiasm of Andy Masters whose stable of races are run under the Massive Adventures brand. The pinnacle offering is Trans Afrika, a race from Beit Bridge to Cape Town via three compulsory check points located in Swaziland, Lesotho, and Prince Albert. The 1000 Miler runs from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The Freestate Dash is a mini version of the 1000 miler and runs from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein while the Trans Karoo picks up on the 1000 miler from Bloemfontein through to Cape Town. The most recent race was the Durban Dash which comes in two variants, namely, the Down and the Up. The Durban Dash Up is a race from Hillcrest in Durban through 3 checkpoints - Old Halliwell Country Inn at Currys Post, The Border Post at the top of Oliviershoek Pass and the Heilbron KFC in the Freestate. The race ends at Thaba Trails in Johannesburg South. Any route is permissible as long as you don't ride on the N3. A suggested route is supplied in .gpx format. The Down race is simply the reverse. The cost of entry is cheap as chips. Granted you need to pay for accommodation and food along the way which makes a nonstop strategy attractive if you are stingy. The race is also short enough that competitive riders are able to ride nonstop. I used the .gpx route as supplied with one small variation that I knew from riding JoBerg2c. I'm not familiar with the tangle of backroads that thread you around the motorway and out of Durban into the midlands so was happy for clear directions. I packed sufficient food in my two ice cream tubs which were available at CP1 and CP2. Fuel station convenience stores kept me hydrated and provided treats like ice creams and crisps. That gives you an overview. I will delve into the events and headspace aspects of the race in following posts.

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