The original concept of the Drak Descent was for riders and runners to see and follow the paddlers for short sections of the river as they did their annual Drak Challenge canoe race. That was until the human spirit kicked in! Now it’s a question of can we ride all the way next to the Umzimkulu river – from Restmount Children’s Home to the Umzimkulu River Lodge – and more importantly can we ride and/or run faster than the canoeists?? Well, that will depend on the River Gods; how much rain we have had; when it fell and how fast the river is now flowing. As any canoeist knows, the Umzimkulu can be at an all-time low on the Wednesday and be flooding by race day Saturday.
The Euro Steel Drak Descent is unique for many reasons – and this is why:-
The mtb race/ride is largely by invitation only – and is limited to 225 teams of two riders (450 riders max).
Those riders who rode the inaugural event will be invited again and may in turn invite one additional team (men, women or mixed) for 2016. This year the invites and entries will be handled online by MyActive. If all the team invites are not taken up, only then will the entries be opened to “the public” to fill any balance of the 225 teams).
It’s a race (there are very nice prizes and give-aways ……but no cash) – or a leisure ride, if you want. But whatever you want it to be, it’s assured to be testing, spectacular and lots of fun.
Much of the route is along the banks of the Umzimkulu river and its tributaries – right alongside the canoeists doing their race. But don’t watch them for too long ….or you’ll be in the water – without a paddle!!
This is an annual ride only and much of the route is on private property (part of a World Heritage Site) – that is otherwise inaccessible during the rest of the year.
There will be a race/ride come hell or high water. The race is held in afternoon thunder-storm season in the Drakensberg – and if the rain or river gods are not with us, we may well be swimming and not riding. But at least it’s bound to be warm at that time of year!
It’s the first stage race/ride of the season and will test your early season fitness and skills – as it’s definitely not for the inexperienced beginner! You’ll see the river from close – and also up from plateaus – giving some spectacular views. It is a “descent” but as you may well have heard “Life is not all downhill!!”
The race is one of the pillars of the FNB drak adventure weekend, together with the Eurosteel Run the Rivers and NT3C Drak Challenge.
The course will follow small tributaries of the Umzimkulu river from their source at Restmount Children’s Home, down to Underberg on day 1 (+-50 kms) and then from Underberg to the Umzimkulu River Lodge (+-40kms) on day 2 – allowing you time to get home reasonably early on Sunday. Both days will incorporate some of the legendary Sani Spoors river, forest and cattle trails.