“You’re too young to…” This is a statement you won’t hear cyclist Anton Apps using when he addresses his aspiring-rider son Elliot. In fact, this dad encourages him to do what other 12-year-olds could only dream of… Like going on a 6-day MTB trip.
Cycling Off the Beaten Trail
That’s right! Who says you have to be a certain age to partake in a multi-day cycling experience? Cycling races, like the Cape Epic, will have one thinking they must wait patiently for their 19th birthday to hop on the saddle for the journey of their lives.
But Anton knows that it’s during one’s youth that the real magic happens. It only made sense to bring the best of both worlds – multi-day cycling and boyish curiosity – together in The Cycling Odyssey.
Anton and Elliot’s The Cycling Odyssey
On Saturday, 7 December 2014, father and son Anton and Elliot Apps set out on the ride of their lives. It would take them on a 410 km journey through three provinces (Free State, KZN and Mpumalanga) using six different mountain passes. And “What mountain did they explore during their journey?” you ask. The above provinces are a pretty good hint, but if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s an Oaklands favourite – the mighty Drakensberg.
The daring duo crossed the Drakensberg water divide four times, entering and exiting a variety of terrains to the tune of wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. What pre-teen wouldn’t want to drink in all that beauty?!
The MTB Route
The journey was meant to offer more than a mere physical challenge – it was an educational tour, as well. Starting at Van Reenen’s Pass, father and son would have birding lessons, near encounters with thunderstorms, and “backpedal” to a time when famous battles were fought between Zulu warriors and the Brits.
The pair made several rejuvenating stop-offs at hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses along the way – one of them being Oaklands Country Manor. Other passes included Botha’s, Normandien, Quagga’s Nek, Moll’s and Roger’s (the final leg of the cycle leading to us!)
Read the tale from Elliot’s point of view.
The Finish Line
Averaging 57 km a day, we’d say Anton and Elliot will be a match to be reckoned with at the Cape Epic one day. Until then, we hope they keep beating on the unassisted, trail less travelled!
Fancy on attempting their trail yourself? Here’s a list of coordinates so you can find the above Passes.