Route Description: The ‘Up’ ride
Starting from Kaleo outside Ceres at an altitude of 1000m, the first 30 km takes riders onto district roads, slowly rising to an altitude of 1230m. This section is marked by stunning Cederberg rock formations. The route then drops down from the plateau by about 500m over the next 15 km, following a ‘tweespoor’ farm road into a valley surrounded by high mountains. This takes you down into the Karoo and towards the first checkpoint and supporters point at the 51 km mark.
Heading through the Karoo Poort, the route now swings North East towards Sutherland and you’ll start to pedal into the heart of the Ceres Karoo. Dropping down to 595m, participants will enjoy the lunch stop at Bizaansgat, a firm favourite and home of Check Point 2. Medics, mechanical support and toilets will also be available at CP2.
Refueled and ready to go, the road now takes you up 992m before descending past what used to be the “honesty shop” to the second last checkpoint (CP3) at the 150 km mark, where supporters and/or boxes await riders. If you have not been riding all along with your lights, now is the time to put them back onto your bike. From here the Karoo night will be getting colder. Make sure you fill up with enough water and energy supplements for the big climb ahead.
Leaving CP3, participants will now be heading north-west and will descend to the lowest elevation of the entire journey before looking east and seeing the mammoth Ouberg Pass rising on the right. Ouberg Pass was the same route used by pioneer farmers back in the old days, ascending the 8 km pass to an elevation of 1400m. Once you reach CP4 at the top of the Pass, you’ll be able to see an unparalleled view across the extent of the Ceres Karoo from the Hex River Mountains in the south, all the way to Calvinia and the Cederberg in the north. That is, if you get there while it’s still light. Most riders will get to Ouberg Pass as it gets dark. Most riders will walk up Ouberg Pass, accompanied only by the stars and the Karoo night sounds.
From CP4, the last undulating 46 km through the Roggeveld (peaking at the highest elevation of the ride at 1700m), mustn’t be underestimated. But it gets easier as you get closer to Sutherland, with the last few km into town being on tar.
At the finish line in the Main Road next to the Dutch Reformed Church, your supporters, a warm welcome and wonderful hot meal awaits you.
Now you can lay claim to the fact that you have just “tamed the Karoo”.
THE ‘UP’ RIDE AT A GLANCE:
|Start:||Kaleo Guest Farm, Ceres||978 m|
|Total ascent:||2 739 m|
|Total descent:||2 168 m|