Day 1: Up the Hella-Hella

Pietermaritzburg to Allendale (via Minerva Soup Stop)
98km, 2515m ascent
Depart: 6h00
Arrive: 15h11

Start in front of the City Hall right under the Comrades marathon banner! Go happens on the stroke of the 6th gong. Navigation was a touch tricky going through Bisley but everyone emerged together and headed for the Minerva soup stop at the transport museum, interesting stop and a most thrilling downhill into Byrne rounded off a perfect start to the day.

A stunning riding down into the Umkomaas valley, with spectacular vistas of the valley and then down some steep cement track descents (which every year claim victims and brake failure due to overheating) and stunning single track next to the river bank. A great day of riding until we hit Hella-Hella, it did not disappoint, almost 600m of ascent over 8km, push-a-bike for most of the hill, not an easy ride.

Donna’s hospitality at Allendale is legendary and the koeksisters were a winner! Will be worth coming back just for that. All in all a great day out and most of the group decided to stay over and recover for the monster day into Ntsikeni.

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