Text and photos By Dean Issacs
On Sunday, 17th April, Arn De Haas, Paul Nel and I arrived at the Durban Green Corridors Enanda Adventure Centre in Inanda for a ride on their trails around the dam. We arrived at 6.30am and were met by Warren Quinn, the Sports Development Manager for Durban Green Corridors, three of the guides from the site, Gabi, Steve and Mellie and half dozen or so enthusiastic local kids from the MTB academy.
We were planning to do the day 1 route of the Marriot Freedom Race, but unfortunately this route did not include the climb to the top of the ‘mountain’ that I was looking forward to. So, I cajoled Warren, who is also in charge of trail development and maintenance, to take us ‘up the mountain.’
We set out with our three guides and a gaggle of enthusiastic Inanda kids, on their entry level, hard tail MTBs, flat pedals and sand shoes. The climb to the top of the ridge overlooking the dam is long and tough. We were questioning our decision to ride up the mountain as it is a long, technical, and sometimes rocky climb that requires both fitness and skill. Only Arn was able to ride the entire way without a portage. The rest of us found ourselves pushing up some of the steeper, more technical/rocky sections. I would not recommend this route if you don’t like technical climbing and you have an aversion to pushing your bike.
Reaching the top made the effort worthwhile, though. The views of the dam and the Inanda Valley are spectacular. We stopped for a photo op and a rest and then continued, making our way slowly back down into the valley. This is spectacular MTB terrain. It’s not all downhill, but the worst of the climbing is behind you. There is one very technical section on the descent, steep, rocky switchbacks that most of us had to walk. Arn gave us a clinic in technical riding and rode all the switchbacks without uncleating even once.