Bright red banners led the way as the Rooibos MTB by Carmién event kicked off its maiden race on a super cold morning up on the Piekenierskloof Mountain Pass. The brave, the fearless, the inquisitive, the dedicated workers and organisers, and spectators were there, huddled in tents or around open drum fires sipping the now famous De Tol coffee for further comfort.
As main sponsor of the Rooibos2Muisbos MTB cycle tour for the past few years, 2023 became the first year Carmién actually made it their own event in partnership with the Rooibos MTB event owners. The risk paid off as we had a great turn out while history for the year showed other well-known cycle races struggled to get enough participants and some were even cancelled.
2023 Participants can find their individual race results here. Dates for 2024 are scheduled for 27-28 July and it will be a one day event limiting excessive travelling and allowing more spectators and families to join. Keep an eye on the Rooibos MTB website and Facebook page for updates.
The 2023 Rooibos MTB by Carmién event was a 2-day Mountain Biking event that took place on 22 & 23 July offering 3 circle routes (87km, 55km and 30km) giving riders a choice in level of difficulty and experience required. The routes were non-technical and all suitable for mountain-, gravel- and e-bikes. The Start and the Finish for all distances, on both days were at De Tol, located on the N7 Piekenierskloof pass, about 8km from Citrusdal.
Being circular routes made it much easier for riders from Cape Town and further afield as they could start and finish at the same place, instead of travelling a great distance back to the start. The spectacular scenic route passed over privately owned farms and district roads and lived up to the race slogan to “Never stop making memories” and Oakpics did not disappoint with their exceptional photography (view the event photos here). Riders travelled through the imposing rock formations of the Olifants River mountains, vineyards, citrus orchards, green wheat fields, and yellow canola fields with nature meeting them in all her floral splendour around every corner.
Right now Citrusdal and the Northern Cape is a breathtaking display of early summer flowers as far as the eye can see with droves of daily visitors. All the more reason not to miss the 2024 Rooibos MTB by Carmién.
Highly visible signage and well planned procedures made registration a breeze for participants and, as usual, the teamwork in planning and delivering on the day was excellent.
Water Points & Food Stalls
Water points en route provided a delicious variety of snacks that had riders filled with high praise and the food stalls at De Tol offered way more than their usual sumptuous eats and much-loved “roosterkoek.” Apart from all the coffees, rooibos, cappuccinos and cold drinks available, Piekenierskloof Wines had their award winning wines available for onsite enjoyment and more to purchase for home enjoyment.
De Tol proved an excellent venue and the variety of goods and activities on offer made it more than a worthwhile experience for both riders and spectators.
The quaint Carmién Tea Shop was an experience not to be missed. Shelves were stocked with full ranges of delicious teas and teaware and, as always, ‘more than just a cup of tea.’ Carmién leads the tea industry with their unique tea and nibble pairings which includes tea tastings for kids, teas and nibbles and their G & Tea pairing made with their own two handcrafted Rooibos Gins. Of course the Gin and Nougat pairing was the favourite of the day!
Carmen Niehaus, well known cookbook writer and tv personality, (twin sister of MD and Founder of Carmién Tea, Mientjie Mouton) hosted a not-to-be-missed Piekenierskloof wine, Carmién rooibos tea and De Tol nibble pairing on the day using produce and products all grown or manufactured on the family farms.