by Sarah Sawers

Mountain Biking - Blog Entry 5

Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 5

Riding the Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 5
Riding the Spine of the Dragon - Blog Entry 5
Day 22
Start: Oxbow
Finish: Ha Lejone
Distance: 72Km
Climb: 2011m
Whether you can actually ride down the Maliba-Matso river or not has been a major point of contention between David Bristow and myself since our first trip ‘down’ the river last year. This time I was determined to prove to Dave that we, as a quality bunch of mountain bikers, could ride most of the way, and in fact ride further to Ha Lejone. Well, it turns out that Dave may be right when he calls this the ‘best unrideable mountain bike trail’ after all.
We had to break our way out of Oxbow as all the gates were still locked when we left, which was probably our smallest obstacle of the day. As soon as our tires met the gravel road there was a disturbing crunch of breaking ice as we rode towards the first freezing crossing of the Maliba-Matso (the first of five that day).
The first 20km of the trail is exceptionally hard to ride continuously without the occasional dismount (sometimes unplanned!) to avoid some or other obstacle. On this section we averaged only 3.5 km/hr! However, this valley really is quite special and as David puts it, ‘The landscape, scenery and wilderness of the place cannot be surpassed.’ And once the trauma of tumbling down the trail had worn off a little, the guys heartily agreed with this.
After we reached the first semblance of a road after about 6 hours, we still had 45km of tough Lesotho road to ride in order to reach our destination of Ha Lejone! After 12 hours we were exhausted but relieved we had arrived at Ha Lejone.

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