The Magalies Monster mountain bike race is a proper tough and technical MTB race. This MTB race has been around for many years as you can see from an early Magalies Monster race review we did back in 2007. I have just completed this event in June 2018, and it may be slightly shorter at 65km but it is just as tough. In fact I think it is a bit more technical with more singletrack now so it makes it more fun but not any easier. A full suspension bike is highly recommended for the marathon distance as the route is very rocky and the downhills technical. There is a lot of climbing throughout the race, within the first 20km you will be onto the big monster climb, but don’t think that its over once you get to the top. After the long descent into the valley there are still a few more steep sections right up until the end, so save those legs or you will be visited by the cramp monsters.
The start and finish is at Buffelspoort resort in the Northwest province, easily accessible from both Pretoria and Johannesburg. The event has grown significantly and now includes many shorter distance options so there is something for everyone. It is a great day out, can be a bit chilly with a winter morning start but it usually warms up to be a perfect winters day of riding.
Average Guy Review 2007
Monster time rolled around again, and a cold start saw around 250 riders taking on the 75km challenge. As you may already know, this is by far one of my favorite races of the year. Last year, I battled unknown disease to drag myself to the finish and I was determined to make a better showing this year.
Having just built myself a Raleigh Marathon bike, I was keen to test it on the harsh Magalies course. And it didn’t disappoint! This new frame has a far more active suspension than the previous RDS incarnation. The new suspension, attached to a Fox RP23 makes for an awesome bike for tackling technical routes. The ProPedal is now either on or off and the level is pre-selected. I have mine set on the most ProPedal when it is on, and when it is off it is fully active. I have dubbed the ProPedal switch the “fun button”. When the down hills get ragged and rocky, just hit the fun button and glide over all the trail clutter.
The race followed the same route as last year. If you have any intention of riding the Cape Epic and you are wondering what the daily routes are like, come and ride the Monster. This race, for me, is the closest that you will get to an Epic day. Naturally it is significantly shorter, but it has all the aspects – sand, rocks, portage and singletrack galore! For a more detailed description of the route, see my previous review.
The race was won by Richard Beswick, in the absence of all the Nationals riders, in an unbelievable time of 03:25. I noticed that he was also riding a dual suspension.
The race was superbly organized by Karl Schubert. This guy loves the Magaliesberg and has an intimate knowledge of the area. He has gone to great lengths to get the land access, and believe me, we appreciate this effort. Everything ran very smoothly, there were plenty, well stocked, watering points and in a race this tough that is really needed.
One small criticism; the guys started taking down the banners long before the last riders were home. I really think that it is terrible to have to ride in after 6 hours on the bike to and empty finish area.
Don’t miss this one, next year. It is the best race on the calendar!