2016 Evox Tour de Femme

Introduction

Jenni Green & Jackie Lange

In early August 2016, it all became a reality what first started out as a dream for Jenni Green and Jackie Lange about 2 years ago.  The vision behind Evox Tour De Femme was to know exactly what women want because they are women. They have spent the last two years leading up to this inaugural tour event, dreaming up the perfect adventure weekend for girls and they certainly attained it.

The concept of the Tour de Femme was born when Jackie and Jenni, co-directors of Titanium Sports Events, the company that owns and manages the Tour De Femme, saw a very real desire of women to have a more relaxed environment, with like-minded friends and acquaintances, to ride their bikes and explore nature.

This MTB event just for women, exceeded all expectations way beyond measure. This inaugural Evox Tour De Femme was the first of its kind.

It was a special weekend away with the girls. A well deserved treat, added with some exhilarating and luxurious experience that included 3 days of mountain biking with the big five and fine dining at the Gondwana Nature Reserve made this event truly spectacular.

The Venue

Our venue were hosted by Gondwana Private Game Reserve. It offered access to amazing routes in the area, both in the reserve and throughout the adjacent land.

It is part of the Garden Route and really a beautiful part of the country. The Big Five game aspects added quite a bit of thrill to the experience.

Gondwana Game Reserve made is such an unique event that was designed to spoil our ladies. This exclusive Safari Park offered guests top qulaity attentive service and fine African Cuisine, inspiring interiors and expert Game Rangers. There was an array of activity, which of course included Mountain Biking.

The Gondwana Game reserve were committed in providing us full protective game rangers and vehicle support for the participants, while they were riding through the reserve. This allowed our ladies to to pedal with peace of mind and still feel the excitement of sharing the bush with many Wildlife animals and species.

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The Ride

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The Evox Tour De Femme was all about the experience and not really intended as a race and therefore no time were tracked, but rather it had independent groups that allowed ladies of similar fitness and skill levels to share the experience. Each group had their own support vehicle that provided mechanical support and nourishment.

The ladies were allowed to change groups each day should they feel to ride faster or slower and the objective was to enjoy riding your mountain bike in good company through an amazing Game Farm and South African bush.

Distances were Day 1 (50-55km), Day 2 (45-50km) and Day 3 (45km). These distances were not too long, as Evox Tour De Femme was more about than just the riding. However, the routes offered a good challenge, as well as some off-the-bike enjoyment time too.

The whole package consisted of one entry and included 3 days of riding, 3 nights of luxury accommodation, drinks, meals, selected wines, boma dinner, bonfires, bike wash, evening game drives, airport transfers and much more. Entries were limited to 50 attendees and entries were in teams of 2, but not from a racing point, but rather as a “buddy system”. Everyone got VIP treatment!

Day 1

“Great day out exploring the Gondwana Game Reserve by bicycle in-amongst wild animals, majestic valleys…and best of all – good times with women who love or will soon fall in love with this beautiful sport.”

Upon arrival we were welcomed by Elephants in the camp, hearing these animals move through the foliage, smelling them…what a way to start this unique weekend…

Our introduction to one another, the game reserve, and for some… the first time to be riding a mountain bike. I still remember thinking to myself… “Well this could be interesting” …. and it was, in such a good way. To see women of all ages, from all walks of life, different riding/skill levels, moms who had left their families behind to come and spend the weekend with a group of women who had all signed up to this adventurous weekend of riding, pampers, and socialising. I sat back and thought to myself what courage each lady came to this event with…. and how special this was. By the time we all arrived back at the “main camp” after 50km of MTB’ing everyone was in good spirits, feeling connected to one another in some way after the experiences shared out in the game reserve on a bicycle.

The evening meal was prepared by the staff in a “BOMA” (Enclosure, blockade/small fort made of sticks and branches) around a typical Camp fire in true South African style. The bonding that took place that evening, the sharing of the days stories, leaving most laughing and smiling at the memorable moments.

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Day 2

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“A ride taking us through the most beautiful yellow Canola fields, climbing, coffee stops, good laughs and loads of memory collecting”

Everyone feeling a little more comfortable knowing one another now, after a great night’s sleep in these little grass roofed huts with skylights which make you feel as if you are sleeping underneath the stars. For some the first time on the bike 2 days in a row…. everyone eager to conquer this challenge they had committed themselves to. Splitting into our 2 groups based on level, we all set off into the misty cloudy morning. The familiarity of the ride and protocol running smoothly and women sharing tips of “how to” climb better, “how to” ride through water, “how to” ride rocks. It was fantastic to see the interaction and way that the ladies were helping one another improve, and at times asking me for advice or information on mountain biking which I was more than happy to share. We were fortunate to see Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo while out riding on this particular day.

An evening game drive on our way to our dinner venue that evening added much excitement, as we came across two Lionesses having a stand-off with a pair of hippo’s. Eventually having to be summonsed to dinner we left the animals in peace to let be what was going to be. It seemed the Hippo’s were winning the battle ?? Only to reverse within 5 metres of the Male lion who had been sneaking quietly through the grass behind us. To have such close encounters with these big 5 animals was incredible, even for us South Africans.

Day 3

Our final day started a little earlier in the morning than the others, everyone knowing the ropes and going through the motions…Dressing, breakfast, faff, bike and off we went. Many of our rides having to be controlled by the whereabouts of the animals and at times having to re-route and re-plan the days proceedings.

At this stage seeing the confidence and comfort each lady was now riding with was just one of the incredible things to see for me. The way they handled their bikes, their setups now somewhat corrected to provide comfort and ensure no injuries had been taken care of in the past 2 days. I still respect and take my hat off to all of the women who took on this challenge.

The descents and climbs this day were rough and really rugged… and I was taken aback to see how these women coped. I didn’t see one woman arrive back without a smile on her face. Each of us left there feeling uplifted & united by the one thing in common – a BIKE RIDE…or 3 :)

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