The Long Loop

Featured

Overview
There are some ascents and descents that have become disused. There are some ascents that are not very well-known (yet) and there are some that are just too beautiful to forget… This loop intends to bring together all these three categories. (The names in italics can be found on the escarpment map)

It starts with Reverse Mitt Romney, a short steep combination of descent and  ascent that only few of us are able to ride in full. A necessary evil to get to one of the best downhills around: “The mystery descent” is a full singletrack downhill, starts out fast, then a nice rock garden, a technical, gravelly, steep section and a beautiful finale. Terrific alternative to the, somewhat ugly, “profanity hill” descent. The loop swerves to the left to take you to “pitchers mound” where we turn right on a jeep track.

I normally don’t like jeep tracks but this stretch takes you through a really nice valley with fast flowing water on your right hand. It will take you to the bottom of the long and hard “That’s what she said” ascent. A high hill in the middle of the escarpment with great views all around. It is not very well known yet. This approach from the south seems equally difficult as from the north. The descent on the north side takes you to the bottom of the well known “Like a Virgin” descent.

Turn right there and make your way eastward as if you were going for “dos rios”. Right before the river crossing at the bottom of “dos rios” (after “picadilly circus”) turn right  to cross it at a different point. This scenic crossing (see photo) is navigable on your bike although quite adventurous. Bearing left after the river, takes you to the bottom of the “Apocalyptic Church” ascent, where you’ll find another canadian online gambling river crossing. It has become a bit disused but it is very, very scenic, if you take a moment to look over your shoulder. The alternative name “Hidden Forest” describes it somewhat better. It takes you right back to the plateau where all that’s left is the flat ride home…

Guides
Craig, Martijn

Stats
Length 61km
Ascent 850m
Descent: 850m
Difficulty: tough
Starting point: Alain’s place
Type: Circuit

Track
Track in GPX format  LongLoop (to get this file on to your PC, right-click on the link and select Save As…

Note on the track: There were two small navigational errors at the soutwestern tip of the loop.

  1. We shouldn’t have taken this exit off the jeep track, but the second one after this one…
  2. You’ll note that right after this we had to backtrack a couple of 100 metres, should’ve taken the left turn to begin with.

Photos
Crossing the river

Map
LongLoop

Elephant Epic training loop

Overview

Yes, I know we should be tapering the week before the Elephant epic. I know it will do the race no good to do a long and hard training the week before. However, the people joining the training have no chance to win the epic anyway (hence no intention to try) and it is just great fun to do a long ride in the escarpment!! We all just go to bed really early for the rest of the week, wear our compression socks every day and pray for a quick recovery.

This loop is focused on making kilometers and is therefore a mixture of jeep tracks and single-tracks with only two long hills. Having said that, these hills named “That’s what she said” (long and steep) and “the creeper” (long and rocky) are very challenging. There’s only a few of us able to ride them all the way. The views from “That’s what she said” are very rewarding and it’s downhill is one of the better ones of the escarpment…

Guides
Craig, Martijn, Hubert

Stats
Length 72 km
Ascent 800m
Difficulty: moderate/tough (length!)
Starting point: Alain’s place ( 15°29’11 South,  28°26’25 East)
Type: Circuit

Track
Epic training (to get this file on to your PC, right-click on the link and select Save As…)

Map

Epic_training

Photos
Eastward view from the top of “That’s what she said”

That’s what she said

View into Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Escarpment Map – key ascents and descents

Overview

We love to ride the escarpment terrain, south-east of Lusaka. There are so many de- and ascents in there that are worth exploring. There will always be somebody there to guide us, and Alain is generously providing a great place to park and sit down afterwards.

However, there are also riders that ride (mostly) on their own and / or start from the Lilayi area (make sure to leave a donation for the Orphanage if you park there). Self explorers are finding beautiful areas and hills, and slopes might be removed from the collective memory when they are less-used. We can also not count on the most knowledgeable guides to be around all the time.

To make sure:

  • that slopes are not forgotten,
  • that we are all able to find that extreme downhill,
  • that we use the same names,
  • that everybody can enjoy the fruits of the explorers
  • that everybody can plan their own routes

I started drawing a map of the escarpment. You can find it here: In the Escarpment. It is a living map, So please send us newly explored gems worth sharing, or things that I have missed.

Map

Escarpment map