WHAT IS THE MUNGA EQUIPE?
CAN A BICYCLE RACE CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
ALL OR NOTHING…
The Munga was launched way back in 2015, and at first it seemed like a crazy idea. To race non-stop for 1000km across the arid Karoo in summer, really? But it soon became the go to ultra-endurance mountain bike race in South Africa, and the benchmark by which all other long races are measured. In its short history, the race has become somewhat of an iconic event, and a bucket list race for anyone who has ever been on a mountain bike! But’s let’s be honest; 1000km in five days is no easy task and is out of reach for many riders. We constantly hear stories of how riders wish they could do our race but are not up to the distance. And so Munga Equipe was born, a chance for that rider to join a team, and ‘together’, experience what it is all about.
Munga Equipe is in essence a relay race.
Munga Equipe is in essence a relay race. Equipe, French for team, is all about a group of riders splitting up the vast distances of the Munga, and each rider taking on a section. So, rider one would race from the start to RV1, and hand over to rider 2. Rider 2 would race to RV2 and hand over to 3, and so on and so on. Equipe follows the exact race route of the Munga with the same notorious sections.
Except in Equipe, you only have to race one of those sections!
THE ROUTE AND RACE SECTIONS
Munga Equipe follows the exact same route as the Munga mountain bike race. It begins in the city of Bloemfontein in South Africa and ends at the Doolhof wine estate in Wellington, a small town in the Cape Winelands. The route will be predominantly off road. The route will be a GPS route so riders will not have to think about navigation. The route is at a little more that 1000kms and covers some of the most beautiful, and barren terrain in South Africa. Munga Equipe allows teams of two to five riders, so if you are five, each rider will race just once section of the route on their own, and then all five riders will do the final section from RV5 to the finish together. The following is a high-level description of all six sections with respective distances and elevations to help you decide who will race what!
Remember, regardless of what section you do, all five riders have to do the final section together!
|SECTION 1||The start to Race Village 1||224km||974m|
|SECTION 2||RV1 to RV2||178km||716m|
|SECTION 3||RV2 to RV3||194km||952m|
|SECTION 4||RV3 to RV4||213km||1 264m|
|SECTION 5||RV4 to RV5||227km||1 982km|
|SECTION 6||RV5 to Finish||88km||696m|
|TOTAL:||1 124km||6 584m|
all five riders have to do the final section together!
It’s time to get that team together! Riding Munga Equipe can be logistically intense, so we have taken all the thinking out of the problem leaving you to focus on who is going to ride what!
1. READ THE RULES
This is super important. Make sure that there isn’t anything that could prevent you from actually riding the Munga Equipe. Make sure you’re riding the right bike, and that your diet doesn’t contain anything that could get you into trouble. The Munga Equipe is open to anyone, but it’s still a sanctioned race, and rules must be followed. You can find the rules here.
2. PACK THE RIGHT GEAR
There is a science to packing and bringing the right gear, and many riders have their own opinion about what gear you should be using. From what type of frame is best suited to the terrain, to what colour your socks should be. It’s really up to you and how you plan to ride the Munga Equipe as to what gear you bring. However, we have a fairly generic packing list for you that is a good place to start. If you’ve never ridden the Munga before, you’ll want to read this one. Find our packing information here.
3. BOOK A FLIGHT
If you live outside of South Africa, then you’re going to need to catch a flight a day or two before the start of the Munga Equipe. You’ll need to book a flight to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. While you’re at it, you could also book your return flight from Cape Town International airport. We recommend that you fly into Johannesburg at least two days before the race.
4. BOOK A VAN
Bloemfontein is about 400 kilometres (around 250 miles) from Johannesburg, so you’ll need to either book a rental vehicle, or find a friend with a van! Remember that Munga Equipe is logistically more complex than the Munga, as there are now five of you and your bikes! Who goes where and how? Thankfully, we have partnered with both Pickfords and Joggie’s Bicycle Transport to help solve this challenge and make it super easy and affordable.
5. BOOK A ROOM NEAR THE START
The Munga Equipe starts in the same place as the Munga, on the southwestern side of Bloemfontein next to the Windmill Hotel. However, it starts 6 hours earlier, so 6am! So, the first rider will probably want to spend the night before in Bloemfontein.
6. BOOK A ROOM AT THE END
Depending on your strategy, you’ll probably want to a book a room at the finish line. The Munga Equipe ends on the beautiful grounds of the Doolhof wine estate. You can stay here for one night, or two or three. It’s entirely up to you.
This is a suggested plan to help with your team logistics, and while you do not have to stick to this precisely, we encourage you to understand the complexities involved so that your team does not inadvertently break the rules.
Requires that you have your own team vehicle capable of carrying 4 (four) riders and 4 (four) bicycles.
- The team vehicle departs Bloemfontein 2 (two days) before the start of the race and heads down the race route dropping off all the team riders and their bicycles at their respective race villages, leaving rider 1 at the start. So rider 2 gets dropped at RV1, rider 3 at RV2, rider 4 at RV3 and rider 5 at RV4.
- The team vehicle then returns to RV1 the day before race day.
- All five riders are now in position at their respective race villages waiting for the race to start.
- At the start of the race, rider 1 heads to RV1 where he hands over his baton to rider 2. Rider 2 sets out for RV2 while rider 1 has a quick sleep, shower and meal. Rider 1 climbs into the team vehicle and heads to RV2. This process is repeated until all five riders are at RV5.
- All five riders set out from RV5 for the finish and ride as one team.
- The team vehicle heads to the finish line.
In addition to a team vehicle, you make use of a bicycle transport solution provided by Joggie’s Bicycle transport and Pickfords. This option may suit a team that does not have access to a vehicle that can carry 4 (four) bicycles.
- Pickfords: Two days before the race, a truck will leave Bloemfontein with your bikes packed in bike boxes and clearly marked with the intended race village destination.
- The truck will make its way down the race route dropping off your bike boxes at RV1 to RV4.
- Once the race starts and your team vehicle has dropped off your riders, they must then assemble their bikes while waiting for their turn.
- Joggie’s Bicycle Transport: If you don’t want the hassle of assembling your bikes at the race village, you can use Joggie’s Bicycles.
- Two days before the race, a truck will leave Bloemfontein with your assembled bikes clearly marked with the intended race village destination.
- The truck will make its way down the race route dropping off your bikes at RV1 to RV4.
- When a rider gets to the race village and hands over his baton, he will climb into the team vehicle but leave his bike at the race village.
- Once the race starts a truck will depart from Bloemfontein and collect the bikes (Joggie’s Bicycles) and bike boxes (Pickfords) along the way dropping all the bikes at RV5 for the final leg. All bike boxes will be taken to the finish line.
*Note: Accommodation and food prior to race start is not included in your entry fee, but the race villages will give all riders and Equipe team leaders a discounted rate. You are also welcome to use any other accommodation in the race village towns.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are only going to ride one section of the race you don’t need to carry as much as a rider doing it all! The same list of compulsory gear applies to Equipe as well. You need lights, lights that don’t die. Whether it’s a dynamo hub or a battery powered light, a good light is an essential component of your race strategy How much kit are you going to ride with? Are you going to go ultra-light, carrying only the bare minimum or do you want to pack for every eventuality? Whichever strategy you choose, you do not want the weight on your back. With innovative, lightweight, and weatherproof bike bags you can configure your adventure any which way you choose.
Unless you are the first rider, you will probably be doing a fair amount of riding in the dark. And we mean PROPER dark. After sunset, there is essentially no light except for what you produce yourself. We strongly recommend bringing more than one light, and an array of batteries to keep them lit.
The South African interior can be an easy place to get lost. A GPS device is a requirement for entry into the Munga Equipe, so make sure you have a good one.
While this may be essential for a rider racing the normal Munga, a dynamo hub may be overkill for Equipe, unless you are a team of two. But it does mean there’s no need to stop and charge your GPS device, or your phone. And there’s no need to carry more batteries than needed.
A mobile phone can be a lifeline in bad situations. The Munga Equipe race is well supported, and we have medics in vehicles along the route, but they could be in completely the wrong place when you need them most. A mobile phone is essential.
WARM KIT, RAIN COAT, SUN PROTECTION
The Munga Equipe is run through the Karoo (desert) in the middle of Summer. It’s hot. Really, really hot. But, in typical Karoo style, the nights can be really cold. Make sure you pack warm clothing.
South Africa also gets a deadly amount of sun, so be prepared. You’ll need a really good sunscreen and maybe even some skin care products.
Even if you are going to be doing one of the shorter sections of the race, you typically do not want any weight on your back, as the Munga roads are terrible in places. Weatherproof bike bags are definitely the way to go. There are plenty to choose from and you can configure them any way you wish.
We don’t want to be too prescriptive here because we know everyone has their own set up. So you’ll know what spares you need to bring. Puncture kits, tires, bolts, cables, bar tape, screw drivers, multi-tools, water bottles… Anything that can break or get lost should be on your spares list.
WE RIDE TO FIND A PART OF OURSELVES YET UNDISCOVERED
Oh yes. There are rules.
The Munga Equipe is a seriously tough race. This is not just a walk (or ride) in the park. We have to make sure that everyone on the route is safe, so every rider will be expected to follow these rules to the letter.
We don’t want to sound like stiffs, but any rider found breaking the rules, will be penalised or disqualified. So make sure you are familiar with the rules before setting out on your Munga Equipe journey.
Please read the final addendum in the rules pack to understand the options.
Things Riders usually ask.
WHEN IS THE RACE
The race takes place in the first week of December, over the same time as the Munga, but Equipe will start 6 hours earlier.
WHEN IS THE RACE
The race takes place in the first week of December, over the same time as the Munga, but Equipe will start 6 hours earlier.
HOW MUCH DOES THE RACE COST TO ENTER?
R32 500 per team. This includes all food and accommodation along the route.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT RACE CATEGORIES?
No. There is only one category, a team category. The team can be made up of 2,3,4 or 5 riders but they can be mixed male and female.
IS THERE A LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF RIDERS THAT CAN ENTER?
For the inaugural event, the number of teams will be limited to 75.
IS THERE A QUALIFICATION RACE?
There is no qualification process. The Munga Equipe is open to anyone who can ride a bicycle.
CAN I RIDE A TANDEM MOUNTAIN BIKE WITH A TEAMMATE?
No. Tandem bicycles are not permitted on the Munga Equipe Route.
CAN I RIDE A CYCLOCROSS BIKE
Yes, but we strongly advise against it!
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE ROUTE?
It depends entirely on your skill level, but the majority of the route (more than 50%) is non-technical dirt roads.
WILL I BE ABLE TO SCOUT THE ROUTE?
Yes. For the most part the route will remain unchanged, however, it does cross private land so these sections will be impossible to scout.
CAN I RACE THE MUNGA EQUIPE AS A SOLO RIDER?
No. Munga Equipe is a team event. You can ride as a pair, as a team of three, four or maximum of five.
DO I NEED A SPONSOR?
There is no requirement for you to have a sponsor, but you are more than welcome to find your own one.
WHAT IS THE MUNGA POLICY ON DOPING?
We are strictly against doping in any form.
WHEN DO RACE ENTRIES CLOSE?
Once month before race start, so the end of October.
WILL THERE BE TV COVERAGE OF THE RACE?
Maybe one day.
WILL THE ROUTE BE MARKED?
The route will be exclusively a GPS navigated route, but will not be difficult to follow. There are no markings along the route, so make sure you know how to use your gps!
WHAT IS THE ASCENT OF THE RACE?
The elevation changes dramatically within the last 200 kilometers, but on average, the ascent is roughly 6500 meters.
WHAT IS THE ASCENT OF THE RACE?
The elevation changes dramatically within the last 200 kilometres, but the ascent is roughly 6500 metres.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M ABLE TO FINISH A SECTION OF MUNGA EQUIPE?
This of course depends on what section you will be riding, but you should be able to ride a mountain bike at 10 to 12 km/hr for 18 hours, but this is just a rough guideline.
WHAT IS THE SHORTEST SECTION ON THE MUNGA EQUIPE?
RV1 to RV2. Is the shortest section at 178km.
WHAT IS THE LONGEST SECTION ON THE MUNGA EQUIPE?
The longest section is RV4 to RV 5, which is 227km. However, please remember that the same rider who does this section then has to ride with the rest of the team from RV5 to the finish, so the longest single section that a rider will do is from RV4 to the finish, which is 315km.
WHAT SECTION SHOULD THE STRONGEST RIDER DO?
Definitely RV4 to RV5.
CAN I LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE RIDING?
CAN I USE TRI-BARS?
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT IS PROVIDED?
There are medical officials that patrol the route on all three days. Race villages are equipped with rest, food and mechanical stations, and water points are available every 60 to 90 kilometres.
IS TRANSPORTATION OF LUGGAGE AND BIKE BOX PROVIDED?
Yes. The Munga provides transport of ONE bag and a bike box from the start line to the finish line. Any additional luggage, you will need to have transported for you, especially if you want it at one of the race villages. This luggage will have to go in your team vehicle.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE TEAM VEHICLE AND HOW DO I GET TO RV5 ONCE I HAD RACED MY LEG?
For answers to all team vehicle related queries, please see the section on Team Vehicle Logistics.
DOES THE EQUIPE HAPPEN EVERY YEAR?
WHEN WILL PRIZE-GIVING TAKE PLACE?
Prize giving will take place after the cut-off on day 5.
CAN I WORK FOR THE MUNGA?
We’re always on the look out for volunteers. Please send a mail to email@example.com
CAN I INTERVIEW THE RACE DIRECTOR?
You can ask him yourself. Send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN I PHOTOGRAPH OR FILM THE RACE?
Yes, please send a mail to email@example.com
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