Well folks the time is arriving for you to Ride the Beloved Country. Your 900k journey across four provinces of this beautiful country begins on Friday.

This is the last but very important newsletter you will receive. Please stop tweeting, whatsapping, taking calls, sending emails, posting on Facebook, and concentrate. Your life depends on it – your happiness depends on it.

The Lanham-Love Vaal Dam boat crossing

Lanham-Love is possibly the best legal company in the world. They are experts at helping you cross that bridge when you come to it. Only in this case there will be no bridge. Be it BEE compliance or commercial legal matters including divorce from your partner after 9 days, they have a team of experts with a proven track record.

On Friday they will be at the Vaal Dam to witness history as sponsors of the Lanham-Love Vaal Dam boat crossing. Bobby Lanham-Love will also be riding the full 9 days so you can discuss your partner relationship with him in our chill zone.

It will be the first time in 8 years that we will be using boats to cross the Vaal Dam. In the early years we used Dragon Boats, then we built the world’s longest bridge and now due to water levels we will cross with a variety of boats. Thanks to Lanham-Love we will be supporting the Albatross Ski Boat Club and the NSRI for the crossing.

We have barges and ski boats to ferry you and your bike across. We will need your help and patience as this is our first attempt so here are some guidelines:

  1. It is a neutral day (no racing) so chill out and don’t rush to the Vaal in massive bunches. You will all get the same time: A festive time
  2. The water point hosted by Life Ministry Christian Group, will be festive, so rather wait there than queue if there is a queue
  3. We have no idea if a queue will develop or not – even though Farmer Gary has massive experience using boats at Berg & Bush, you are our guinea pigs. Naturally we cannot test the speed of the crossing. We do know you will get across – how fast we are not sure
  4. There will be boats for bikes and boats for riders and boats for riders and bikes. Please keep your GPS with you if you are separated from your bike for the crossing
  5. We have built little landing jetties but if you need to get your feet wet then don’t be a sissy – get your feet wet they will dry in 30 minutes
  6. Remember we swam across the Vaal Dam with our bikes in the dry (wet) run so you should be fine
  7. If you want to swim 400m then please be our guest – the NSRI will be watching you.

We think it will be quite quick and that it will be different. There will be more about this at ride briefing on Thursday evening.

Reminder – GPS files have been emailed to you

We sent an email with links to the GPS files – please don’t wait until registration to upload your files. We will have the EasyBike team at registration to assist those in need.

Avis Van Rental Top Tip No 1: Turn off all warnings and maps on GPS – these will drive you nuts after 9 days.

Subaru Strip Zone (weather update)

South African weather especially in the Free State is weird at this time of the year. It can be freezing at night and in the morning but it can warm up to 23 degrees Celsius in the day.

Subaru will have a Strip Zone at Water Point 1 each day for your layers.

No water at Karan Beef start

There is NO water at Karan Beef at the start. So make sure your bottles and hydration packs are fill before.

There will be tea and coffee and breakfast bites for sale thanks to Life Ministry.

#care4girls campaign – collecting sanitary pads to help keep girls in school

There is a great initiative to collect sanitary pads for girls in need. Please bring a pack to registration with you. This is what the Old Mutual joBerg2c is about – Riding for More than Yourself.

Buffalo category and weigh in

For those of you who weigh more than 90kg and who want to compete in the Buffalo category you will need to register online here with the Buffalos. You will also need to weigh-in at registration.

Appy Snappy competition – Win a Pyga Bike

Everyday Old Mutual World of Endurance will run an Appy Snappy competition – take a creative pic en route and submit via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and you could win the prize of the day and stand a chance to win a Pyga bike. Please include the following in your post #joBerg2c / @joberg2c_ / @OldMutualSA

Amped charging units

You were meant to be getting an Amped charging unit at registration. Amped have informed us that it will be late. This is beyond our control and we will leave it to Amped to sort out.

They have said we must not worry as they will charge all your devices anyway in their Amped Powerhouse. Remember to bring your specific charging cables with you.

Carry your Credit Card on route

It is very important to carry your Credit Card with you at all times. In the unlikely event that you have to go to hospital they will not admit you unless you have your Credit Card with you.

Seattle Coffee mug

Very important to remember to bring your seattle coffee mug with you especially if you are repacking at home. This is the only way to get your daily fix from this incredible sponsor.

No sweets for kids on route

This message is especially for our foreign riders. Please do not give the kids on route any sweets or handouts. This is a sensitive issue but we work closely with the communities and they have asked us not to give as they do so much to try and help these kids help themselves.

Miele laundry service

Miele are sponsoring the communities to do two washing stops along the route – more about this in the event but it means you should have at least 5 sets of kit.

Avis Van Rental Top Tip No 2: Don’t over pack – you need to carry your bag daily and it is not necessary to over pack.

The Kids of the Haven and Squirt lube

Every year the kids of the St Lawrence Childrens Haven join us – they will provide you with lube at one of the water points each day. These kids are legends and they will be there to make your ride smoother thanks to Squirt Lube.

Daily highlights and Live timing on the website

Please remember to tell friends and family that we will have daily highlights and Live timing on our website every day. They can subscribe to our newsletter for reminders.

Our daily highlights will be brought to you by Aruba, BCX and Avis Van Rental.

Remember your friends and family can also track your progress using the mySOS website – see here for details.

Avis Van Rental Top Tip No 3:  Make sure your bike is running tubeless with lots of sealant – remember every time you use a CO2 cartridge (a Bomb) you render your slime useless.

Ok the talking is over. The next time we will see you is at Registration. Fly, drive, ride safely and don’t do any massive gap jumps this week.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday.