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Top Tips for Riding at Altitude

Riders during the 2017 Crank Chaos at Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho – 27 October 2017 | photo by Ewald Sadie

Want to know what it is like at the top? The real top. 3222 meters to be exact. Then CrankChaos is the place to be.

CrankChaos is mountain biking festival extraordinaire that takes place at the majestic Afriski Mountain Resort, situated in the heart of the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains in Lesotho, from the 31 October – 3 November 2019. CrankChaos, one of the unique biking events on the continent, is quickly establishing itself as the ultimate test for enduro and gravity riding featuring some of the biggest and most experienced names on the Southern African riding scene.

Back to our question. What is it like at the top? As all previous riders of CrankChaos will tell you, once you start approaching the peaks of the majestic Maluti mountains, things start to feel a little bit… different. The altitude has always been a part and parcel of the CrankChaos challenge and is just one of the things that makes it so enthralling.

Here are some tips on riding at altitude, so you can avoid the worst and maximize the fun:

Drink Up and Often

Your H2O requirements can actually be a bit higher at high altitude than they are at sea level. The reason? Super low humidity. This means you lose more water out of your skin, your breath, and your sweat than usual. So make sure you get in those 8 glasses plus a day – even if you don’t feel thirsty!

Fuel Your Adventure

Make sure you are loading up on the delicious selection of carbs at Afriski’s Sky Restaurant. You need more carbohydrates at altitude because your metabolism is working faster. A little extra salt, to combat dehydration and extra iron-rich foods to keep that blood and adrenaline pumping.

Take it Easy

With lower oxygen levels your physical abilities may get a little strained, a little earlier than usual. If you’ve done 20 runs and you’re feeling a little flat, take that break at the Gondola Cafe before heading back up. There are over 6 different events taking place during the CrankChaos weekend so rest up and recharge where you can! This will be where the good will be separated from the GOATS.

Enjoy the View

If you find yourself pedaling uphill (which will be rare thanks to the only bike uplift in Southern Africa) you’ll work really hard to ride really slowly! But don’t worry, everyone is in the same boat – and you should just take your time and marvel at the awesome scenery you’re riding in. The rewards at the top are well worth the effort.

Riders during the 2017 Crank Chaos at Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho – 27 October 2017 | photo by Ewald Sadie

Altitude is no playground unless of course, you are at CrankChaos. Those beautiful, Maluti mountains are the perfect backdrop for what is fast becoming a staple of the SA MTB calendar. And you can’t miss it! Early Bird entries are open if you book before 30th June 2019 you will receive a free cap and hoodie.

Head to to book your package or follow us on the CrankChaos or Afriski Mountain Resort Facebook pages for news, competitions and more.



Prepared by Kelly Fraser, Nomadic Social,