In typical WH-style, we wish to get our motion on on the weekends. And in case you’re like me, I race to coach – with out occasions, my motivation dwindles exceedingly — and I like to journey! In truth, #FitTravel is my factor. I’m obsessive about exploring South Africa’s stunning and distinctive landscapes. And one of the best ways to discover a brand new vacation spot (and to cowl extra land than operating), is to mountain bike. One other level to be aware of is that increasingly more SA MTB races are providing e-bike classes or permitting e-bikes to compete, so be sure to ask and test the foundations on every web site.
Listed here are some epic races that I’ve executed, some I’m about to do and others which can be nonetheless on my want checklist…
Tankwa Trek (four levels) — For MTBers Who Need Technical
6-9 February 2020, Ceres
If, in some unspecified time in the future, the thought crosses your thoughts that you just would possibly wish to try the Cape Epic, then give Tankwa a go. As everybody advised me: “If you are able to do Tankwa, you are able to do the Epic. “Sure, you’ve surmised appropriately — this race is a toughie. And there are some monster climbs, together with essentially the most well-known Merino Monster (see pic beneath). The race was once three levels, however as of final 12 months, a fourth stage was added.
My favorite factor about Tankwa Trek is the race village and vibe. A number of the most severe South African mountain bikers participate, so there’s lot’s of cool bike porn and mingling over a post-stage beer to do. The meals and village life is implausible. It’s a spectacular Dryland occasion and I’m dying to return and try it now that it’s even longer (… I simply must persuade my accomplice).
Glacier Cradle Traverse — To Escape The Hustle
Three-5 April, Gauteng
The Cradle Traverse takes locations 30 minutes drive from town (10 minutes from Lanseria airport), so, technically, you’ll be able to drive out and in every day as an area. Or immerse your self into the wild aspect of Gauteng. The paths are sometimes described as Gauteng’s best-kept secret and provides members an opportunity to discover Cradle of Humankind. The routes every day are brief: between 35km and 45km. This race provides one thing for all ranges and is nice for learners wanting to check their skills at a stage occasion.
I’m nonetheless dying to do that race as I’ve by no means ridden the paths on this space, however have heard thew greatest issues about it! (Similar organisers as Tankwa Trek.)
Joberg2C (9 levels) — For MTB Endurance Kudos
24 April – 2 Might, Gauteng, KZN
I’m so so so excited to experience my first J2C this 12 months! It’s my first large health aim for 2020 and it’s going to be an actual check of endurance. 9 — sure 9! —days of driving! With about 100km every day! Exploring the magical South African countryside between Johannesburg and the KZN shoreline. Joberg2C is already offered out for 2020, however in case you love mountain biking, you want to add this to your bucket checklist.
Why I’m so excited: the route crosses by means of 4 provinces of SA, over 220 personal farms with greater than 280km of single observe trails. I really like single observe, so I’m seeing this as one large play expertise. I did an interview with first-time J2C rider, Roxanne Inexperienced, who shared her 2018 J2C race expertise with me, aptly titled: What 9 Days Of Biking Actually Does To Your Bum
KAP Sani2C (Three levels) — For The Single Observe Lovers
12-16 Might, KZN
If 9 days of driving sounds a bit mad to you, however you continue to wish to better of these superb KZN single-track trails, that is your race! Apart from it being the biggest stage race in SA, with three three-day occasions operating concurrently over the week, it covers beautiful terrain and the manicured trails are extensively spoken about. About four 500 riders take part, which is testomony to its do-ability and recognition. The community-orientated race, the KAP Sani2C has created year-round employment for this rural KZN space and begins on the childhood residence of Crimson Bull sponsored SA feminine mountain biker, Bianca Haw. Assume undulating Midlands mountains and nice Natal hospitality.
It’s completely on my bucket checklist… However I’ll get to expertise the vast majority of the route at Joberg2C.
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Knysna Cycle Tour MTB (1 stage) — A Cause To Go to Knysna
27 June, Backyard Route
The Knysna Highway Race and MTB Race happen on two consecutive days and in 2018 I did each of them and LOVED them. The Backyard Route is likely one of the most stunning locations to go to in South Africa and there may be a lot to do within the city of Knysna (to your non-cycling mates and fam). That is the right excuse to move to the Backyard Route for a weekend and revel in some good racing and trails.
Be aware: It’s typically chilly and damp, so gear up with heat package! We stayed within the city of Knysna itself, so you’ll be able to simply experience to the beginning of both race. What’s additionally fab is that there are completely different distances for various ranges of expertise / health: a 88km route, 54km route, 34km route and 15km route.
Glacier Storms River Traverse (Three levels) — Newbie Pleasant
Eight-10 August, Backyard Route
Wish to keep even longer within the Backyard Route? Simply copy this hyperlink and press ship. The Glacier Storms River Traverse route takes riders by means of the panorama of the Tsitsikamma space, hugging rugged shoreline with distinctive Insta alternatives.
The occasion is designed for the intermediate rider. After driving it in 2018 (a really moist race), I might say it’s a fab occasion to enter as a primary stage race. It’s largely jeep observe, so don’t stress in case your tech abilities are nonetheless in want of a workshop or two. That is all a couple of enjoyable weekend away immersed in nature and good instances. And to indicate how devoted to household the Dryland Crew are, they’ve even included a daycare facility throughout the occasion.
READ MORE: “I Cycled 300km in Three International locations Over four Days… And Put On Weight”
Dr Evil Basic (Three levels) — For An Intimate MTB Expertise
17-19 September, Backyard Route
My first-ever MTB race was the Dr Evil and it set the tone for the remainder of my journey into MTB. On the time, I used to be fairly under-prepared for any kind of mountain biking racing, however what’s so nice about this occasion is that you may wing it. Aka: simply take pleasure in it! It options single observe by means of lush indigenous forest to jeep roads by means of personal farms and even wine estates!
Regardless that it’s designed by the Cape Epic route designer, it’s not too technical and it’s loads of enjoyable. As soon as I bought by means of the primary day (72km), it’s fairly straightforward crusing for the remainder of the occasion (45km on day 2 and 51km on day Three). It’s additionally beautiful, so be sure your telephone is charged for all of the pics and vids you’re going to take.
Karoo To Coast (1 stage) — For Cross-Nation Lovers
20 September, Backyard Route
This occasion follows straight after Dr Evil and when you’re within the Backyard Route you would possibly as properly add K2C on (and get a preferential begin time when you’re at it). From Uniondale to Knysna, the 100km race could be very standard and never too technical, though there are a few steep climbs and a few severe descents. It may be dry and dusty (like my 2017 race) or pouring with rain and liberating (like my 2019 race). Both approach, be prepped to fade your package afterwards. The primary 12 months, I stayed in Knysna the evening earlier than after which took a (very) early-morning shuttle to Uniondale on the race morning. In 2019, we drove to the beginning from Knysna and a workforce of drivers introduced our automobile again. It’s one of many best-organised single-stage races I’ve executed.
It’s additionally a seeding occasion for the Cape City Cycle Tour.
READ MORE: 5 Mountain Biking Spots In SA That Are So Protected You May Trip Alone
Berg & Bush (2 or Three levels) — For The Water Factors
2-10 October, KZN
Think about traversing the Drakensberg by bike… Tenting on the banks of the Tugela River… Taking within the smells and sounds of the bushveld… That’s Grindrod Berg & Bush. The primary a part of the race, The Descent, is full of fast-paced single observe; the second half, Nice Trek, is a extra chilled, slower-going occasion; and the third half, the two Day, is sociable and an awesome expertise for households. That is an MTB occasion I’m nonetheless dying to do!
READ MORE: 6 Issues You Ought to Know Earlier than Using The Cape Epic
Wines2Whales (Three levels) — For MTBers With A Get together Spirit #SeriousGees
30 October – Eight November, Western Cape
Just like the identify suggests, this occasion takes you from the winelands (of Somerset West) to the place the whales vacation (in Hermanus). This three-day occasion takes place thrice over a 10 day interval, beginning with the ladies’s race: The Chardonnay; adopted by the mid-week occasion, The Pinotage (e-bikes allowed); after which the lads’s race, The Shiraz. However the very thrilling factor about W2W this 12 months, is that it’s a SWITCHBACK! That’s proper, in 2020 the route is being reversed. New trails are being constructed and riders could have a really completely different expertise beginning in Hermanus.
I did the Chardonnay in 2018 and the Pinotage — on an e-bike (a lot enjoyable!) — in 2019. I had the time of my life. That is actually one of the vital playful and superior stage races within the Western Cape (the village life is wonderful). There’s really one thing for everybody, together with numerous enjoyable obstacles and single-track.
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