Monthly Archives: May 2015

My race report of the Nedbank @_sani2c, @GarminSA, @Merida_SA

If there is one stage race in South Africa that needs no introduction, it would certainly be the Sani2C three day mountain bike stage race from Sani Pass to the Indian Ocean. Due to its popularity, the Nedbank Sani2C has evolved to offer three annual editions of the same event – the Trail, the Adventure and finally the Race. These events all cover the exact same route but they start a day apart each offering 1500 riders (4500 in total) a ride of their lives.

Glencairn Farm is situated on the Sani Pass Road, just outside Himeville and it was the new registration and start venue for this year’s edition. I found the new location quite fitting as the event now truly runs from Sani Pass to the sea instead of the former Underberg to sea. From Glenciarn Farm our scenic 261 kilometre journey to Scottburgh began. Along the way we stopped over at MacKenzie Country Club in Ixopo on night one and Jolivet Farm in the Highland flats for night two before finally dipping our toes in die Indian Ocean.

Johan Labuschagne and I teamed up for the event and this marked our second outing together at a mountain bike stage race. Johan is a very kind and thoughtful person on and off the bike and having him as a teammate is an absolute pleasure.

During the race Johan made me realize that my pain threshold is a ‘bit’ higher than I previously thought possible. I stuck to his wheel (sometimes his pocketJ) from start to finish, while he set the pace and dragged me along. As a consequence we both worked hard and suffered a lot (some more than othersJ). It is very satisfying when the pain isn’t all in vain and racing with Johan was an incredibly rewarding experience.

Through our solid racing Johan and I placed first on day one, second on day two and celebrated another stage victory on the final day to give us the overall win in the mixed category.

Jeannie and Martin Dreyer who are well accomplished in trail running, adventure sports, paddling and mountain biking (and also happen to be husband and wife) kept us on our toes throughout the race and finished in second place. Russell Lund and Anneke Hanekom rounded out the podium in 3rd place.

Sani2C invariably offers amazing trails in some of Africa’s most beautiful surrounds. This year the highlights for me were the new race villages in Glencairn Farm and the upgraded one in Jolivet. To come home to these race villages after a tough day in the saddle is an absolute treat. The settings are warm and cosy, with delicious food, a vibrant atmosphere and all riders needs taken care of.

With the event already being such a huge success Farmer Glen and his team don’t really have to go out of their way to improve the race itself or to uplift the surrounding community, yet every year there is something new and exciting to look forward to and I’m already curious to see what the next edition will bring. Nedbank Sani2C

My race report of the 2015 @SabieExperience. @GarminSA @Merida_SA

With hilly terrain, ​a moderate climate ​and quiet​ roads​, the Mpumalanga L​owveld is an attractive training ground for various outdoor sports. To top it ​off​, the ​region’s ​scenery​​ is absolutely breathtaking and this understandably makes training (and suffering) a lot more ​bearable​.

For these reasons​​ ​i​t​ just​ made sense to stay on in the Lowveld for an extra two days​ ​after finishing the MTN Panorama Road Tour​.​ ​There was more to it though,​​ as the Sabie Xperience MTB stage race,​ just down the road from my base in White River, was the next event on my racing calender. The 2 days in between races flew by and before I knew it I was back in the firing line.

The Xperience​ was held in and around the forestry town of Sabie​,​ with all the stages starting and finishing at the Floreat Riverside lodge. The race opened up with a 32km time trail on the first day​, ​followed by a 52km stage on day two, a 66km stage on day three and ​concluded with a 62km stage on the fourth and final day. The total distance of 211km might not sound daunting at first​,​ but if you consider the 4550m of climbing we had to do during the race, you soon realised the event w​ould be​ no easy feat.

This year marked my third participation​ at the event and ​for this edition​ I teamed up with Carel Bosman. Our last minute partnership was organised during a brief chat on the 3rd day of the MTN Panorama Tour when we learned we were both still without a confirmed teammate for the Sabie Xperience. Problem solved and ​4 days later we stood on the start line in Sabie!​ Like they say​,​ sometimes things really ​just ​have a way of working out for the best J.

Carel and I had a good team dynamic and got along very well on and off the bike. We were also fortunate to have an​  ​incident ​free ride ​through the race. All this contributed to our successful​ partnership as Carel and I placed 1st on all four stage​s​ to win the race overall in the mixed category. Andrew Hermanson & Tanielle Mandy placed 2nd  with Wayne Domnick & Tami Alves rounding out the podium in 3rd place.

A big ‘high five’​to the organisers of Sabie Xperience for changing the dates of the event​ from rainy December to cool and dry May​. In the past the event was run in the rain season to avoid potential fire hazards, but that made for a wet and muddy affair. With the event now happening in the dry autumn months, every day turned out to be an absolute pleasure. The routes were fun, ​yet challenging and the environment which we were so fortunate to cycle through made for one special Sabie Xperience. I already look forward to next year’s edition​ and can safely invite everyone (back) to join in the fun. Sabie Xperience is back with a vengeance!​

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