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