By Terésa Coetzee
Some of my best times swimming in the sea were in my cycling clothes in Scottburgh at the finish of the Sani2C when all the cyclists enter the ocean together after three days of toil and sweat!
Yes, it’s almost time again for the annual Sani2C mountain bike marathon and soon thousands of enthusiastic mountain bikers will once again saddle up their iron horses to tackle the exciting ride from the village of Himeville in the southern part of the Drakensberg range to Scottburgh on the Natal coast.
The popular Sani2C mountain bike marathon is one of the oldest three-day events in the country and the 19th edition of this race will soon take place. Just ask any seasoned mountain biker who likes to participate in multi-phase marathons, somewhere in their medal collection there will be a Sani2C medal… and it’s a race that after all these years is still as popular as it was 10 or 15 years ago.
Initially there was only one event, the Sani2C Race, but because the race was so popular among cyclists, the organizers were forced to add a second event (the Adventure) due to numbers. In 2012, a third leg was even added, the Trail. Nowadays, the Trail has been replaced by the Nonstop event, suitable for the hardy cyclists who tackle the entire three-day route in one go. Riders have 24 hours to complete the 250km distance.
Traditionally, the Race was the event where the professional riders competed for prize money, while the Adventure was somewhat more relaxed, but according to organizer Glen Harrison, both events are actually exactly the same and just as accessible to all riders. It simply depends on which date suits you best as a cyclist and whether you want to rub shoulders with the professional athletes or not.
Preparing for a three-day event like the Sani2C not only requires the right physical exercise, but it’s important to make sure your mountain bike will be able to cover the 268 km without problems. It is advisable to have your bike serviced in advance, tubeless tires are a must and make sure there is enough slime in your tires to seal it if a hole appears in your tire.
Pack important items such as an extra set of brake blocks, slime, bombs, links for your chain, bike oil and an extra inner tube and ride them with you on the bike.
The coldest I’ve ever gotten in my life was in a tent in the tent town of Sani2C just outside Himeville, and that’s why a warm sleeping bag and even an extra hot water bag is always a good idea. Even though it’s not the rainy season, many people will be able to tell you stories about very wet and muddy Sani2Cs, so a light rain jacket is also not to be underestimated. Remember your headlamp if you stay in a tent. Fortunately, it gets warmer as one moves closer to the sea.
This year’s events are as follows: The Adventure (26 to 28 April), the Race (27 to 29 April) and the Nonstop (13 to 14 April).
Visit sani2C.co.za for more information.
The entry fee for KAP Sani2C for three days is R9 350 per person for a team.
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