Sani2c began as the dream of Farmer Glen, an avid mountain bike enthusiast and co-organiser of the Imana Wild Ride. In 1998, together with a few local nutty mountain bikers, e completed the first trial run. The following year, he scouted and refined the rugged path with the objective of establishing a world-class route. He invited friends and experienced mountain bikers to join in on the infamous dry runs.
Glen's wife, Mandy has been there from the beginning, as back up to Glen and his scouts. Mandy would drop them off in the middle of somewhere and then pick them up later in the middle of nowhere. This support has been a feature of the success of Sani2c. In fact, if it was not for Mandy, Glen would still be out there somewhere, lost.
The entire route was scouted and developed on mountain bikes, providing its' pioneers with firsthand experience of every road, path and rock, climb and descent. Still today, countless hours are spent debating potential routes, usually while perched on a mountain top or pedaling through rows of tall cane. Essentially, Sani2c dominates the conversation whenever Glen and the scouts are together; such is their passion for this event.
In 2004, Glen was confident that a worthy route had been established and agreed to by all the relevant landowners and authorities.
February 2005 saw the inaugural Sani2c, which was highly successful, despite the heavy rain and muddy conditions of Day 2. Public response to this "lifestyle event" was overwhelming and the race grew to massive proportions.
Reaction to its success and an overwhelming demand for entries for the 2006 event had the alarmed organisers in a state of near panic. They were faced with the dilemma of disappointing more than 700 mountain bikers if they were to remain on the original 300 team limit for the race in 2006. After careful deliberation, the decision was taken to increase race numbers to accommodate 500 teams in 2006.
The 2006 event saw SUBARU coming on board as the title sponsor. With their assistance, the event was elevated to the next level and was a resounding success despite the increased numbers and torrid conditions experienced on Day 1.
The 2007 Sani2c was restricted to just over 600 teams. For the first time since its inception, the weather gods smiled on the event and all three days saw near perfect conditions. Later that year, Sani2c was awarded the status of Best Cycle Race of the Year at the Annual South African Cycling Awards evening. But Sani2c has always known that they are only as good as their next event.
Demand for entries and pressure from communities wanting to participate in the event saw some radical changes for the 2008 event. The decision to change the format of the event to be run as two separate races, split into the Sani2c Adventure and Sani2c Race, was a world first. This allowed further opportunities for community involvement and accommodated all teams on the 2007 waiting list. It also warranted improving facilities at the overnight race villages. The two 2008 events were a huge success.
The new event format proved to be a massive hit and the demand for a place on the Sani2c Adventure has become most sought after. In 2008, Sani2c was, once again, awarded the status of Best Cycle Race of the Year.
When entries opened for the 2009 event, 93% of the previous year's teams re-entered. However, due to different partners riding with previous entrants, the event still enjoyed a massive list of newcomers. To handle the increased numbers, the route planners have developed a number of innovative new ideas for Sani2c and every year they will try come up with new and exciting innovations.
Sani2c 2010 saw an even larger demand and the size proved problematic (as a result, the 2011 race field will be cut down). The weather also proved a challenge and unfortunately the glorious Umkomaas section was not riden. But it was another great event.
Sani2c 2011 will see still further changes. The race field will be cut down to 650 teams per race. It will also be moved to May so the chances of agreeable weather is greater. We are all looking forward to the next great event. Savor every minute.