Get a taste of what to expect by checking out the daily stage descriptions below.
We can assure you that sani2c will always have plenty of its signature fast, smooth flowing single tracks where the rider dictates their level of technicality by adjusting their speed. Farmer Glen has been committed to improving the route since first scouting rides way back in 1992.
Please note that due to farming operations, the weather and various other factors, distances may vary slightly. As we get closer to the event chances of changes become less likely.
Trail: 9 May
Adventure: 10 May
Race: 11 May
Start: Glencairn Farm, Himeville, 8am
Finish: MacKenzie Country Club, Eastwolds, Ixopo
Total ascent: 1 185m*
Water Point 1: 41km
Water Point 2: 65km
Average max temp: 28.4°C
Sunrise (Sani): 6.33am
Sunset (MacKenzie): 5.18pm
Massage Services: Yes
Day 1 description:
- The first 3.2km will be a neutral zone where all riders will stay behind a lead Subaru controlled at 15km/h.
- Thereafter the racing will begin with 12km on open district road. This will warm the legs and a smallish drag will split the batch before you enter Acutt’s Avenue, a fast, generally downhill 3.5km dual track that has been redesigned and added to with a number of mergers, bridges and passing opportunities.
- Breaking out of the gum plantation you will race along the fast district road passing through green valleys filled with dairy cows. Regular riders will be surprised by a new left turn that leads onto the farm of Pevency’ s bearded mayor, Lyn Bloemeyer and his young son, Joe. Their herd of Jersey cows will think you all nuts for travelling at such speed through their home. After passing Lyn’s pride and joy, his 9-tower centre pivot, you’ll enter the scenic farm of Charles Taylor, arguably one of the strongest farmers in Underberg.
- Take time to look at the Southern Drakensberg while riding south to the familiar ground of Oak Maze. Remember to keep left and pass right on this dual track. Watch the fast descent before breaking out onto another new section of single track up Death Valley, designed to eliminate the wide open road and the drag up to the first spectator point.
- Thereafter, you will cross the railway line and there will be no respite up to the highest point of the event at View Climb. If the pressure is not on, this is the final time to steal a glance at the Drakensberg before you head off towards the sea.
- More ‘keep left, pass right’ double single track will lead down the Ferns and then into the cool pine forests of Bramble Ripper. Here there are some flowing turns ( watch the green moss !) through the young pines before you hear the noise of spectators lined up at the PG Bison bridge, a dual 200m, curved, submerged and floating bridge across the Mossbank Dam.
- A very short rocky section on will have the Western Cape riders feeling right at home for 100m before you enter the short but hard-packed Mbiba single track, some of the fastest smooth and flowing single track south of the Equator. Dropping out of Mbiba and onto a short 200m section of forest road will allow just enough time to sneak in front of your mate as you enter Housty’s. You will find some fun features in Housty’s, so keep sharp!
- Crossing the bridge back on the forest road you be pleased to see the team in front of you ducking off into Jared’s Route halfway up the steep climb. This is a great fast section contouring around the side of the hill and another new shortcut designed to take you around the hill, and not over it. Pleasure!
- Another short forest road lead you up and out of Mondi Brooklands and into Charlie’s contour path – on land belonging to farmer and Bulwer mayor, Charlie James. From Charlie’s you can see the first water table across the valley. You’ll cross under the R612 before reaching the table and spectator point at the 40km mark. Here the people of Pevency will attend to all your needs with friendly singing and dancing.
- From there, a silent forest road will allow you to count your heart beats as you head up Big Ring Climb. Then it’s on towards Bulwer Station, through Duma’s and into OG’s. OG’s has been designed to eliminate the fast descent and hairpin left-hander before Cape Chestnut Valley. From this point, a good climb opens the lungs before you take a cool and restful descent through Xumeni Forest, home of the Cape Parrot.
- Soon after leaving the natural forest, you will wind your way over the seldom-used railway bridge towards the second water table at Belmont Conference Centre.
- As you take leave of your admiring supporters, your legs will feel the strain on the hardest climb on the day, leading up Bowman’s Hill and into Wappo’s a short section of technical single track, included specially for the free-riding junkies.
- The next fast pine forest track will see you dropping in altitude as you enter the final valley for the day. The single tracks of Muffin Top and Goog’s will lead you to the bottom of the valley. It is then an undulating climb into the Alsace dairy farm where the last efforts need to be made to get you to the finish line of Stage 1 at MacKenzie Country Club.
Trail: 10 May
Adventure: 11 May
Race: 12 May
Start: MacKenzie Country Club, Eastwolds, Ixopo, 6.30am
Finish: Jolivet, 10km south of Highflats
Total ascent: 1 550m*
Water Point 1: 39km
Water Point 2: 64km
Water Point 3: 80km
Average max temp: 35.4°C
Sunrise (Sani): 6.34am
Sunset (MacKenzie): 5.16pm
Massage Services: Yes
Day 2 description:
- You’ll be woken at 4.30am for Day 2.This is a long and arduous day by any ones standards.
- You’ll start by hurtling down 7km of district road before entering the start of the Ant’s dual track. Thereafter it is Funny Music, Butterfly and Soda Falls before Wow exposes the jewel of sani2c – the mighty Umkomaas Valley. These tracks will offer some of the most spectacular views should the early valley mist afford the opportunity. The fast track is broken by short sections of forest roads, which allow for scuttled overtaking opportunities.
- Yankee Doodle is one of the highlights of the race and the first taste of things to come for the next 30km. You are led into Murray’s Meander, which has to be some of the most dramatically positioned single track imaginable – at first glance, it would seem that a route above the towering cliffs that drop down to the Umkomaas could not be possible.
- After some breath-taking riding past Shange’s Homestead and the new Umko Lodge, the path leads you into Nick’s pass. Dropping into this valley, these fast switchback descents will have your brake pads sending hot whiffs of warning to those behind. Here you will find the pride of the route builders – a 3km purpose-built bench-cut mountain bike pass known as Sosiba’s Section. Thereafter, you will pass the cheering children of our adopted Msayana School, the School New contour path is more typical sani2c signature flowing trail.
- You now find yourselves in the heart of sani2c country. Fast-flowing sweeping curves allow you a quick glance at the Umkomaas River, which grows ever closer as you continue your descent.
- A sharp right bend takes you into Mchunu’s Pride, a smooth, fast, bush-lined footpath leading you past the remote homesteads of Mchunu’s two wives, many children and grandchildren. Leaving the dancing Mchunu’s behind, you enter the real African bush where the flowing single track of Heaven or Hell races through the thorn trees for 3km before the final climax of Tamika’s Detour. All too soon you bottom out on the banks of the Umkomaas River.
- The pace and adrenalin rush now changes as the route flattens out and you follow the banks of the Umkomaas. Nyala Flats is fast and hard-packed and follows the gentle gradient on towards the Chep floating bridge.
- After crossing onto the north bank of the mighty Umkomaas, you enter game farms and Giraffe Alley for some 10km of mountain biking euphoria. You soon into a 5km fast section through a proper farm belonging to William Mapstone.
- The Peri Bridge will have a few extra surprizes for you and after riding the rapids you will be taken you back across the river and onto Mike’s Woodburn’s farm.
- At the 39km mark you find the first seconding table of the day manned by the school boys of Maritzburg College. After Freeman’s Farm you will warm the legs on the bush tracks that lead towards the Ixopo River Valley. The remote farms of this area are teaming with kudu, bush pig and nyala. This game track is not the only thing that rises – the altitude, temperature and your heart rate rise as you make the long, winding climb through Steve’s Spruit. You will cross the river 14 times on wooden bridges. This is a pleasant but challenging climb for the well prepared but you can spend too many matches if you not wise.
- After crossing the river many times, you will enter Dawn Valley Farm. For the 2018 event we have a new route out of the valley. This comes at a cost, in the form of Iconic Climb. It is a test for the best but will be an achievement for those who reach the top without having to put a foot down. After passing the trig beacon, you wind through the African bush on Out of Africa 2 and pop out on a 3km section of district road. Let the strong guys in your group pull you through to the Spur Table where you can refuel and recharge the body for the last third of the stage. On leaving the table two new sections of single track, named Mandy’s Mumble and Songololo, will lead you back down into the valley. Enjoy this decent and prepare your head for a 5km valley road climb. The Black Mamba riders with a good memory may recognize their surroundings and the climbs of Haaibo 1 and Haaibo 2 which were used way back in 2005 to 2007. Be comforted by the fact that it only gets cooler as you leave the valley and approach the Sappi timber plantations Sappi plantations that surround the hamlet of Highflats. You are now back onto familiar racing grounds and everyone should be reoriented by the time they reach Fisherman’s Trail and Highflats Church, where you will find the third seconding table for the day.
- From here it is a further 20km of undulating forest roads past Knocker Farm, Judy’s Corner, and Puddle Alley. The official finish line will be found 2km from the end of the stage in Jolivet. We have made this call for safety reasons as the final 2km is tricky with loads of road furniture which catch the weary. The now Unitrans Mile will transport you slowly and safely to a welcome finish at the revamped race village on Jolivet Farm. This day will be remembered by most as one of your most challenging ever on a mountain bike.
Trail: 11 May
Adventure: 12 May
Race: 13 May
Start: Jolivet, 7am (Race event – reverse start take note of times under Race Info)
Finish: Scottburgh Main Beach, Scottburgh
Total ascent: 1 050m*
Water Point 1: 22km
Water Point 2: 60km
Average max temp: 28.2°C
Sunrise (Sani): 6.34am
Sunset (MacKenzie): 5.14pm
Day 3 description:
- This stage is a great deal faster and less technical and should be the easiest of the three.
- It starts by passing through sugar cane farms where fast roads will surprise you with sharp turns.
- You’ll then experience the beauty of the coastal forest on a long, quick descent through Whitley’s farm.
- The field will split as Clint’s Climb exposes those who overdid Day 2. After the climb, more sweeping cane roads will move the tour along at a surprisingly brisk pace from farm to farm on its journey to the coast, with new surroundings experienced at every turn.
- A short steep climb will bring you to the Dumisa Farmers’ Association seconding table at 21km.
- Cold legs will remind you why they needed the training as you race through Invernettie Farm and enter the back gate of Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve for the steep technical climb known as Work to be Done.
- The terrain changes as you follow the tracks through the reserve on to some spectacular singletrack through Mtagati coastal bush. Look out for the wildlife and appreciate the herd of cheeky zebra that often escorts cyclists through their plains.
- After Vernon Crookes prepare for the fast sweeping descent into the valley and onto Esparanza Farm. Stay with the group and conserve here as you race along the valley floor and into the Lions Club table at 60km.
- Leaving the table, you’ll be smelling the finish but there is still work to do and it’s not wise to burn too many matches too soon. A specially constructed underpass takes you on to a spectacular section named Ricky’s Rail. This old railway route winds down the banks of the Kelso River and onto Dave’s Toil, a purpose-dug track that will take you out of the valley.
- It leads onto an old golavaan track known as Lost and Found, where you will find pristine south coast bush.
- Then a gentle climb up Dump Hill will join you into the spectacular trails of Ellingham Estate.
- Andre’s Underpass leads you back under the R56 and into Highway, a great initiative that not only serves for the race but offers year-round off-road safe passage for mountain bikers wanting to ride the Ellingham trails.
- An exhilarating ride through Moodie Lane leads you onto the famous long, floating bridge that snakes across the lagoon at Scottburgh for 600m.
- Leaving the bridge it’s a short dash to the finish and the awaiting crowds of supporters on Scottburgh Main Beach.
- Feel justifiably proud that you have achieved a feat that many would never consider. Be grateful that you are strong and healthy as you celebrate the successful completion of a life experience. You are on your way to becoming a legend.