By Jacques Horn
SANI2C MTB EXPERIENCE DAY 1
(Glencairn Farm to Mackenzie Farm 83km)
As a professional road cyclist I have always tended to stay away from the very dirty brother of road cycling, better known as mountain biking. But with the opportunity to participate in one of the most well organized MTB events on the South African calendar, I gathered all my darkest colored cycling kit and headed off to Kwazulu-Natal.
On arrival the day before the race at the venue I could see what all the fuss was about. Perfectly lined up tented accommodation for the riders, goodie bags and spare boxes numbered and sorted per team and all of this under the watchful eyes of the magnificent Sani Pass staring from just up the road. As a side note there is opportunities for riders to ascend Sani Pass per bicycle the day before their race starts, unfortunately I arrived a little too late for this wonderful expedition but according to the locals it sure is worth all of the sweat!
As we started the first stage of the 2016 Sani2C we were greeted by pristine single track and flowing trails as far as the eyes could see! We encountered everything that this wonderful part of our country has to offer and before we knew it we arrived at the first real challenge of day 1, the PG Bison floating bridge! After handling this bridge with a little bit of lip biting and lots of speed we set forth to our destination for the first night.
The first day as seen through the lens of my GoPro Hero3+ was unbelievable and created great excitement for what was to come!
SANI2C MTB EXPERIENCE DAY 2
(MACKENZIE FARM TO JOLIVET 99KM)
Day 2 of the Sani2C is one of the most anticipated and talked about stages in all of the Mountain bike events across South Africa. With 30km of hand built, smooth as tar, downhill single track specifically laid out for this event taking you all the way through the Umkomaas valley - better known as the Umkomaas drop – we set out with GoPro’s charged and mounted.
As soon as we started our decent into the Umkomaas valley I found myself out of breath, but not for the usual reason associated with endurance sports, this time it was pure beauty that took away my breath as we marveled at the spectacular 360 degree views of one of South Africa’s most breathtaking valleys. After more than hour of riding downhill we arrived at the foot of a monster climb taking you all the way back out of the spectacular Umkomaas valley. The day dragged out quite a bit but with well stocked water points and great single track we arrived at the overnight stop for some well-deserved supper.
With the possibility of riding for a couple of hours I decided in the morning to pack my spare GoPro and mount it on my GoPro floating hand grip in order to use this as an alternative when stopping to record some footage! I found this to work exceptionally well as this grip was comfortable to use and was very light weight which came in very handy for storing in the pockets of your cycling shirt.
SANI2C MTB EXPERIENCE DAY 3
(JOLIVET TO SCOTTBURGH 84KM)
With 2 days of great riding behind us we headed towards Scottburgh with great anticipation and excitement. The Sani2C organizers experienced a bit of bad luck with heavy rains washing away the famous floating bridge which takes riders onto the beach at Scottburgh to finish with 100’s of people cheering them on. We were promised a spectacular rebuilt bridge as organizers and locals jumped into action to restore this famous Sani2C landmark.
Coming through the vast sugar cane fields we steadily made our way down to the coast tackling the last of the spectacular single track that we were so fortunate to ride for the past few days. As we headed closer to the coast the road started to become a little rockier and bumpy but once we spotted the ocean it was a 100% race towards the finish. As we entered Scottburgh we faced the last obstacle keeping us from completing our Sani2C experience. The floating bridge was restored with great success and although there were some extra obstacles thrown in we all survived it and made our way onto the beach and crossed the finish line.
It was a truly great experience and I can gladly recommend it to any person who likes to ride his mountain bike. One piece of advice though would be to certainly take your action camera along for the ride in order to capture the spectacular views and tracks as you head down to the little town of Scottburgh. For a full list of the cameras and mounts I used see the blog sidebar.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, keep the rubber side down!
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