sani2c Route

route-header

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.

STAGE TOTAL DISTANCE TOTAL ASCENT TOTAL DECENT WATER POINT 1 WATER POINT 2 WATER POINT 3
Day 1 82km 1183m 1420m 42km 66km
Day 2 96km 1529m 1867m 39km 66km 82km
Day 3 83km 681m 1315m 22km 58km

Trail: 14 May

Adventure: 15 May

Race: 16 May


Start: Glencairn Farm, Himeville, 8am

Finish: MacKenzie Country Club, Eastwolds, Ixopo

Distance: 82km*

Total ascent: 1 295m*


Water Point 1: 42km

Water Point 2: 66km


Average max temp: 28.4°C

Sunrise (Sani): 6.33am

Sunset (MacKenzie): 5.18pm


Massage Services: Yes

route-day-1

Day 1 description:

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.

After leaving the start at Glencairn Farm the first 3.2km will be a neutral zone where all riders will stay behind a lead Subaru controlled at 15km. Thereafter the racing will begin with 16km on open district road. This will warm the legs and the smallish drags will split the batches which may regroup as they race along the fast district road passing through green valleys filled with dairy cows. A left turn leads onto the farm of Pevency’s bearded mayor, Lyn Bloemeyer and his son, Joe. Their herd of Jersey cows will think you all nuts for travelling at such speed through their pastures.

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 glance right at the majestic Southern Drakensberg while riding south to the familiar ground of Oak Maze. Remember to keep left and pass right on this dual track. Be careful on the fast rough descent before breaking out onto a hard section of uphill single-track through Death Valley. Death Valley will test your legs for the first time and it has been included to eliminate the wide open road and the drag up to the first spectator point.

Here you will find the first group of excited supporters. You will cross the Railway line and there will be no respite before cresting the highest point of the event at View Climb. This is the final opportunity you will have to steal a glance at the majestic Drakensberg before you head off downhill towards the sea. More ‘keep left, pass right’ double single-track will lead you 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 floating bridge, now a dual 200m, curved, submerged and floating bridge across Sappi’s Mossbank Dam. After realizing the damn crossing was not that bad you’ll be surprized to find very short rocky section allowing the Western Cape riders to feel right at home, before you enter the 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 to the forest road, you’ll 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! A short forest road leads you up and out of Mondi Brooklands and into Charlie’s contour path – on land belonging to farmer and Bulwer mayor, Charlie James. This section will be one of the highlights of day 1 and is typical sani signature trail. 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 42km mark. Here the people at the Pevency Table 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 a new section into Duma’s and into OG’s, which is fast becoming one of the highlights of day 1. OG’s is a fun section added to eliminate the fast for nothing descent and dangerous hairpin left-hander before Cape Chestnut Valley. From this point, Reality Climb opens the lungs before you take a cool and well-earned descent through Xumeni Forest, home of the Cape Parrot. Soon after leaving the natural forest, you will wind your way over the now abandoned Donnybrook railway bridge through Philaani’s Putt and on towards the second water table and supporter point at Belmont Conference Centre.

As you take leave via the Restonic Truck your legs will feel the strain on the hardest climb on the day, leading up Bowman’s Hill. Then it is time for some fun. Eat, hydrate, have some fun and hopefully recover a little down Wappo’s, a short section of more technical single-track . Remember to keep eating drink on the roads between fun descents. This section has been carefully thought through with some easy flowing riding through fast pine forest tracks as you drop into the final valley for the day. The single tracks of Muffin Top and Goog’s will have you chewing frantically as they lead you to the bottom of the valley and the final effort for the day. The last 5 km can be testing for those who have miscalculated their efforts with the undulations through Alsace Farm becoming sharp testing climbs. Try to hold off the Day 1 cramps with easy spinning before the finish line at an excited Mackenzie Club.

route-day-2

Trail: 15 May

Adventure: 16 May

Race: 17 May


Start: MacKenzie Country Club, Eastwolds, Ixopo, 6.30am

Finish: Jolivet, 10km south of Highflats

Distance: 99km*

Total ascent: 1 544m*


Water Point 1: 39km

Water Point 2: 58km

Water Point 3: 85km


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 anyone’s standards. You’ll start by hurtling down 7km of district road before the Sappi forest workers usher you into the start of Ant’s dual track. Thereafter it is a fast drop down the newly revamped Funny Music. There is often a little slide on the fast but dewy hard pack down Butterfly valley before Wow exposes the jewel of sani2c – the mighty Umkomaas Valley. Singing foresters will welcome you to Soda Falls. These tracks will offer some of the most spectacular views should the early valley mist afford the opportunity. The fast trails are 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. Make an effort to kindly sneak past they guys ahead of you if you have realized they holding you up on the single track on the climb before Murray’s Meander. This is a long hand dug trail 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. Please be aware of faster riders coming up from behind you and move over at all the Overtaking Zones found along the Umko Drop section. After some breath-taking riding past Shange’s Homestead and the 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 pass the cheering children of our adopted Msayana School. The School 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 will change as the route flattens out and you follow the banks of the Umkomaas.

Nyala Pans is fast and hard-packed and follows the gentle gradient downstream towards the Chep Floating Bridge. After crossing onto the north bank of the mighty Umkomaas River, you enter game farms and Giraffe Alley for some 10km of downstream mountain biking euphoria. Thereafter you enter a 5km fast section through the proper productive father and son farm of William and Stu Mapstone. The new floating Bridge will have a few extra surprises for you and after riding the rapids you will be taken back across the river and onto Mike 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 leaving the table a short section through the chicken farm belonging to Ron Freeman will warm the legs before the sharp climb and 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 those working too hard may burn too many matches and have a really long day. After crossing the river many times, you enter Dawn Valley Farm.

For the 2017 event we worked on 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 and will be an achievement for those who reach the top without having to put a foot down. For those non climbers and buffalos we have a new route option for 2018. This is an alternative route around and up Hlegabafazi instead. After regrouping with your team mate at 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 Highflats Farmers Table where you can refuel for the next section of the stage.

On leaving table two you soon into Mandy’s Mumble and Sally’s Dance, which will both lead you back down into Songololo Valley. Enjoy this descent and prepare your head for a 5km valley road drag. Black Mamba riders with a good memory may recognise 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 climb out the valley and approach the Sappi Highflats timber plantations. 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 through Puddle Alley. The official finish line will be found 2km from the end of the stage in the hamlet of Hlutankungu. We have made this call for safety reasons as the final 2km side walk built specifically for the event and for use of locals year road is tricky with loads of road furniture that catches the weary. The new 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: 16 May

Adventure: 17 May

Race: 18 May


Start: Jolivet, 7am (except in the Race event – see times under Race Info)

Finish: Scottburgh Primary School, Scottburgh

Distance: 82km*

Total ascent: 883m*


Water Point 1: 23km

Water Point 2: 58km


Average max temp: 28.2°C

Sunrise (Sani): 6.34am

Sunset (MacKenzie): 5.14pm

route-day-3

Day 3 description:

This stage is a great deal faster and less technical and should be the easiest of the three.

It starts on 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 the father and son’s farms belong to the Whitley’s. The start is normally a frantically fast affair where the single track of Keyless brings the race to its senses and reminds the riders of what’s still to come. 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. The Sappi Tanhurst gum plantations quickly as you back into the fast cane roads of Drumdarroch Farm. A short steep climb will bring you to the Dumisa Farmers’ Association seconding table at 23km.

Cold legs will remind you why they needed the training as you race through Kevard and Invernettie Farms and enter Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve via the back gate. The steep technical climb known as Work to be Done is always a challenge and special test where those veteran sani2c rider will always tell you how much harder it was in the old days! Look out for the wildlife and appreciate the cheeky zebra that often escort cyclists through their plains. The terrain changes as you follow the tracks through the reserve climaxes with some spectacular single-track through the Mtagati coastal bush. After leaving 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 the 58km mark.

Leaving the table, you’ll be mistaken to think that the finish is close as there is still plenty of work to be done and it’s not wise to go to hard too soon. A specially constructed underpass at Esparanza 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 that will take you out of the valley. You led onto an old golavaan track now cleared and it is here that you experience Lost and Found, another little gem of sani2c signature flowy trail. Then there’s a gentle gravel road climb up Dump Hill where you well advised to eat and drink before you into the spectacular mountain bike park of Ellingham Trails.

Andre’s Underpass leads you back under the R612 and into Highway, a great initiative that not only serves for the race but offers year-round off-road safe passage for mountain bikers holidaying in the Scottburgh area. Watch for the sharp left hander taken you onto Renishaw Trails before an exhilarating ride down into the sea breeze. A sprint will get you into Moodie Lane first and leads you onto the famous long, Hansgrohe floating bridge that snakes across the lagoon at Scottburgh Beach. Leaving the bridge it’s a short climb up onto Beach road and then an easy 2 km time trial through to the finish at Scottburgh Primary School.

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. Well done and thank you for supporting all those along the 300km route to the coast. You are a Legend.