Get a taste of what to expect for 2020 by checking out the daily stage descriptions below.
We can assure you that KAP sani2c will always have plenty of its signature fast, smooth, flowing singletrack where each 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.
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/hr. Thereafter the racing will begin with 16kms 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’re 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. Here you will find a new section of singletrack, scouted by Charles himself, which sweeps down through his veld land. This new addition added in the 2019 event cuts out the dangerous descent of Oak Maize. Each year this section has become more dangerous with its green mossed slippery surface. We trust you will enjoy Great Oke with its many reverse sweeps! Next, you begin the hard section of uphill singletrack 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’ll cross the railway line and there will be no respite before cresting the highest point of the event at View Climb. It’s your final chance to steal a glance at the majestic Drakensberg before you head off downhill towards the sea. More keep left, pass right double singletrack 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 noisy spectators at the PG Bison floating bridge, now a dual 200m, curved, submerged and floating bridge across Sappi’s Mossbank Dam. After realising the dam crossing was not that bad you’ll be surprised to find a very short rocky section allowing the Western Cape riders to feel right at home, before you enter the hard-packed Mbiba singletrack, some of the fastest smooth and flowing singletrack 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’ll 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 Jarred’s Route halfway up the steep climb. This is a great fast section contouring around the side of the hill. 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 43km 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 heartbeats 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 another highlight 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 of the day, leading up Bowman’s Hill. Then it is time for some fun. Eat, hydrate and hopefully recover a little down Wappo’s, a short section of more technical singletrack. Remember to keep eating and drinking 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 singletracks 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 5km 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.
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 entering the start of Ant’s dual track. Thereafter, it is Funny Music, Butterfly Valley and then 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 the guys ahead of you, if you’ve realised they’re holding you up, on the singletrack on the climb before Murray’s Meander. This is a long hand-dug trail which has to be some of the most dramatically positioned singletrack 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 breathtaking 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 singletrack 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 river banks.
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 farm of Stu Mapstone. The Tile Africa Floating Bridge will have a few extra surprises for you and, after riding the rapids, you’ll be taken back across the river and onto Mike Woodburn’s farm. At the 40km mark you find the first seconding table of the day manned by the school boys of Maritzburg College.
It is here that you will now NOT head up the sharp 1.5km climb but rather keep alongside the river for 5kms on a new piece now known at Woody’s Burn. You will go through Mike’s citrus orchards and onto bush tracks that lead towards the Ixopo River Valley. The remote farms of this area are teeming 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 you have an option – an alternative around and up Hlegabafazi instead. After regrouping with your teammate 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 head into Mandy’s Mumble and Sally’s Dance, which will both lead you back down into Songololo Valley. Enjoy this descent and prepare your mind 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 14km 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 at Kings Harvest Academy. We have made this call for safety reasons, as the final 2km sidewalk built specifically for the event and for use of locals year round is tricky, with loads of road furniture that catches the weary. The Unitrans Mile will transport you slowly and safely to a welcome finish at Jolivet Farm. This day will be remembered by most as one of your most challenging ever on a mountain bike.
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 belonging to the Whitleys. The start is normally a frantically fast affair where the singletrack 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 arrive 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 riders will 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, and climaxes with some spectacular singletrack 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 60km 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 too 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 are 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 are well advised to eat and drink before you head into the spectacular mountain bike park of Rocky Bay 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 a year-round off-road safe passage for mountain bikers holidaying in the Scottburgh area. Watch for the sharp left hander taking 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 2km time trial through to the new finish venue at Scottburgh Golf Club. Moving to the Golf Club for our new finish venue will dramatically streamline the entire finish process.
Feel justifiably proud that you’ve achieved a feat that many would never consider. Be grateful that you’re 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.