the route

Get a taste of what to expect 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.

For estimate riding times of each day, click here.

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.

prologue

The prologue will be ridden by the UCI registered riders only in the RACE EVENT. It will start at Glencairn Farm under the start arch at 14h30 during registration on the 24th of April, and cover 26kms. We encourage the other Race competitors to support the pro riders as they race around Glencairn Farm.

day 1 fast facts

glencairn farm to mackenzie club

Trail 23 April
Adventure 24 April
Race 25 April
Start Glencairn Farm (08:00)
Finish Mackenzie Country Club
Distance 89km
Total Ascent 1 027m
Total Descent 1 358m
Water Point 1 at 43km
Water Point 2 at 66km
Avg Max Temp 28.4°C
Sunrise at Start 06:27
Sunset at Finish 17:30

day 2 fast facts

mackenzie club to jolivet farm

Trail 24 April
Adventure 25 April
Race 26 April
Start Mackenzie Club (06:30)
Finish Jolivet Farm
Distance 96km
Total Ascent 1 896m
Total Descent 2 336m
Water Point 1 at 40km
Water Point 2 at 67km
Water Point 3 at 83km
Avg Max Temp 35.4°C
Sunrise at Start 06:26
Sunset at Finish 17:27

day 3 fast facts

jolivet farm to scottburgh golf club

Trail 25 April
Adventure 26 April
Race 27 April
Start Jolivet Farm (06:30)
Finish Scottburgh Golf Club
Distance 86km
Total Ascent 1 042m
Total Descent 1 703m
Water Point 1 at 23km
Water Point 2 at 60km
Avg Max Temp 28.2°C
Sunrise at Start 06:26
Sunset at Finish 17:23

day 1 in detail

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. Your ride or race will begin in earnest along 12km of open Pevensey dirt road. “Be aware of going too hard along this road, rather drop out of the back of the group and wait for the next if you not feeling comfortable,” says race director Farmer Glen. This open road will warm the legs, and the smallish climbs will split the groups as they race along the fast district road passing through green valleys filled with dairy cows.

A left turn leads the tour into the timber farm and first singletrack of Acutts Avenue. “The pace will slow, and this is a good opportunity to find out how your partner is feeling. Be honest with each other and keep things comfortable at this point.” The singletrack pops you back onto the district road. Groups will reform on the next 6km section of dirt road before you enter the scenic farm of Charles Taylor, arguably one of the strongest farmers in Underberg. Here you will find a section of singletrack, scouted by Charles himself, which sweeps down through the Cannondale Curves. This was added in the 2019 event to cut out the dangerous descent of Oak Maize, which had become dangerous with its green mossed slippery surface.

Next, you begin the hard district road section of up Death Valley. Death Valley will test your legs for the first time, it is a quite district road and hard drag if you the nail. You will find the first group of excited supporters as you 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 newly replanted forests of Bramble Ripper. Here, there are some flowing turns through the gums before you see the noisy spectators at the PG Bison floating bridge, a dual 200m, curved, submerged and floating bridge across Sappi’s Moss Bank Dam. The right bridge is tricky but comes with a big-time reward, the left bridge is safer, but is a little slower. “We let you decide which bridge to choose. There is also a route around the dam, which is strongly advised for non-swimmers and e-bikers.”

After the excitement of the dam crossing, you’ll be surprised to find a very short rocky section, before you enter the hard-packed Mbiba, some of the fastest smooth and flowing singletrack along our route. Dropping out of the Chep pine forests you enter the grass valley of Housty’s. You’ll find some fun features, so keep sharp! All too soon you are onto one of our wooden bridges crossing over the recently washed away approaches over a berg stream then it’s a short forest road climb. You’ll be pleased to see the team in front of you ducking off into Jarred’s halfway up the steep climb. This is a great fast section contouring around the side of the hill. Once again, a short forest road leads you up and out of Chep Brooklands and into Charlie’s contour path. This section is one of my favourites of Day 1 and is typical sani signature trail. From Charlie’s you can see the Pevensey water table across the valley. You’ll cross under the R617 before reaching the table and spectator point at the 39km mark. Here, the people of Pevensey Place will attend to all your needs with friendly singing and dancing. “Refill, lube and make sure to thank the special people of Pevensey because that’s the right thing to do if you want a good ride from here. Day one starts getting serious from this point,” says Farmer Glen.

The mood of the tour will quieten, and silent forest road climbs will allow you to count your heartbeats as you head up Big Ring Climb. Then it’s on towards Bulwer Station, through a section into Duma’s and then OG’s. OG’s is a fun section added to eliminate the fast-for-nothing descent and dangerous hairpin left-hander before the fast valley bottom road of Cape Chestnut. From this point, Reality Climb leaves you wondering why you skipped some of those important long rides. After the long forest road, you will find 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 Philani’s Putt and on towards the second water table and supporter point at Belmont Conference Centre.

In our 20th year we have made a significant change to the last third of Day 1. On leaving the water table you will be happy to see markers turning you away from what was arguably the hardest climb of the day, Bowman’s Hill. This climb has been taken out of Day 1 as the new route to the finish at Mackenzie is tough enough without it. From Belmont you descend via Pine Plunge, climb up Confusing Climb, drag along Narrow Guage and Ducky’s Demand before descending to Mackenzie Club via Kwa Scotch. Although we have a downhill finish into Mackenzie Club this last third of Day 1 route section is by no means easy and one would be well recommended to bare this in mind during the planning of your ride. Sections of the last 25km will be testing for those who have miscalculated their efforts Try to hold off the Day 1 cramps with easy spinning before the finish line at an excited Mackenzie Club.

day 2 in detail

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 and Butterfly Valley, and then Wow exposes the jewel of sani2c – the mighty Umkomaas Valley. “At this point take a moment to appreciate the views from the top of the valley as all too soon you will be down at river level,” says Farmer Glen. Wow leads you into 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. Try to sneak past the guys ahead of you if you’ve realised, they’re holding you up on the wide singletrack on the climb before Murray’s Meander. This is a long hand-dug trail which must be some of the most dramatically positioned singletrack imaginable – at first glance, a route above the towering cliffs that drop down to the Umkomaas would seem impossible. Please be aware of faster riders coming up from behind you and move over at all the wider overtaking areas built specifically for this along the Umko Drop section.

After some breathtaking riding past Shange’s Homestead, 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. “In the switchbacks stay off the front brake, look around the corner to where you need to be and all will be good,” advises Glen. After Nicks Pass 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 remains of the Mchunu’s kraal. At this point you enter the real African bush where the flowing trails 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 riverbanks.

Nyala Pans is fast and hard-packed and follows the gentle gradient downstream towards the Atlas Copco Floating Bridge. After crossing onto the north bank of the mighty Umkomaas River, you enter the game farms of Dave and Karl Aardensgard. Giraffe Alley leads you along the riverbank for some 10km of downstream mountain biking euphoria. Thereafter you enter a 5km fast section through the 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 citrus farm. At the 38km mark you find the College water table manned by the schoolboys of Pietermaritzburg College. “Take time to refill and hydrate, there’s lots of slow climbing ahead and temperatures will heat up from this point.”

After leaving the table you keep alongside the river for a section known as 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 this will result in a really challenging day. Be honest with your partner and let them know if the pace is to hard early on. Remember you want to be in the position to attack Iconic.” After crossing the river many times, you will pass Sbongele’s homestead and spot the Twizzer table just ahead. All too soon you are back onto a slow river climb with more wooden river bridges criss-crossing the Ixopo River as you pass through Shezi’s Lands and into Dawn Valley Farm.

Those who are familiar with the route will feel the butterflies in their stomach beginning to build because they sense that the biggest challenge of the 3 days lies ahead in the form of the Unitrans 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. Iconic is a proper technical and challenging climb for everyone. “While climbing Iconic always keep your heart rate under control so that you have a little in reserve to attack those max effort, technical sections where power is essential. Good luck and please stay off the ride line if you must walk it.” After regrouping for a photo and welcome sustenance with your teammate at the USN table, you will all welcome the flat flow trail found on Out of Africa. Once onto the wide district road let the strong guys in your group pull you through to the “Old Halfway Stop” which has now been consolidated with the USN table at the top of Iconic. On leaving table two you head into Mandy’s Mumble and Sally’s Dance, which will both lead you down into Songololo Valley. Enjoy this descent and prepare your mind for a 5km valley road drag.

Next up are the climbs of Haaibo 1 and Haaibo 2. Be comforted by the fact that it gets flatter and easier as you pass through the fast roads of Sappi Highflats timber plantations. Fisherman’s Trail will remind you that you are about to reach Highflats Church, where you will find the fourth water table for the day. After the table is a further 14km of undulating forest roads up past Knocker Farm, and down through Judy’s Corner and onto Puddle Alley. Official timing for the day will be found 3km from the end of the stage in the hamlet of Hlutankungu at King Harvest Academy. We have made this call for safety reasons, as the final 3km sidewalk built specifically for the event and for use of locals year round is tricky, with loads of road furniture that has caught out the weary. Riders can relax and wait for friends in the grounds of King Harvest Academy before rolling down to Jolivet farm along the Unitrans Mile. Take note of the gardens along the verges of the Unitrans Mile, and the pride and dignity of its people. This refreshing sidewalk will transport you easily and safely to a welcome finish at Jolivet Farm.

day 3 in detail

Day 3 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 long, quick descents through the father and son’s farms belonging to the Whiteley’s. 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 have been suffering thus far.

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 pass by quickly as you back into the fast cane roads of Drumdarroch Farm. A short steep climb will bring you to the Dumisa Farmers Association water table at 23km.

Tired legs will remind you of the effort you have had to make thus far as you race through Kevard and html blade and enter Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve via the north 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 the age-old natural coastal vegetation. 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 through Esparanza Farm. Stay with the group and conserve here as you race along the valley floor and into the Lions Club water 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 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 mountain bike park of Rocky Bay Trails.

Andre’s Underpass leads you under the R612 and into Highway, a great initiative that 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 famously 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 finish venue at Scottburgh Golf Club.

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