New Hill 2 Hill route

2017-04-18 06:00
Photo: Kelvin TrautmannA rider meanders though farmland on the way to Shongweni during a previous Compendium Hill 2 Hill.

Photo: Kelvin TrautmannA rider meanders though farmland on the way to Shongweni during a previous Compendium Hill 2 Hill.

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NEW date, new route — the 2017 Compendium Hill 2 Hill, KZN’s premier one-day mountain bike event, yesterday released its new-look route with an emphasis on safety in the new course from Pietermaritzburg to Hillcrest.

Rumours have been circulating in the mountain biking community for the past few weeks as riders have been trying desperately to find the new route for the 100 km race, which takes place on Saturday.

The start will now be in Alexandra Park, which means the 1 000 competitors in the 100 km event — the biggest one-day ultra-marathon in the country — will skip the traditional first 11 km of the race, including the forest section around World’s View (venue for the start for the past 11 years) and the fast tar descent into Pietermaritzburg.

The 45 km route from Cato Ridge to Hillcrest on April 17, and the 15km route around Shongweni on Saturday, are similar to the traditional routes with only minor changes.

For the 100 km, riders will now ride through Alexandra Park before joining the course at the old 12 km mark. It was a bitter-sweet decision because the first 11 km were easy kilometres, but were the scene of some of the worst medical emergencies as well as difficult emergency access.

Riders now have 11 easy kilometres taken out of the race, and this distance will be replaced by “real mountain biking” later in the course.

Riders will also cross fewer roads on the section out of Pietermaritzburg, with course designer Nick Floros finding a series of underpasses and bridges to allow riders to exit the city limits more safely than in the past.

“There were three factors that led to our decision to change the start venue,” said race spokesperson Andrew Taylor yesterday.

“The first and most important was safety. We feel the new route is safer and access to the traditional first 11 km for safety personnel was always a problem.

“The second issue was that the race has become a bit too big for the World’s View start area and we felt it was impacting on the riders’ experience. Parking was difficult and so we have opted to move to Alexandra Park.

“And thirdly, traffic control through Pietermaritzburg was a problem and the traffic police asked us to look at other options. We have always had a fantastic relationship with the traffic authorities and so we have worked with them to find a solution that helps all parties.

“By removing the first 11 km of the route we were faced with a decision: do we stay with the distance of 89 km or do we add in extra distance and keep the traditional 100 km race?

“We have opted for the latter which does mean the race may be a little more difficult, but we still feel it is an achievable challenge, which has always been our goal.”

The full route will be released next week on the Compendium Hill 2 Hill website. Organisers do not release the route earlier because in the past, some riders have tried to get a sneak preview of the course and have trespassed on private land, which is only open for race day.

Entries for the Compendium Hill 2 Hill close tomorrow, with race registration for the 100 km on Friday. The 100 km and 15 km take place on Saturday and the 45km and the newly introduced trail runs will be held on Monday.

Late entries will be accepted at registration on Friday for all events. All entries via www.roag.co.za

— Supplied.

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