Race to the Sun is a challenging North West '100-miler'

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It might be flat most of the way, but there are some nasty climbs, near the end. (Photo: Race to the Sun)
It might be flat most of the way, but there are some nasty climbs, near the end. (Photo: Race to the Sun)

For Gauteng gravel and mountain bikers, there is an event which allows riders to get to the metaphorical sun. That Pilansberg one.

Although the Western Cape has an abundance of mountain bike events, thanks to its terrain, the King Price Race to the Sun is something special for upcountry riders.

It routes from Hartbeespoort to Sun City, and the attrition rate is evidence of this not being a fun ride.

This year’s Race to the Sun totalled 157km – basically classifying it as a '100-miler'. That’s a very big day on the bike. And riders climbed 1000m of elevation along the way.

gravel bike
Gravel bikes roll faster and have become a popular option, for riders at Race to the Sun. (Photo: Race to the Sun)

Lots of climbing in the last third 

What makes the Hartbeespoort to Sun City route more challenging is that a lot of its 1000m of climbing is bunched toward end of the race. At a stage when the distance has done a tidy job of fatiguing the field.

Any one-day race with a 157km route is logistically challenging, but the Race to the Sun organisers delivered a slick event.

Waterpoints were adequately provisioned and the route marking was meticulous, the latter being a crucial deliverable on any race beyond 100km of distance in a single day.  

Gaueng MTB
For Gauteng and North West riders, finishing this event, is an achievement. (Photo: Race to the Sun)

Many don't finish

How quick were the pro riders? The overall winner was Dusty Day, who conquered the 157km route in 04:23.56. The women’s winner was Samantha Sanders, in a time of 05:08.41.

A total of 2089 riders entered this year’s Race to the Sun, with 1563 finishing. That makes for an attrition rate of 25%. Race to the Sun finishers unquestionably earn their '100-miler' medals.

From the Western Cape and feeling jealous? The King Price Race to the Sea is a similar event, routing from Franschoek to Hermanus, scheduled for 3 September.

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