The 250km Sani2C nonstop was harder than anyone expected

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Good headlamps were an essential tool for the first 4 hours of the race. (Photo: Anthony Grote)
Good headlamps were an essential tool for the first 4 hours of the race. (Photo: Anthony Grote)

The Sani2C nonstop didn’t go easy on riders, heralding a return to hardcore endurance mountain biking on the local events calendar. 

For years there have been murmurings that many South African stage races, have become too 'accessible'. The Sani2C nonstop was anything but.

Routing 250km from the Underberg to Scottburgh, riders had 24 hours to finish. It was not meant to be easy, with precious few 'free miles'.

Riders started at 2am on Saturday morning, at Glencairn farm, in the Underberg. Temperatures on some early parts of the 250km route registered -6 degrees Celsius.

mountain bike race
Each team made up of 2-4 riders and a support driver, had to take a selfie at the various checkpoints and send it through to the race organisers. (Photo: Anthony Grote)

True team effort 

A nonstop 250km mountain bike ride is extreme. And Sani2C nonstop teams were required to have their own support teams, linking and manning 15 mandatory checkpoints on the route.

The administrative burden of so many checkpoints might have been questioned before the race, but they ensured adequate refuelling stations for nutrition. And they provided sensible bailout options for riders who might exhaust their reserves.

For most riders rolling through forest trails at night, with only bike lights illuminating the trail, was a noteworthy feature of the Sani2C nonstop. As soulful a riding experience as you could wish for.

KZN mountain bike
Riding into the Umkomaas Valley at sunrise was a highlight for most riders. (Photo: Anthony Grote)

A very long day for all

Race winners David Low and Dean Wortmann (Brink Racing), completed the Sani2C nonstop in 13:15.10. It was an even longer journey for many of the teams to arrive at Scottburgh beach.

Backmarkers took 20 hours to ride the 250km route. Starting and finishing in the dark at midnight on Saturday, two hours clear of the Sunday 2am cut-off time. Those final few hundred meters of sand to that Scottburgh finish, were particularly testing for weary legs. 

Sani2C founder, Glen 'Farmer’'Haw, confirmed that rider feedback was good, despite the race’s toughness. "We have had such a good response from riders, who all seem to think it’s the hardest thing they have done. They were properly tired but both the riders and the supporters seem to have loved it."

"We included many checkpoints for the support drivers which meant they were really part of the team and also had to keep going nonstop."

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