Only in its second year there is a Western Cape gravel race that will crown South Africa’s best gravel grinder.
Gravel biking was always going to become popular in South Africa. It was inevitable. With arguably the world’s best network of gravel roads, routing through stunning landscapes, local gravel bikers are spoilt for choice.
As gravel bike technology has matured regarding product durability and comfort, events are offering greater challenges. The latest selection of gravel bike tyres have better puncture and pinch flat resistance, allowing riders to spend more time pedalling instead of patching and fitting inner tubes.
Enhanced status for a big day on the 'groads'
South Africa has a selection of excellent gravel bike rides. Through the driest Karoo. And the inspiring Cederberg. But at its core, gravel biking is about exploring rural roads and farming communities.
Routing from Franschhoek to Hermanus, Race to the Sea navigates the best of Boland and Overberg riding. Steep mountain passes and rolling hills. It is dreamy gravel bike terrain.
After a successful debut event last year, Race to the Sea organisers have received Cycling South Africa (CSA) validation. This means Race to the Sea becomes the official South African gravel bike championship ride in September.
A proper 'hundred miler'
The route measures 164km, with 2330m of elevation, starting in Franschhoek and finishing at Benguela Cove, near Hermanus. It’s not your average weekend ride.
Scheduled for the first weekend of September, Race to the Sea will see an open approach regarding equipment. Riders can choose to ride a dedicated gravel bike or conventional mountain bike, with both being eligible for championship honours.
Expect South Africa’s strongest gravel grinders to opt for dedicated gravel bikes, which are harsher to ride across corrugated surfaces, but have superior climbing ability.