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SKU: 5.1 Category:


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.


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