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SKU: 5.2 Category:


You’ll be woken at 4.30am for Day 2. This is a long and arduous day by anyone’s standards. You’ll start by hurtling down 7km of district road before entering the start of Ant’s dual track. Thereafter, it is Funny Music and Butterfly Valley, and then Wow exposes the jewel of sani2c – the mighty Umkomaas Valley. “At this point take a moment to appreciate the views from the top of the valley as all too soon you will be down at river level,” says Farmer Glen. Wow leads you into Soda Falls. These tracks will offer some of the most spectacular views, should the early valley mist afford the opportunity. The fast trails are broken by short sections of forest roads, which allow for scuttled overtaking opportunities.

Yankee Doodle is one of the highlights of the race and the first taste of things to come for the next 30km. Try to sneak past the guys ahead of you if you’ve realised, they’re holding you up on the wide singletrack on the climb before Murray’s Meander. This is a long hand-dug trail which must be some of the most dramatically positioned singletrack imaginable – at first glance, a route above the towering cliffs that drop down to the Umkomaas would seem impossible. Please be aware of faster riders coming up from behind you and move over at all the wider overtaking areas built specifically for this along the Umko Drop section.

After some breathtaking riding past Shange’s Homestead, the path leads you into Nick’s Pass. Dropping into this valley, these fast switchback descents will have your brake pads sending hot whiffs of warning to those behind. “In the switchbacks stay off the front brake, look around the corner to where you need to be and all will be good,” advises Glen. After Nicks Pass you will find the pride of the route builders – a 3km purpose-built bench-cut mountain bike pass known as Sosiba’s Section. Thereafter, you pass the cheering children of our adopted Msayana School. The school contour path is more typical sani2c signature flowing trail. You now find yourselves in the heart of sani2c country. Fast-flowing sweeping curves allow you a quick glance at the Umkomaas River, which grows ever closer as you continue your descent. A sharp right bend takes you into Mchunu’s Pride, a smooth, fast, bush-lined footpath leading you past the remains of the Mchunu’s kraal. At this point you enter the real African bush where the flowing trails of Heaven or Hell races through the thorn trees for 3km before the final climax of Tamika’s Detour. All too soon you bottom out on the banks of the Umkomaas River. The pace and adrenalin rush will change as the route flattens out and you follow the riverbanks.

Nyala Pans is fast and hard-packed and follows the gentle gradient downstream towards the Atlas Copco Floating Bridge. After crossing onto the north bank of the mighty Umkomaas River, you enter the game farms of Dave and Karl Aardensgard. Giraffe Alley leads you along the riverbank for some 10km of downstream mountain biking euphoria. Thereafter you enter a 5km fast section through the farm of Stu Mapstone. The Tile Africa Floating Bridge will have a few extra surprises for you and after riding the rapids, you’ll be taken back across the river and onto Mike Woodburn’s citrus farm. At the 38km mark you find the College water table manned by the schoolboys of Pietermaritzburg College. “Take time to refill and hydrate, there’s lots of slow climbing ahead and temperatures will heat up from this point.”

After leaving the table you keep alongside the river for a section known as Woody’s Burn. You will go through Mike’s citrus orchards and onto bush tracks that lead towards the Ixopo River Valley. The remote farms of this area are teeming with kudu, bush pig and nyala. This game track is not the only thing that rises – the altitude, temperature and your heart rate rise as you make the long, winding climb through Steve’s Spruit. You will cross the river 14 times on wooden bridges. “This is a pleasant but challenging climb for the well prepared, but those working too hard may burn too many matches and this will result in a really challenging day. Be honest with your partner and let them know if the pace is to hard early on. Remember you want to be in the position to attack Iconic.” After crossing the river many times, you will pass Sbongele’s homestead and spot the Twizzer table just ahead. All too soon you are back onto a slow river climb with more wooden river bridges criss-crossing the Ixopo River as you pass through Shezi’s Lands and into Dawn Valley Farm.

Those who are familiar with the route will feel the butterflies in their stomach beginning to build because they sense that the biggest challenge of the 3 days lies ahead in the form of the Unitrans Iconic Climb. It is a test for the best and will be an achievement for those who reach the top without having to put a foot down. Iconic is a proper technical and challenging climb for everyone. “While climbing Iconic always keep your heart rate under control so that you have a little in reserve to attack those max effort, technical sections where power is essential. Good luck and please stay off the ride line if you must walk it.” After regrouping for a photo and welcome sustenance with your teammate at the USN table, you will all welcome the flat flow trail found on Out of Africa. Once onto the wide district road let the strong guys in your group pull you through to the “Old Halfway Stop” which has now been consolidated with the USN table at the top of Iconic. On leaving table two you head into Mandy’s Mumble and Sally’s Dance, which will both lead you down into Songololo Valley. Enjoy this descent and prepare your mind for a 5km valley road drag.

Next up are the climbs of Haaibo 1 and Haaibo 2. Be comforted by the fact that it gets flatter and easier as you pass through the fast roads of Sappi Highflats timber plantations. Fisherman’s Trail will remind you that you are about to reach Highflats Church, where you will find the fourth water table for the day. After the table is a further 14km of undulating forest roads up past Knocker Farm, and down through Judy’s Corner and onto Puddle Alley. Official timing for the day will be found 3km from the end of the stage in the hamlet of Hlutankungu at King Harvest Academy. We have made this call for safety reasons, as the final 3km sidewalk built specifically for the event and for use of locals year round is tricky, with loads of road furniture that has caught out the weary. Riders can relax and wait for friends in the grounds of King Harvest Academy before rolling down to Jolivet farm along the Unitrans Mile. Take note of the gardens along the verges of the Unitrans Mile, and the pride and dignity of its people. This refreshing sidewalk will transport you easily and safely to a welcome finish at Jolivet Farm.


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