Much like its signature Hillsnacks climb, the entry deadline for the Action Ford Berge en Dale Classic looms once more on Monday night.
Thousands of cyclists are expected to book their place for the West Rand’s biggest road race, powered by Optimum Financial Services, which starts in Krugersdorp on January 31.
The event rolls out from Cradlestone Mall in the Muldersdrift area of Mogale City and will take participants over an undulating 102km course of hills and valleys.
According to race director Wynand de Villiers of ASG events, Hillsnacks will be the first major challenge that riders will face as they ascend to over 1 750m above sea level within the first 10 kilometres.
“It’s a 6km climb with a gradient of seven per cent in places, so it really sets the tone for the route.”
With four ascents dotting the course, De Villiers said the last one would make tired riders dig deep as they climbed back up to the finish.
“But the suffering will be worth it as the race passes the Sterkfontein Caves and some beautiful nature reserves in the Cradle of Humankind.”
As a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, he said the race attracted South Africa’s top teams, with the added incentive of cash prizes for the pros as well as lucky draws.
The 2014 edition – which was won by Namibian Costa Seibeb of the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team and An-li Kachelhoffer of Activate Drinks respectively – boasted more than 4 000 riders.
De Villiers said the successful relocation to the spacious new venue on the R28 had convinced organisers to keep the start/finish venue and route unchanged for 2015.
“Being situated at the mall, there’ll be plenty to keep the family entertained once the racing is done for the day.”
He said a 55km short-course option was available for those who might find the full route too daunting.
Registration is on the Wednesday before the race from 10am to 4pm at Cradlestone Mall.
Alternatively, collect your race number on the Thursday between 10am and 4pm at Cycle Lab Fourways or on the Friday from 10am to 4pm at Action Ford Krugersdorp.
Late entries will be accepted at registration but not on the morning of the race.