Participants in this year’s sani2c mountain bike race will be exposed to a concept that is perhaps more familiar in canoeing.
In races like the Dusi Canoe Marathon, paddlers often have more than one route option and this year’s sani2c will follow suit on stage two.
Andrew Houston, route manager of the three-day event, said riders would be able to choose between two routes as they climb out of the Umkomaas Valley.
There will be the traditional “Iconic” option and now the gentler but longer “Hlegabafasi” trail, which organisers are hoping will take roughly the same time to complete.
“We won’t say how much, but we are hoping there will be seconds in it,” said Houston.
“The (Iconic) climb itself is brutal, short sharp bursts of pain halted by only a few short pedal strokes of release for what feels like an eternity. It is enjoyed more in hindsight for the riders, over a beer at Jolivet.
“If you can conquer Iconic without putting a foot down, you are a beast and deserve something to show for it. We give you a sticker!”
The new section’s name is derived from the isiZulu term that means “laughing women” and is the name of the Hornbill bird in the valley.
Race founder Glen Haw and Houston were out scouting the route when they heard the screeching laughter of the bird and the name stuck.
Houston said the easier option would not be available to riders in the joBerg2c, who will traverse the same stretch tomorrow on stage eight.
“The route is otherwise largely similar, with one or two slight changes from tree felling. And, of course, our team have done what they can to try and let you go a little faster on the single-track.”