Event Cost: R5500 per team
Location: Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River
Distance: Stage 1: 115km, Stage 2: 85km, Stage 3: 113km, Stage 4: 20.5km
You leave the Start and turn left towards White River. At 1km you turn right into the suburbs (a short stiff hill) and wind your way along Impala St to the Sabie/White River road. This is about 5km and is a neutral zone.
The racing begins in earnest once on the Sabie Road but be on the lookout for potholes in the next two kilometers. At 7km you turn left onto the Brondal road and begin with a fast descent down the notorious Heidel Eggs climb. At about 16km into the race, is the first water point staffed by The Bicycle Company. Make sure you have enough fluids as it is about 35km to the next water point with a lot of climbing inbetween.
At the end of the Brondal section, you turn left towards Lydenburg and have a steady climb of about 5km (maximum 4% gradient) before it levels off and drops down to the Rosehaugh turnoff. Turn on the climbing legs for the next 2.3km to the Hot Spot (Men/Women/Mixed). You’ll have a 6km recovery before tackling the next bump of 2km and then it’s a wicked descent down the pass to the Sudwala Caves road. Turn right towards the caves and about 1km down the road is the Turn Around and the Gumtreez Water Point. Stock up on drinks and energy foods here as its a big climb back the way you came.
The pass reaches a maximum of 7% on the way back but once over the top, its possible to get good momentum to carry you back to the Lydenburg Road. Once you reach 72km, the next 14km are fast with a lot of downhill to recover the legs before the last haul back to Casterbridge. The Bicycle Company will be waiting for you at 90km to give you the last burst of energy you need to get through the valley, up Heidel Eggs and home to Casterbridge.
This stage is the flattest the Lowveld can offer. From the start the riders turn left towards the town of White River but turn immediately right at Palm Motors. If you haven’t warmed up your legs, this first bump will hurt. Once through the town, the riders turn right towards Sabie (R537) where the neutral zone ends. Shortly after, the field turns left towards Brondal.
This road undulates through magnificent countryside and the riders will experience a different perspective of the region. There are some exhilarating down hills and long gradual climbs that will get the muscles working and the blood flowing when, at 25km the riders will turn left and begin the fast descent back into the capital of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit. As the riders reach the outskirts of the town, they will turn right and about 100m further on, left onto the N4 bypass. The N4 rolls up and down until Karino where the riders will turn left, cross over the four way stop and rejoin the original route.
The water point is located at 64km and take this opportunity to catch your breath before the final assault back to Casterbridge. The route takes the riders towards the KMIA Airport, where the men will be divided from the boys over the last hilly 25 km. At the end of this road riders will swing left then right into the farm lane (after the airport) which is in great condition and knocls out the long Plaston climb. Beware the sharp right turn at speed at 5km to go.
Riders will return to Casterbridge from the Numbi Gate road (R538) on a couple of final steep climbs. Then its rest up, refuel and recover for Stage Three.
Day 3 is another long day in the saddle with some tough climbing. Riders head through White River onto the R537 towards Sabie which is a steady drag including the 5km pass to the top of Spitskop which is a Hotspot for the first Sub Vet, Vet, Masters and Tandem categories across the line so don’t let your partner drop you. This will also be the first water point (35km).
Then it is a 15km big ring ride down to Sabie. If you have the time and inclination, stop at Petena’s for pancakes. The rest of you, get your friends and families to cheer your team at Sabie because you will need stout hearts and legs with the 9km steep climb up the foot of Long Tom Pass. As you turn onto the Nelspruit road, you will be welcomed at the Greenway Woods water point with USN energy products to refresh you after a long 60km.
The next section offers panoramic views of the Lowveld with long undulating climbs and fast descents. Here you can get into a fast rhythm and the kilometers will fly by. The Bicycle Company will be at 90km and is famously hosted with pizzas and vodka!
Descending back into the Lowveld will give you a well deserved break before the last 20 km on the Brondal Road back towards White River. The Brondal section has three climbs with the last one being tough on the mind (Heidel Eggs) and the legs but you are so close to the finish. Dig deep for this and the reward is the finish line at Casterbridge and only one day left!
Rest those legs for the last effort of the time trial and we’ll see you at prize giving, race briefing and the rider dinner.