Government restrictions in reaction to Covid-19 have seen a number of 2020 mountain bike events being cancelled or postponed. But hey, it’s only July! International cycle racing starts in Europe on 1 August. The South African Covid-19 peak is no doubt close. Cycling SA has announced that some racing can begin. Here are 27 significant races that are scheduled from September to December that are worth getting excited about!
By Sean Badenhorst
FNB Wines2Whales | Photo Nick Muzik
After what seems like a lifetime of no mountain bike events, there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. In a country that’s so focussed on participating in events, the inability to do so has made us hungry for them and, once they’re back, we’ll no doubt appreciate them more than we ever have!
It began in the third week of March with the 2020 Absa Cape Epic, which was dramatically cancelled a day before the start! The pandemic was pretty new to us back then. Fear of the unknown and a growing, drastic global response combined to give us enough motivation to patiently wait for the virus to run its course so that life could return to normal.
Fast forward four months and we have seen the Covid-19 pattern, which like most viruses, sees it reach a peak before subsiding. China itself, the source of the virus, and many European countries have reverted to regular life, albeit with social distancing and mask-wearing protocols in place, for obvious reasons. South Africa was always a few weeks behind and is now reaching its own predicted late July/August peak.
On July 15 2020, Cycling South Africa sent out a press release confirming that certain time-trial-style events can commence from 15 July and small group events (comprising fewer than 300 including organising staff) can begin from 1 September. Obviously there’s a fairly solid process in place that event organisers need to follow in order to get the green light.
Nissan Trailseeker, Van Gaalen | Photo Henk Neuhoff
This will initially suit the more niche disciplines of XCO, Downhill and Enduro, which generally attract smaller fields. For half-marathons, marathons, ultra-marathons, ultra-endurance races and stage races, which normally attract larger fields, there will be some challenges. Unless of course the restrictions become even more relaxed over the next few weeks and months, which may indeed be the case.
From the 2019 South African MTB Race Survey, presented by Garmin, we established which are the country’s favourite mountain bike events. Here’s a list, by region, of those events that are still scheduled to take place in 2020, with links to their websites should you want to enter or find out more.
5 September 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Nissan Trailseeker Buffelsdrift https://mtb.trailseekerseries.co.za/
24-25 October 2020: Stage Race/Marathon – Cool Ideas Cradle Mountain Trophy http://www.mountain-trophy.co.za
31 October 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Nissan Trailseeker Cullinan https://mtb.trailseekerseries.co.za/
8 November 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Discovery 947 Ride Joburg https://947ridejoburg.co.za/
13-14 November 2020: Ultra-endurance – Cullinan 2 Tonteldoos https://c2tmtb.co.za/
21-22 November 2020: Stage Race/Marathon – Cool Ideas Magalies Adventure https://www.magaliesadventure.co.za/mtb/
28 November 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Nissan Trailseeker Legends MX https://mtb.trailseekerseries.co.za/
19 September 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Nissan Trailseeker Van Gaalen https://mtb.trailseekerseries.co.za/
3 October 2020: Ultra-marathon – Race to the Sun https://racetothesun.co.za/
13-15 November 2020: Stage race – Sabie Xperience https://sabiexperience.co.za/
6 September 2020: Ultra-marathon – Go Durban 100 https://wardevents.co.za/go-durban-100-mtb-race/
2-11 October 2020: Stage race – Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush https://www.bergandbush.co.za/
4-30 October 2020: Ultra-endurance – Freedom Challenge https://www.freedomchallenge.org.za/
10-11 October 2020: Half marathon/Marathon/Enduro – Sappi Karkloof Classic [SA Marathon Champs] https://roag.org/events/event-info/3394/sappi-karkloof-classic-sa-marathon-championships
2-5 December 2020: Stage race – KAP Sani2c https://sani2c.co.za/
5 September 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Picket-Bo-Berg https://www.piketbobergtrails.com/piket-bo-berg-cycle-challenge
12 September 2020: Half marathon/Marathon -Darling Brew X https://darlingbrew.co.za/pages/darling-brew-extreme-mtb-2020
19-20 September 2020: Stage ‘race’ – Houw Hoek MTB Tour https://entries.mtb-adventures.co.za/events/66162-houwhoek-mtb-tour
25-27 September 2020: Stage race – Ride the Karoo https://ridethekaroo.co.za/
2/3 October 2020: Half marathon/Marathon -Ladismith Cheese Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge https://www.7weekspoortmtb.co.za/info/
3 October 2020: Ultra-marathon – Cederberg Traverse 100 Miler http://www.cederberg100miler.co.za/
18 October: Half Marathon/ Marathon – BrewerytoBrewery http://brewerytobrewery.co.za/
30 October-8 November 2020: Stage race – Wines2Whales https://wines2whales.com/
13-15 November 2020: Ultra-endurance – The 36ONE https://the36one.com/
14-15 November 2020: Stage race – To Hell & Back https://www.tohellandback.co.za/
2-7 December 2020: Ultra-endurance – The Munga https://mtb.themunga.com/
26 September 2020: Ultra-marathon – Maloti 100 Miler https://www.maloti100.co.za/
14 November 2020: Ultra-endurance – Midnight Express http://www.midnightexpress.co.za/
6 December 2020: Half marathon/Marathon – Longmore Classic http://www.mountainevents.co.za/events
11 December 2020: Ultra-endurance – Nedbank Desert Dash https://desertdashnamibia.com/
8 -10 October 2020: Stage race – Inyatsi Swazi Frontier www.swazifrontier.co.sz
Sappi Karkloof Classic
Obviously there’s a risk that some of the events listed here may have to be postponed or cancelled, so bear that in mind. But let’s start moving our mindsets to being more positive. Enter a race or two to give yourself something to train for and focus on that. We’ve been exceedingly patient, it’s time to focus forward.
If you organise a mountain bike event scheduled to take place in 2020 that we have not listed, please send an email with details to email@example.com so we can add it.