Himeville – When the huge field of eager mountain bikers sets off for the start of the three–day KAP sani2c Adventure on Wednesday 9 May, the outing will be an important sentimental milestone for the Turton family of Underberg farmers.
Passionate supporters of the event, Tex Turton and his wife Anita will both be starting their tenth edition of the iconic race to the South Coast, and they will be sharing the occasion with their extended family.
Turton will be partnering son-in-law Tim Krause while Anita will be teaming up with Capetonian Alexa Cole, who has become a long-standing extension of their family since her early canoeing days, while Craig Turton will be riding in a mixed team with his wife Kate.
“It is absolutely fantastic to be able to do a race like the KAP sani2c with your family, it is so special. We can’t wait,” said Tex Turton. “My daughter Robin has an excuse this year as she has just had a baby but I know she will be with us every pedal stroke of the way.”
“Looking back on the last nine rides, everyone has been special for one reason or another,” says Turton.
“I think last year’s final day to Scottburgh was the hardest I have ever done. In the mud and rain there was no chance to rest or freewheel because you had to pedal hard the whole way.”
He fondly looks back on his first sani2c as a mountain biking novice. “We had started riding six months before that first sani2c after having seconded our kids at their races. Our first ride was a five kilometres Kiddies Fun Ride and we nearly died!,” he recalls.
“On our first sani2c I think we walked up every hill, but in true Turton fashion we finished.
Turton usually partners local friend Neil Lamble for the three day classic to the sea, a rider who attracts plenty of attention for his dogged insistence on riding every year in the same pair of fraying rugby shorts that he had done multiple editions of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Dusi Canoe Marathon and Midmar Mile, while Anita Turton usually rides with Dr Rob Drummond.
He is a perfect gentleman that carries everything in his back pack,” says Turton. “I am convinced he could do open heart surgery on the side of the track he has so much in that bag!”
“Both partners can’t accompany us this year so the family have stepped in to support the ballies on their 10th sani2c,” said Turton.
He explained that the only way he was able to get his family involved in the race, which has a sold-out entry for the three races (the Trail, Adventure and the Race) every year was to split his initial entry, and then split it again.
“Now we all ride together, which is fantastic, but it does come with some pressure for us old ballies,” said Turton. “We call it a ride but the youngsters, and my son Craig in particular, really race it and put us under a lot of pressure.
“So we have a deal with Craig,” he went on to explain. “When we get to the steep climbs, he rides in front and Anita and I each hang onto one of his pockets.
While each of the family members has work commitments to keep up with, Turton said they were all training hard, and would get together on the weekends and public holiday to ride together.
Riders who complete ten editions of the sani2c are inducted into a unique club called the Green Mambas and enjoy special privileges in subsequent years of the race.