Our Dad and Son KAP Sani2c was a success. I was a bit tentative at the start, but after Stage 1, I felt more assured that we would finish. Not fast, but certainly make it to the end. Here are the key moments that stood out for me, the Dad, doing my fifth sani2c; and Cade, the son, doing his first sani2c – and first stage race.

The preparation is more important than you think

We knew we had to put in the hours to build endurance, but it was the hours of spending time together on the bike and off it for about 10 weeks in advance that strengthened our bond and taught us about our own and each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We got to ride a variety of trails too, which, as Johannesburg residents, helped build our knowledge of where to ride safely in a pretty dangerous region of South Africa…

Glencairn is the start venue. A beautiful location in the Southern Drakensberg. | Photo: Ant Grote

The packing is a novelty

No matter how many stage races I have done, the packing and final preparation is always a small challenge on its own. Not a major challenge, but a logistical one that needs thought and planning and discussion. For sani2c, you stay in a tent with a mattress and get fed all your meals and drinks. Which is a lot, but everything else you need to bring – and it’s quite a lot if you want to be prepared.

The road trip is exciting

We live in Johannesburg, so it’s about a seven-hour drive through three provinces, which is always engaging. Because my wife and oldest son booked the sani2c Supporter Package, they joined us and it was a wonderful thing. When your kids are older, you don’t get to do many road trips with all of them together. This was a truly memorable one for our family and one that we will always cherish.

The vibe at Glencairn at registration is both relaxed and exciting. | Photo: Ant Grote

It’s best to stay at Glencairn the night before

We stayed at Glencairn the night before our event, the Adventure, began. This is the race start venue, so it’s very convenient and reduces the stress involved in staying off site and all the pre-race panic that can involve. It’s an extra fee, but cheaper than regular accommodation, with dinner and breakfast, and so worth it.

Stage 1 is harder than you think/remember

Knowing that I’m about 65% of my potential stage race condition, I avoided riding too hard early on the 89km leg from Glencairn to Mackenzie Club. “It’s a long way to go, let’s just ride steady,” I said to Cade every now and then when we were tempted to pedal hard. Surprisingly, Cade began to cramp just before the second water point and had to stop twice briefly to regain his composure. We just hadn’t done many rides over four hours. We managed to finish in just under five hours, but our TSS/Effort scores on our devices were higher on that stage than the others.

The new Stage 1 finale is better

Although some disagree with me, I feel the new route from the second Water Point to the finish of Stage 1 is better than the previous route. Yes, there’s actually a lot of steady climbing, but your surroundings change regularly, which is both distracting and interesting. And there’s some fast descending near the end. I think it’s a winner!

I asked Cade a few questions about this first part of the experience:

What did you think of the preparation and training? It was a commitment for sure. But I feel like it wasn’t super rigid. We definitely could have put more hours in on our long rides, but we were trying to build up steadily and enjoy the rides as much as possible.

How did you find the packing and daily movement from place to place? I struggled a bit with the packing and pre- and post-stage routine each day. But it was my first stage race and I wasn’t always thinking about everything. Luckily my dad has stage-race experience.

I got better as the race went on, but it can be improved in future. As a Media Team, we did edit our daily video content, so that added a few hours to our post-race commitments, but we also had access to the media centre power supply, which helped with charging devices.

What did you think of the trip to the start at Glencairn? It was a very scenic drive. The Glencairn arrival was great because there was lots of excitement and anticipation in the air.

And the rider box with goodies? I was impressed with this! A very good quality Ciovita riding jersey and an amazing Salomon Jacket, which is reversible and which I will wear this winter for sure! They really have made a big effort with this box of goodies.

You had a tough Stage 1, right? Yes, Stage 1 was definitely the hardest stage for me! It’s not as long as Stage 2, but there’s a lot climbing and I started to cramp in the last 20km. I had to get off my bike for a while to try and ease the cramping in my quads! I was also riding a test bike and I think the saddle was a bit low, because I didn’t have any cramping issues on the next two days after raising the seat height a bit.

I really enjoyed the fast descents close to the finish! A super fun way to finish a long day on the bike. My parents booked me a massage, which I really appreciated. I feel like it definitely helped. Friends of my mum had recovery/compression boots, which they kindly offered for me to use too.

The PG Bison floating bridge is a highlight feature on Stage 1. | Photo: Ant Grote

And the PG Bison Floating Bridge – how was that? I was a bit unsure about this as I hadn’t ridden a floating bridge that sits on the surface and sinks a bit with weight on it. I asked my dad to lead so I could see and feel what the bridge does. Once I was on it, I was fine, but it was really different to ride across the water like that!

There’s too much to write for one post, so I will do it in parts. Part 2 will cover the legendary Umko Drop, Iconic climb and the Mackenzie Club experience. 

We posted some reels on the TREAD Media Instagram account from our KAP sani2c experience. Check them out here.

Here are links to our build-up experience of the 20th edition of KAP sani2c


I’m introducing my son to South African mountain bike stage racing by combining as a Dad-and-Son team at the 20th edition of the KAP Sani2c, the world’s biggest mountain bike stage race. Here’s how we trained, where we trained and what we used for energy and recovery; what injury challenges we faced and a nice family bonus.

Full story here.


About two years ago I wrote about the fact that stage races were not future proofing themselves and in danger of losing the interest of the new generation of mountain bikers. At the end of April, I will be introducing my son to the stage-race culture when we team up to contest the 20thedition of KAP sani2c. It’s not as simple as it sounds though…

Full story here.


How about that – KAP sani2c turns 20 next year! There’s something important about that milestone. Not only is it significant for sani2c, but for mountain biking in South Africa. Here’s why…

Full story here.