Entries for the TRANS-KAROO MTB on Saturday 2 September close on 15 August, where after entries close and you’ll have to wait until 2018 to get a shot at riding this iconic event.
What is the TRANS-KAROO MTB? It’s not an easy event. It’s not an event for unfit riders. It’s not an event for novices.
It’s an event that will test your mental strength as much as your legs. It’s an event that will have you love and hate your bicycle – often at the same time. It’s an event that gives you serious cycling bragging rights if you become one of the handful of riders to have completed it.
Let’s face it, riding 247 km in 17 hours is not everyone’s cup of tea. Are you up for it? Come and find out!
Over the last 4 years the Trans-Karoo MTB has built a solid reputation for a ‘bucket list’ event, and the popularity of the race is increased by the fact that entries are limited due to the sensitive eco-systems that the race traverses.
The event annually alternates between an “up” ride (Ceres to Sutherland) and a “down” ride. 2017 is a “down” ride and participants can therefore once again expect to tackle the daunting drop down the escarpment via the 10 km descent down Ouberg Pass, finishing many hours later on the Ceres side with the 14 km rocky climb up the Skittery Pass.
The quaint Karoo town of Sutherland is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the best stargazing in the country. It is also one of the coldest places in South Africa. Wikipedia tells us to expect average daytime temperatures in September of 16 degrees, while the temperature can still drop to zero at night. Head lamps, an emergency blanket (“space blanket’), enough water, basic tools and puncture repair kit and medical supplies are therefore compulsory items to carry along, with support being allowed only at two designated points along the route.
In 2013 Timothy Hammond finished the first ‘down’ ride in 9:27, with Hannele Steyn winning the women’s solo section in 10:41 to finish 7th overall, the highest a female rider has finished to date.
In 2015 Charles McFall set a new ‘down’ record to finish in 8:35, while Amanda Brookes was the first female rider in 10:58. What will 2017 bring?
“Early Bird” entries cost R1500 per person for PPA members and R1800 per person for non-PPA members, with all entries from 16 July-15 August costing R2 000. Various packages are available around accommodation and meals, or using the event bus to transport you and your bicycle from Cape Town to Sutherland, and back from Ceres to Cape Town.