We are running a Spring Special on the Karoo GravelGrinder !
3 Days - 3 Nights - 7th to 10th September 2017
Max group of 30 riders, first come first served....
You can bring your spouse or spectators along we will announce pricing for them shortly.
You get a lot more bang for your buck than the average 3 Day MTB stage race in SA!
On the 29th of April 2017 MTBAfrica held a test run of the Karoo GravelGrinder concept. The route that was chosen was not any of the official routes of the 3 day stage race, but one which tested the group in terms of exposure to the Great Karoo and it's barren, harsh expanses.
First there was the loading of bikes, general banter and faffing about.....
And then we were off on our adventure...
Headed out north into the Great Karoo Basin..
Unloaded in a remote place....
Carefully explained how to navigate back home with a GPS unit.....
And then headed back over farm tracks through the deafening quietness.
Lone windmills watched our progress, and as we neared, cheered us on with a few squeaks and groans
The water-stop was a welcome site after some nasty corrugations and sand.
A craft beer is a must after you've crossed the thirst-land...
It was a tough route, and a great test to see if riders would enjoy something different. We emphasized the big open desert, sand, corrugations and long straight gravel sections. If anyone was going to be put off by the Karoo it was going to be on this route. The result though was positive, which bodes well for the carefully chosen 3 stages of the Karoo GravelGrinder. They are way more spectacular and not quite as tough. Cheers!
A maximum of 25 slots can be accommodated on Saturday - please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a space. If there are more of you we will try and make a transport plan to the start point.
Prince Albert and environs experienced a massive flash flood on Sunday night the 9th of April, between the hours of 6 pm and 8:30 pm. The town's water supply has been affected and houses have been flooded. Sadly the Swartberg Pass, a national monument, has been severely damaged, it is impassable and will remain so for many months while repair work is done. Further to this Meiringspoort has also been closed to traffic for the time being.
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the cancellation of the 2017 Swartberg100 Gran Fondo as it is not possible to repair the pass before the 29th of April. I have considered and researched other options during the course of the day, but the race route with the iconic Meiringspoort and Swartberg Pass and all the scenic connecting gravel is impossible to replicate.
A great thank you to all of you who have worked tirelessly so far in the run up the event. To our few sponsors that we have, thank you for the interest you have shown and for graciously accepting our final decision. To our marshals, sweep vehicles, medics, communications personnel, Department of Transport, traffic and police officers, Cycling South Africa, food and beverage vendors, and everyone involved in logistics on the day, thank you for your time and please keep that enthusiasm for next year.
Prince Albert is still a wonderful place to visit, so you can still spend the long weekend in the accommodation you have booked, explore the countryside, and enjoy the Olive and Food Market and other festivities. I will be organising a social ride on the Saturday the 29th that will take riders on a circular route through farmlands we have permission to ride on. I will look to provide a few options with pre-loaded GPS units for groups. please contact me on email@example.com if you are interested.
All specific registered rider entries will be carried over to 2018.
We are also offering Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo riders a double your entry fee discount conversion on our Karoo GravelGrinder a 3 day adventure ride timed and registered on Strava with an annual Leaderboard. The ride takes place numerous times a year, dates will be announced.
Medio Fondo riders R370.00 discount
Gran Fondo riders R1070.00 discount
Gravel Bike racing is set to take off in South Africa given the response we have had to the Swartberg100. Cyclocross and gravel bike sales at stores around South Africa are on the rise, and we see more and more "gravelgrinders" out on weekends hammering the roads less travelled.
Join us at South Africa's premier gravel bike event or take 3 days out and grind the Karoo with us on the newly launched Karoo GravelGrinder.
The Swartberg100 will take place on Saturday the 29th of April 2017
Entries will be opening on the 22nd of August, please enter quickly and reserve accommodation.
Freedom day is on Thursday the 27th of April 2017 and Workers Day is on the Monday the 1st of May 2017. Take Friday off and this could be 5 gorgeous days for you and your family or spouse in the best Karoo Dorp in the country with a serious bit of bike racing thrown in.
We are looking to create some additional fun events on Sunday the 30th.
Everyone loves Prince Albert, it's one of the best Karoo Towns to visit in the country ...
A fast route without too much climbing made for some very fast riding.
In the open women the results were as follows:
In the open men the results were as follows:
Join us on the 30th of April for the Swartberg100 Gran Fondo, South Africa's first one day Gravel Bike race. A spectacular route through Meiringspoort and over the Swartberg Pass, 160km of scenic beauty and hard core endurance racing. There is also a shorter 55 km route in the Great Karoo and Swartberg foothills. We are purposefully starting it later @ 9am to allow for visitors to travel in from afar to enjoy the Medio Fondo and the Prince Albert Food and Olive Festival
A group of 19 cyclists arrived at the Swartberg Hotel in the village of Prince Albert on Thursday evening the 19th of November, ready to tackle the Southern Cape Ride.
What lay ahead was an adventure from the Great Karoo to the shores of the Indian Ocean over 3 mountain ranges. Most of them, being sensible types, booked in to the hotel and got acquainted with their fellow riders over a few refreshments before dinner.
Day One started with the ascent of the hors categorie climb, Swartberg Pass, a quick refreshment stop at the top and then down to "Cobus se Gat" for coffee. Refreshment stops were a relaxed social affair. Riders were seen having a little nap while waiting for the back-markers, clearly a bit of partying the night before... The route meandered on through Klein Karoo lucerne and olive farms.
The ride ended with shower facilities and a great lunch in the Klein Karoo town of De Rust.
The evening was spent at African Relish where the group enjoyed a sumptuous meal and an introduction to the local wines.
Day Two was admittedly tough and the weather didn't exactly play along, but the peloton still enjoyed themselves and the cold and harsh conditions. The day "topped up" everyone's war stories for the evening's social.
Day Three ascended the Old Wagon Trail used in the 1700's between the coast and the Karoo interior, it then descended through indigenous rain forest to the lakes and onward to Wilderness Beach. A great route enjoyed by all.
Three days of riding across three mountain ranges from the arid Great Karoo to the forested shores of the Indian Ocean, an adventure few will forget, and a successful launch of MTBAfrica's Southern Cape Ride. We will be working hard on improving the route and experience for future participants.