Karkloof – As KwaZulu-Natal continues with the clean-up operations after the weekend’s devastating flooding, the organisers of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival have assured the big field that has entered the mountain bike and trail run events that the signature Karkloof trails will be in top condition for the races on Saturday and Sunday.
The KZN midlands experienced less rainfall than the coastal areas and it has been drying out since the beginning of the week, leaving the trail builders and event organisers enthusiastic that the trails will be at their best for the thousands of athletes that will converge on the Marriot Karkloof Country Club.
With entries closing today (Thursday) at noon, the trail builders are upbeat about how everything has come together with perfect weather predicted for the weekend and some ideal riding and running conditions underfoot.
“The six days of sun will be more than enough to make sure there is hardly any mud on course and the trails will be in pristine condition,” said organizer Nick Stubbs.
“It has actually worked out really nicely,” he added. “Drying out after the rain will mean that the trails will be riding really nice and smooth and fast.”
He confirmed that no bridges or river crossing were affected by the rains in the midlands and that all the mountain bike and trail run routes would be raced as originally planned.
“I think the riders and runners are going to have a ball on the trails this weekend,” he said.
The 90km long MTB ride will also decide the SA marathon championships titles for 2022, and the race has attracted a stellar field to contest the men’s and women’s titles across the various age groups.
The 90km ride will include the debut of a brand new section called Rockwood’s Angel, which will take the elite riders on a memorable five kilometre descent from the top of the landmark Lebanon climb down to the nearby Rockwood Lodge.
“It is a work of art from course designer Hylton Turvey,” said race committee chair Andrew Nicholson. “Over the 4,7 kilometers it drops 580 meters in altitude with an average gradient of 13.6% as it goes down a grassy spine and then cuts in and out of the indigenous bush.”
“When you ride it, you will feel like you are on the back of an angel!” he added.
The Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May. More info can be found at https://roag.org/events/event-info/3864/ and enter at https://roag.org/enter/event/3864 until 12 noon on Thursday.
Schedule of events:
Saturday 28th May
Registration: 06h30 to 08h00
07h30 21km Trail Run
08h00 9km Trail Run
Sunday 29th May
Registration: 06h00 to 10h00
07h00 85km MTB
08h00 60km MTB
08h45 40km MTB
09h30 20km MTB
09h50 9km Trail Run (fun run)
10h00 10km MTB