The eyes of the South African cycling (and running) community will focus on the small Drakensberg village of Bergville next week when the Drakensberg Extravaganza rolls into town for a sporting and cultural festival.
The Drakensberg Extravaganza is about more than just cycling and running, but the trail run and mountain bike event at Champagne Sports on Saturday November 23, and the road cycling race which starts and finishes in Bergville the next day, are three of the sporting highlights of the 11-day festival.
The mountain biking and trail runs on Saturday will start and finish at the magnificent Champagne Sports Resort complex. The routes for both events are being designed by well-known Howick-based course designer Gavin Ryan and will take in some of the wonderful trails developed by the active Champagne Valley community, as well as some new features which will be crafted specifically for the event.
The mountain bikers can choose from 10km or 20km routes while the trail runners have the choice of a 5km or 10km option.
This year the road riders have a choice of three distances from a short 15km fun ride, a 40km intermediate event up to a serious 84km test. The start and finish of all events is in Bergville with the 84km riders completing a loop around the picturesque Woodstock Dam.
All three routes feature some stunning vistas and competitors will ride with the Drakensberg mountain range creating a massive backdrop to their efforts.
The long route, which has been reversed from 2018, includes some testing climbs and a flat final 25km which means the top riders are faced with a test of fitness and tactics as they aim for a share of the generous prize fund. The route has been carefully put together to ensure it is not so arduous that the backmarkers will not also enjoy their day in the saddle.
The Josiah Gumede road running marathon also takes place on Saturday, November 23rd, from the Bergville Sports Centre and road runners can choose from 10km, 21km and 42km races.
Other items on the packed Drakensberg Extravaganza menu include a road running marathon, hiking golf, water sports, a picnic, cultural events, a comedy and poetry evening, a music concerts, a jazz festival and business fairs and discussions. The full extravaganza starts on November 21 and ends on December 1.
For more information and entry forms go to http://drakensbergextra.co.za/ or contact Michelle on 084 407 5566 or Kelvin on 082 446 9833. Online entries are via ROAG (www.roag.co.za) and entries close on Sunday.