Mountain biking, road cycling, trail running and a road running event unite next month in the Bergville area as the highlight of the of the sporting side of the Drakensberg Extravaganza multicultural festival.
The 10-day festival of cultural and sporting events in the Bergville and Champagne Valley region of KwaZulu-Natal will once again offer something for everybody with a variety of activities ranging from off-road and on-road cycling, trail running and a road-running marathon to a series of business summits, a film festival and comedy, poetry, music and fashion shows.
The Extravaganza starts on November 21 and takes place over two weekends, with the cycling and running events the highlights of the opening weekend.
The cycling road race on Sunday, November 24th and the mountain biking the day before both proved to be popular additions to the cycling calendar in 2018 with riders in both events enjoying the well-designed routes and slick organisation.
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.
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 mountain biking and trail runs on Saturday, November 23rd, will start and finish at the magnificent Champagne Sports Resort complex. The routes for both events 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 trail run offers runners 5km and 10km options, while the mountain bikers can choose from 10km and 20km routes.
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.
KZN Cycling’s Kelvin du Sart, who is in charge of the cycling and trail running events, is excited about the weekend of sport and believes the activity-based side of the festival is set to grow after the successful launch a year ago.
“We were very happy with the response from the inaugural events last year and are making sure we make it even better for riders and the trail runners this year,” said the Westville Cycle Club Chairman this week.
“The 84km route on the road provides a nice mix of terrain for the riders and I believe this is already well on its way to becoming a major event on the local provincial cycling calendar There is enough climbing to test both the strength and fitness of the top riders, but not so much that it will make the race too tough for the average cyclist looking to have some fun.
“We are also excited to have the road cycling, mountain biking, trail running and road running marathon events so close to each other over the weekend. This means that those families who have runners and riders in their ranks can make a full weekend of the event and keep everybody in the family occupied.”