Cycling, trail running at heart of Drakensberg Extravaganza

Business, fashion and poetry join hands with sport

This weekend’s cycling road race and mountain biking events in the Bergville area look set to be the highlights of the opening weekend of the Drakensberg Extravaganza multicultural festival in the region.

The 10-day festival of cultural and sporting events in the Bergville and Champagne Valley region of KwaZulu-Natal promises something for everybody, with activities ranging from off-road and on-road cycling, trail running and a marathon, to an indaba and business fair to poetry, music and fashion shows.

“None of the mountain biking trails are too technical and difficult,” said Gavin Ryan, who put the course together. “I have tried to make them fun and entertaining for all levels of riders.” Pictures by Gavin Ryan/Quickpix

It all starts on Thursday and runs over two weekends with trail running, mountain biking and road cycling three of the high points from the opening weekend.

Picturesque

The road race on Sunday, November 25th, offers participants three distances, from a short 15km fun ride up to a serious 84km test. The start and finish of all events is in Bergville, with the 84km rider completing a loop around the picturesque Woodstock Dam and finishing with a fast final 25km on the R74.

KZN Cycling’s Kelvin du Sart is looking forward to the new road races.

“The 84km route provides a nice mix of terrain for the riders and I believe this could become a major event on the local provincial cycling calendar,” said the Westville Cycle Club Chairman this week. “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 mountain biking and road cycling events so close to each other on the Saturday and Sunday. This means that those riders who enjoy riding both on and off road can make a full weekend of the event. And with the trail runs also at Champagne Sports, and even the road running in Bergville on Saturday, there is lots to keep everybody in the family occupied.”

Howick trail

The mountain biking and trail runs on Saturday, November 24th, will start and finish at Champagne Sports Resort. The route for both events has been put together by Gavin Ryan, the well-known KZN course builder who has been responsible for much of the superb Howick trail network.

The trail run offers runners 5km and 10km options.

The trail run offers runners 5km and 10km options, while the mountain bikers can choose from 5km, 10km and 20km routes.

“None of the mountain biking trails are too technical and difficult,” said Ryan. “I have tried to make them fun and entertaining for all levels of riders. I have been lucky in that there are some magnificent trails there already and I have just had to link them up. Much of the route is well bedded down and should ride well.”

Online pre-entries are via ROAG (www.roag.co.za) and close on Tuesday, but late entries will be taken at all events on the day. For more information contact Michelle on 084 407 5566 or Kelvin on 082 446 9833.