“It is the ‘Argus’ of mountain biking,” commented 2015 winner Matt Beers (RED-E Cannondale). “Riders are always going to come back to improve their time,” he said. “It’s such an amazing route with such a vast contrast of scenery and terrain. Also, it sets a great challenge for any rider – its not too technical, so people who want to accomplish a goal of riding 100km on a MTB, can do so.”

Matt Beers at Diepwalle Forest, Karoo to Coast 2015. © Desmond Scholtz

Beers, who originally hails from Knysna, won’t be enjoying too much of the scenery up the sharp end of the race however, as he looks to defend his title in 2016. “The racing is super fast all the time,” he commented. “Everyone is checking who has legs on the day. There's a lot of attacking in the early stages of the race, especially if there are some big teams with riders looking after the strongest rider the team. In that respect its very similar to a road race – extremely tactical.”

“The fast, flowing district roads make for super fast racing,” agreed defending women’s champ Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health). De Groot will be hunting a hat trick, having claimed the title in both 2014 and 2015. “It does remind me somewhat of road racing, where bunches are vital,” she said. “There are some nice punchy climbs which allow for some good racing!”

In the interest of maintaining the quality of the iconic event (and to ease the registration process) the Lions Clubs of Uniondale and Knysna has decided that only 4200 entries will be made available in 2016. These entries will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

No substitutions will be allowed after 15 August. The entry fee is R450.00 and includes dinner in Uniondale on Saturday 17th September. The event is owned by the Lions Clubs of Uniondale and Knysna and all proceeds from the event go to Sightfirst, the South African Guide Dog Association and other urgent needs in the community.

For more information and to enter, visit www.karootocoast.com.