According to event co-ordinator and route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia, riders can look forward to a trails festival of note with more than 30 singletrack sections covering over 40km across the 2 day event on 3 and 4 February 2018. “There is simply no way of providing a rewarding singletrack experience when the field gets too big. Most events try and remedy the situation by making the trails smoother and less technical, ultimately detracting from the rider experience.”
To further enhance the rider experience, each distance are sent off in 2 batches, with CSA members going off first each day.
Riders who are unsure whether they are technically proficient enough to enter the event are urged to sample the Simonsberg trail system over the holidays and get their permits from the Delheim, Muratie or Delvera trail heads. Permits are also available online at www.dirtpass.co.za.
The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and event organisers Dirtopia to showcase and expand the expansive singletrack trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain.
Stage 1 of the 2018 route will cover less farm road sections, as route design is focussed on expanding on the legal, open-7-days-a-week trails. The Dirtopia trails team is currently building new sections that will add greatly to the diversity of the first day’s route.
“To ensure that riders have a pleasurable yet competitive race, we have decided to limit rider numbers to 350 riders on each of the 40km and 60km distance options every day. While the route offers ample opportunity for riders to spread out before entering the first sections of trail, we want to offer participants ideal conditions for an amazing experience,” says Botha.
The mountain has recovered spectacularly following the devastating fire in 2016, which damaged 90% of the trails and destroyed large sections of the forest canopy and participants can look forward to spectacular scenery. Longer route riders can expect around 1500m elevation, while the shorter route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. A detailed route map and description is available online at www.fairtreecontour.co.za.
Riders can customise their entry and opt for the following variations: 60km both days (R975), 40km both days (R825), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R875), 60km Saturday and 40km on Sunday (R875), 60km one day only (R495) or 40km one day only (R420). Entry fees include a goody bag, breakfast snack, coffee, lunch daily, bike park with lube station, on route technical support by BMT, fully stocked refreshment stations with BOS hydration, live timing and a medal. A total purse of R40 000 will be up for grabs in 2018 with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days. As an Early Bird Special, all entry fees will remain the same as 2017 entry fees until 31 December 2017.
In 2017, the event was expanded to include the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race Trail Run starting and finishing from the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera on 10 and 11 February. Entry fees vary according to route selection and whether runners opt for one or both days: 25km both days (R650.00), 12km both days (R500), 12km and 25km respectively (R580.00), 12km on either day (R270) or the 7km fun run on the Sunday (R175). The entry fee includes timing, a goody bag, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal.
Runners familiar to Delvera’s trail runs must not expect the same routes as normally used for the popular trail runs hosted at this venue. Routes have been swopped around completely and on day 1 runners in the 25km do the entire ascent of the Klapmutskop, the only annual opportunity to do so in a trail run. This requires climbing a few steps towards the end of the first climb as we enter the hiking trail routes on the koppie. The reward is stunning views over the Boland from an elevation of 523m. The 15km runners do not do the entire climb to the top, making for a slightly easier ascent but they still top out at around 400m above sea level. On Sunday runners head for the Simonsberg, and riders can expect a new approach route to eliminate some of the duplication that occurred in 2017.