Fast forward to 2015: After selling out in just under 30 minutes in 2014, entries for the 2015 event sold out within a record-breaking 13 minutes, with 256 teams listed on the results page.
Since 1993, the event has only ever been held in the Western Cape, with teams travelling from all corners of South Africa to participate.
That is, until 2016.
“We are thrilled to announce that the Pedal Power Association will be putting on the MALUTI DOUBLE90 on Saturday 7 May 2016,” said PPA Chairman Steve Hayward. “This follows the Association opening an office in Bloemfontein in 2015.”
Several route and venue options were investigated, with the Eastern Free State town of Clarens emerging as the ideal host for the new event.
Located in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and slotted between the Golden Gate National Park and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, Clarens is known as the “Jewel of the Free State” and is the undisputed tourist magnet in this part of the country. The town is roughly equidistant from Bloemfontein and Johannesburg (both some 3 hours normal travel time away), with Durban being 4 hours away.
“Due to the local infrastructure, the Maluti Double90 route will be (only!) 180 km, but looking at the route profile, this will be a tough ride indeed, with the toughest hills concentrated in the last 40km,” Hayward said. “The altitude could also influence participants’ efforts.”
In Year 1, only 120 teams will be accepted. As for the Coronation Double Century, teams can field up to 12 riders, with the time of the 6th rider counting as the team’s official time. Participants must be 18 or older, although cyclists who turn 18 during 2016 will be able to send in a motivation to be included in a team.
Entries will cost R6500 per team and will be available online. Entries will open at 12h00 on Wednesday 9 March 2016 and will close as soon as the 120 available team spots have been filled or on 25 April, whichever comes first. More information will soon be available on the event website, www.malutidouble90.co.za, which will be live by 1 March.