The brain child of race director Glen Haw, the race has as part of its commitment to investing in the communities through which it passes and to align itself with environmental sustainability, runs an innovative tree planting programme involving numerous local landowners.

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The planting of trees along the Nedbank sani2c route was inspired by Jack Lund's programme at Hazeldene's Kenmo Lake. // Photo: Dave Macleod/ Gameplan Media.

The unique model for the programme starts with voluntary donations from riders and sponsors that generates a pool from which around 3000 saplings are purchased each year.

Local landowners are then approached and offered the opportunity to plant these trees on their land, and urged to ensure their survival and well-being.

Each year Haw and his committee audit each and every tree planted, and if it is thriving, the landowner responsible is paid an annual retainer.

“I was inspired to start planting trees by the incredible trees around Kenmo Lake on Hazeldene, the farm owned by Jack Lund,” says Haw.

“No one can walk away from a visit to this site without a renewed passion to plant trees,” he added. The race used this site as an overnight stop for the Old Mutual joberg2c until its move to the current Glencairn location.

“When we race through here in Autumn the trees provide an incredible spectacle as they gradually all turn different shades of brown with the change of the seasons,” said Haw.

ccs-62657-0-35786000-1431026166.jpgDumisani Molefe and race director Glen Haw plant one of the first trees at the Nedbank sani2c's new start venue at Glencairn Farm. // Photo: Dave Macleod/ Gameplan Media.
“This way each rider has a stake in the environmental well-being of the region. They can enjoy the shade on each of their trees, and watch them grow, knowing that year round that tree is playing its role in the local ecology, providing shelter for birds and shade for the cattle.”

“It’s a brilliant collaboration between the event, its riders and the sponsors,” he said.

“Nedbank is committed to activities that promote environmental sustainability,” says Vince Boulle, Executive Head of Nedbank Private Wealth.

“Over the years, it has been rewarding to be involved in the Nedbank sani2c and its upliftment of the local Underberg community.”

Each year Nedbank entertains key clients taking part in the race. This year they have given the clients the option of receiving one set of race kit instead of the usual three, with the saving being channelled directly into the tree-planting project.

“This year, thanks to the generosity of Nedbank Private Wealth clients who chose to forfeit cycling kit items, we have been able to raise R20 000 towards the Nedbank sani2c tree-planting initiative,” says Boulle.

Haw said the first block of indigenous trees was planted by Maritzburg College at the Mackenzie Club overnight stop in 2011, where they have flourished. Since then over 8000 trees have been planted as part of the race tree-planting initiative.

For 2015 he plans to plant a block of saplings at the race’s new registration and first stage start at Glencairn Farm, at the foot of Sani Pass, hoping that this already picturesque site will soon mirror the spectacle of Hazeldene’s Kenmo Lake.

The 11th edition of the Nedbank sani2c gets underway when the Trail event takes place from 12-14 May 2015. The Adventure then unfolds from 13-15 May before the cream of the country's top mountain bikers do battle during the Race from 14-16 May. More information can be found at www.sani2c.co.za.