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Suggestion for a road race circuit

Chris NewbyFraser

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With the exception of the Natal Hibiscus coast, all South African major holiday areas boast big road events that offer more than just a ride, but scenery and special route challenges. One area that has all the ingredients for a fabulous road race but has no road event at all, is the Hibiscus Coast (lower south coats of KZN). An event was tried some years ago; its primary feature being a boring out and back route from the Wild Coast Sun along the R61. The event died, in my view, because of the boring route and also mountain biking was exploding at the time. I really believe that this area could create a fabulous event that would stand the test of time - especially for inland cyclists; its a bit far for the W Cape community. Here is a brief list of the main sections that can be included in a race.


Starting at the Wild Coast Sun (parking, facilities, possible sponsorship) the event would head North up the R61. At the village of Glenmore it would turn left onto the winding and very attractive Louis Botha drive (what was the original R61 before the new road was build many years ago).

Rejoining the R61 at Mpenjati, the route would go north to Southbroom, turning left onto the old road again (R620) past Ramsgate beach. In Ramsgate the riders will turn inland on the first big climb up Alford Avenue and follow this hard section of hilly, twisting road to Port Shepstone.

From Sheppies the riders will hit the south coast road (R620)and a route can be created that takes in roads riding along the shoreline, such as in Uvongo along Orange Rocks drive, through Margate's suburbs and beach front and on to smaller villages like Southbroom and Trafalgar (the high level shoreline ride along Effingham Parade is spectacular).


The uphill sprint finish at the Wild Coast Sun comes after crossing the huge bridge in Port Edward.


Multiple distances can be created with the long one being close to 100km. Given the tough route, this is a good challenging distance for our local cycling community. If the event is a success, a pro-level route can be added in the future, taking in the Oribi Gorge loop with its nasty KOM climb.


Like any top notch event, this event will take some organising, and will no doubt, at first, annoy the old tannie's and their grey beard hubbies who have retired to this sub-tropical area (I hope to be one soon - living there I mean). But they will become used to the annual event and eventually take ownership of it, as have the citizens of other cities.


The ideal timing would be mid May as the weather is mild, the sea still warm at approx 20degrees) and the area has very good accommodation availability at this off-season time.


The main thing the organisers must do is avoid the tendency to take the easy route and stick to the main roads. This would make the event vanilla bland and it will not survive.

I do hope some intrepid organisers can consider this. I would certainly offer my effort as a marshal, registration worker, media worker etc.





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