The KAP sani2c is one of the oldest mountain biking stage races in South Africa, and has earned its reputation as not only one of the best experiences you can have on a bike, but as an event that authentically and consistently gives back to the communities along its 263km route from Underberg in the southern Drakensberg to Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast.
Aubrey Coetzee from Durban has entered the 2020 event. He is one of the riders who will earn Black Mamba status next year: “sani2c is probably one of the best experiences you will have in your life. It’s more than a bike race – it’s like a family and we catch up with mates from all over once a year. It’s an institution.”
Like many of the riders who return year after year, the community support of the event stands out as an important element for Aubrey: “We as riders are firmly integrated in the communities and over the years the investment and the ‘do good out there’ is awesome to be part of. It’s not just mountain biking – it’s giving back.
Farmer Glen is well known for his passion for the mountain biking experience as well as his drive to build on the event’s original purpose, which was to raise funds for a farm school that his children attended at the time.
This support now extends to 23 schools along the route and has over the years resulted in classrooms being built, solar panels being installed and a host of equipment being purchased amongst other things. This year, the KAP sani2c has entered into a partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation, an organisation working to feed hungry school children through their breakfast programme.
Carla van Huysteen from the Foundation says the organisation is based on nutrition and nutrition education: “In the early years a child needs all the nutrients they can get to grow, to thrive, for their brain to develop, so it’s really important to address all of these nutritional needs while they are still growing up.”
Head teacher at Msayana Primary School in the Umkomaas Valley, KV Mzozo, says of the programme: “Before they can start learning our children eat this porridge as their breakfast, which helps them to open their minds.”
“A hungry child cannot learn,” says Glen Haw. “It is imperative for us to help the schools, whether it be feeding a hungry child or enabling the school to employ more teachers. A partnership like this is so important; the communities see the positive effect of the riders passing through here, and they in turn pull out all the stops to assist the event. Everywhere we go the communities need to benefit or this event is not sustainable.”
Riders regularly comment on the warm reception along the route as well as the value that their participation has in terms of supporting the community. Neil Visser from Benoni says that it's an event with the rider at heart yet deeply rooted in the community. “Not only are you going to have an amazing three days but you're supporting a community while doing it.”
2020 will be Neil’s tenth sani2c and he says the event has evolved hugely: “The big one for me is the rider comfort. Hot and steamy showers with proper showers at both Mackenzie and Jolivet, with amazing views from the showers at Mackenzie! From all being squeezed into a makeshift tent/barn on night two in the past, to an amazing structure that seats all under one roof (the steaks are still there and still the best too.) Farmer Glen and team have really upped the game in rider comfort without sacrificing on the riding experience.”
Thehan Claasen will be doing his first sani2c next year: “I’ve heard so many incredible stories about the sani2c and several colleagues and friends completed the event in 2018. It is has been a bucket list item for some time and hearing the stories again this year convinced me that it’s time.”