Race founder ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw says he is seeing younger riders being drawn to the stage racing events but that he hopes the prize money incentive would play an important role in attracting the younger riders to sani2c. “We see a lot of parents bringing their children to ride with them when they turn 18; this is where we see most of our young riders coming from at the moment. Many riders look forward to passing on the tradition of sani2c and enjoy the shift to riding with family.
“Having said that, we definitely want to see the ambitious young athletes pushing to enter and win their age categories - the prize money will hopefully motivate the competitive element amongst this group of riders.”
Danielle Strydom from Potchefstroom, aged 20, was chuffed to be the winner of the 2019 Young Guns for women: “sani2C 2018 was my very first full stage race and honestly I was nervous as hell going into it, just because I didn’t know how I would handle the distances.
But it was the perfect ice breaker and from the first day’s 3,2,1 GO! all of the nerves melted away into pure excitement and enjoyment.
“The sani2c team really makes an effort to cater for all types of riders and that is something that really stood out for me and also why we came back again this year. The route could be as hard or as mild as you like, it’s up to you. Even though there are tough climbs and technical descents, nothing is unrideable and only improves your skills. With fellow riders and crew cheering you on along the route, one cannot help but push yourself - all with a smile because of the stunning views and awesome trails. The vibe is amazing.
“Winning Young Guns gave us a major confidence boost in both our skills and capabilities.
Having such an amazing first experience, we had high expectations leading into this year’s sani2c and again the team exceeded them all. They are called “iconic" trails for a reason and we will be back to shred again and again. sani2c doesn’t just allow young riders to participate, but encourages them and gives them their own limelight to shine in.
Kristen Louw, 21 years old and also from Potchefstroom, was Danielle’s riding partner and comments: “For me sani2c is my favourite race of the year. Everything about sani2c is special. The route down to the coast is breathtaking. The support from the organisers, community people, spectators and riders along the route till the end is awesome and you can truly see the passion and love for the sport through them. Whenever someone asks me why I love cycling, I just tell them ‘Go ride sani2c and you will understand why.’
“Winning the Young Guns category motivated me to want to compete in more long-distance races. Having a category for your age motivates you to go and ride this big race, as you know you will have a ‘fair’ chance in racing.”
Erick Heyns is 19 and lives in Johannesburg. He and teammate Freddie Humphries won the men’s Young Guns category and he had this to say about his sani2c experience: “The routes are amazing and they really go out of their way to make it rideable for any skill level rider. The chill zones were a highlight for me, a wide variety of snacks and lots of chocolate milk! Overall a great race.
“Winning the Young Guns category meant a lot because it was my biggest payday to date and cycling being an expensive sport, it helped with entry fees for the rest of the year. And I’ll claim the fame of being the first guys winning the Young Guns category at sani2c.
“sani2c was for me personally a great introduction to stage racing, it being not too technical but technical enough to make it a lot of fun. I would recommend it to any ‘young gun’ not sure of entering.”
Seasoned dormakaba rider Sam Sanders, multiple sani2c womens’ winner, says: “I think the stage race culture in SA is alive and well. Having said that, there does seem to be a dearth of young riders (particularly young women) coming through the ranks as a whole. Creating a race category for the younger athletes and incentivising it is progressive for the sport in general and it will give these younger riders the opportunity to gain exposure for themselves and their sponsors in their own right. I believe that is a step in the right direction for our sport.”
The KAP sani2c is 16 years old and has established itself as a bucket list three days of riding from Underberg to Scottburgh in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Three versions of the event, the Trail, Adventure and Race, take place between 12 and 16 May 2020. Enter at www.sani2c.co.za.