Mix Dirty Kanza’s grungy gravel, Paris Roubaix’s cobbblestones and Mont Ventoux’s relentless climbing all together, throw in an awe inspiring setting and you end up with the legendary Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo in Prince Albert, South Africa.
The route covers 171km through Prince Albert Valley, including 80km of gravel roads and 3000m climbing. The final climb on epic Swartberg Pass is 28km, the last 10km gravel with some 16% grades. It’s a course that hearkens back to the early gran tour days when mountain passes were gravel and gutsy cyclists climbed them on single speed bikes.
This year in a large field of 275 riders, Erik Kleynhans won the 2019 Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo last weekend, finishing in a record breaking time of 5:47:37. Christie Hearder (6:48:01) won the women’s race.
If you’re looking to set an epic goal for 2020, put the Swartberg 100 at the top of your list – gravel is the new black.