Gravel cycling may have started in the United States, but South Africa is staking their claim as a hot bed of epic events that roll and roll and roll over stunning tough-as-nails terrain.
With a small population, 450,000km of gravel roads and rugged mountainous, the country offers a perfect setting for memorable and challenging gravel events including Swartberg 100, Race to the Sea, The Karoo Burn Race, Karoo GravelGrinder Adventures and the mammoth 260km Cullinan 2 Tonteldoos Ultra Gravel Race (aka C2T).
C2T took place 16-17 April with a start in Cullinan, northwest of Pretoria and finished at Tonteldoos, a small settlement in the Mpumalanga Highlands near Dullstroom, using mostly non-technical gravel roads. The event starts in the late afternoon, which means that riders must ride through the night under magical stars, only to see the sun rising over the finish line hours later.
This year ex-professional road racer and South African National Champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg won the 260km race in 9:31:51 with an eighteen minute lead over Mark Elliott. Hj Cronje was third in 9:58:35 followed quickly by the Women’s category champion Yolande De Villiers, who at 48 years-old finished in 10:00:00.
PHOTOS © C2T
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