The Berg will be alive with the sounds of cyclists this weekend (1 and 2 December) as the two cycle events at the Drakensberg Extravaganza take centre stage on the opening weekend of the 10-day multicultural festival in the Bergville region.
The cycling action starts on Saturday morning with the Drakensberg Extravaganza Mountain Bike race giving participants a taste of some of the spectacular trails which criss-cross the Champagne Valley. Then the road riders have a chance to take in some incredible scenery in the foothills of the Berg as they complete a circular route starting and finishing in Bergville on Sunday.
The 10-day festival of cultural and sporting events takes place in the Bergville and Champagne Valley region of KwaZulu-Natal and offers visitors a wide choice of activities ranging from sporting events – such as
the off-road and on-road cycling, trail running, a marathon and golf – to cultural entertainment which includes an indaba, a business fair, poetry readings, music and fashion shows.
The Extravaganza began on Thursday and runs over two weekends with trail running, mountain biking and road cycling being the highlight of the opening weekend. The mountain biking event will be held in conjunction with a trail runs on Saturday and will start and finish at the magnificent Champagne Sports Resort complex. Gavin Ryan, the popular KZN trail builder who has been one of the driving forces behind the Howick trail network, has designed the off-road events for both cyclists and runners. The trail run offers runners a choice of 5km and 10km distances, while the mountain bikers can choose from 5km, 10km and 20km routes.
Sunday’s Drakensberg Extravaganza Road Race offers participants a choice of a short 15km fun ride, an intermediate 40km or
an 84km test. The start and finish of all events is in Bergville with the 84km riders completing a loop around the picturesque Woodstock Dam before heading back to Bergville and finishing with a fast final 25km on the R74. KZN Cycling’s Kelvin du Sart said last week, he expected the event to provide some exciting racing and he anticipated the event growing into a must-do event. Online pre-entries have closed, but late entries will be taken at all events on the day. The mountain bike and trail running events start from 8.30am on Saturday and the road races get underway from 6.30am. There is full road closure for the road events.