Route Manager Andrew Finn said that there is an exciting new route for the longer road race, which is now a 104 km ride. Says Finn: “The route will take riders on a thrilling, scenic adventure through one of the most picturesque sections of the Garden Route, revealing stunning views of ocean and beach, mountains and pristine forest along the way.
“Leaving and returning to Knysna along the N2, cyclists will experience the Knysna Lagoon then, after the first big climb up Kytersnek they will turn off to Buffalo Bay with all its beautiful views of the sea en route to what is arguably the best beach and surfing spot in the Knysna area. Then, after another stretch along the N2, there will be some great climbs through natural forests and farmlands on the way up to Barrington.
“The most interesting addition to this race is a brief 2,1 km gravel pass along the Seven Passes Road between Barrington and Karatara. From Karatara, it’s fast downhill all the way back to the N2.”
The tour’s MTB routes have been designed and are being maintained by a group of keen local cyclists led by Stuart Lightley, Greg Penrith and David Correia who volunteer their time and promote the beautiful tracks available in Knysna’s backyard at every opportunity.
Lightley explains: “I was asked to contribute to a route redesign for the 30 and 50 km MTB routes and to incorporate more single track, making the routes more fun and technically challenging. The idea with both the mountain and road events is to show off some of the areas where the Knysna locals ride.
“I’ve been riding mountain bikes and exploring the Knysna forests for almost 30 years and know the forest quite well. I enjoy the more technical type of riding, and actively help and encourage others to improve their technical skills. With this in mind, I have built tens of kilometres of single track, mostly in the Concordia Contours Trails area, to the north of Knysna, near Simola. We have selected a number of these trails for the mountain bike events.”
Says Finn: “The end result is that this year, for the first time, our 50 km and 30 km MTB events will take participants along routes created by locals. After the climb up the Simola hill both routes will use single track sections designed and built by these local track designers and builders which will add a new dimension to both events.
“Our official route managers, Corne Botha and Pat October from Jakhals Events in Oudtshoorn will oversee safety, the marshals, and all signage on these routes amongst other things.”
The MTB races have all had exciting single track added to the first sections of the route, including a lap of the stunning Oakhill School purpose-designed track, the Life of Brian single track link to Narnia Village, the Knysna Montessori single track to the drop-off onto the Salt River farm track, and the iconic SANParks single-track Petrus Se Brand through to Harkerville.
Once back at the finish on the Knysna High School sports field there’ll be plenty of entertainment for the whole family and time for cyclists to relax with food from local food stalls, listen to some music and enjoy a beer or two.
Online entries for the Knysna Cycle Tour races close on 14 June. For more information and to enter go to the website: www.knysnacycle.co.za.