With an affordable price tag and array of options to suit all levels of mountain-bikers and trail runners, “The Rock” Mountain Bike and Trail Run Festival represents a new chapter for endurance events.
Paarl’s biggest mountain-bike and trail run bash, presented by Paarlberg BMW, was staged very successfully for the first time last year and attracted more than 1000 participants.
This year the festival comes to Spice Route Destination and Rhebokskloof Estate from 27-29 September and again presents stacks of entertainment and fun activities to cater for all levels of mountain-bikers and trail runners as well as their families.
The off-road festival presents a 3-day mountain-bike stage race and a 2-day trail-run as well as seven other individual fun rides and runs for mountain-bikers and trail runners.
The 3-day mountain-bike stage race carries a price tag of just R1350 and entry fee for the 2-day trail-run is an affordable R900. “We simply have no reason to charge more,” said Race Director Darren Herbst.
“Last year’s participants will agree that the event offering didn’t lack in any department as a result of the affordable price tag. With the economy taking its toll, we need to get bums back on seats and tackies on the trails. We have a long-term vision to build this event into a something substantial.
“Instead of offering sponsors just a few hundred participants, which a lot of mountain-bike stage races now do, we would like to attract sponsorship by keeping entry fees affordable and rather accommodating a larger participant base.”
Herbst believes in creating the opportunity for as many cyclists and runners to get in on the act over a single weekend. “We want the entire family to have an option to take part over the weekend – from serious stage racers to the Average Joe who wants to ride or run a 10km or a 5km.
“It’s no secret that many races are buckling under pressure from the economy, but with The Rock we have introduced an all-encompassing, affordable formula which has set the event on a sustainable path.”
The Rock received almost unprecedented positive feedback from participants last year. “This was the best event of the year for me,” said Johan de Villiers, who took part in the 3-stage mountain-bike race.
“It was well organised and 95% of the route was on proper single track with well stocked water and food tables. A massive plus point is that the finish line on all three days is at places like Rhebokskloof and Spice Route.
“It instantly creates a great atmosphere with restaurants, beers, enough seating and shade to chill the whole day. I can think of big events that have been going for 20 years, but still lack in this department.
“It’s also perfect timing to get the stage race legs going a month prior to Wines2Whales,” said De Villiers.
Herbst says he has a few delightful surprises up his sleeve for the 2019 edition of The Rock. “We are continually developing new trails on and around the Paarl Mountain and ‘The Rock’ is a major benefactor of all the trail building.
“We aren’t going to change the basic framework of any of the routes, but there will certainly be even more single track and a lot of it will be nicely matured by the time race weekend arrives.”
Herbst firmly believes that the Paarl Mountain will become one of the most popular cycling and trail running destinations in South Africa. “I have been working with the Drakenstein Municipality for two years now to realise their vision of Paarl becoming a preferred endurance sport destination.
“It’s taken a lot of planning and there is still two more years of execution to come, so watch this space,” he smiled.
ABOUT THE ROCK 3-DAY MTB RACE
- Sept: Day 1 Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation
- Sept: Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 43km – 950m elevation
- Sept: Day 3 Spice route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation
Riders can enter any one of the days individually.
ABOUT THE ROCK 2-DAY TRAIL RUN
28 Sept: Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 21km – 568 elevation
29 Sept: Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 18.5km – 720m elevation
Runners can enter any one of the days individually.
The MTB and Trail Run multi-day stage races are limited to 500 riders/runners on a first come first served basis – riders can enter solo or as two-rider teams while runners enter solo.
Saturday 28 September 2019 is the big hosting day at Spice Route Destination. The destination artisan village hosts the finish of “The Rock” stage races with live bands and lots of entertainment while the following fun rider events will also start and finish at Spice Route as part of the Trail Fest:
08h45:25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
09h15:10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
10h30: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route
The Rock moves to Rhebokskloof Estate on Sunday 29 September with the following fun run events starting and finishing at Rhebokskloof:
07h15:10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
07h30:5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
09h00:2km Kiddies Obstacle Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
For more information and to enter go to www.therockrace.co.za.
07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 1: Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation
07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 48km – 1000m elevation
07h10: Trail Run Stage Race Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route 21km – 568m elevation
08h45: 25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
09h15: 10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
10h30: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route
07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 3 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation
07h10: Trail Run Stage Race Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof 18.5km – 720m elevation
07h15: 10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
07h30: 5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
09h00: 2km Kiddies Obstacle Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
Picture caption: Breath-taking views and perfectly sculpted trails are part and parcel of The Rock Mountain Bike and Trail Run Festival. \
Picture supplied by: Rhebokskloof Wine Estate
To view the 2018 Race Highlights video, go to https://vimeo.com/294167493