Strap: Paarl launches its biggest mountain-bike and trail run festival

The Rock Mountain Bike Stage Race and Trail Fest, which takes place in Paarl over the weekend of 28-30 September this year, cuts out all the useless frills which have led to mountain-bike and trail run events becoming unaffordable.

“But we know what makes you tick,” says race director Darren Herbst. “In abundance will be super trails, brilliant racing conditions, well stocked waterpoints, a well marshalled, safe environment, and affordable eats and drinks at vibey and cool venues.”

According to Herbst, since the main stream popularity of mountain-biking started 18 years ago, many mountain-bikers have taken part in most of the major stage races and single day events more than once. “They just don’t want to fork out thousands of Rands for the same experience anymore.

“The Rock is organised and presented with all participants as the main focal point of the events and ticks all the boxes which are vitally important for runners and mountain-bikers, but it cuts out the rest to ensure affordability.

“No frills, no fuss… just great trails, tough racing, wonderful camaraderie, and great hospitality – all without the hefty price tag,” assures Herbst.

The entry fee for the 3-stage race is R1200 per rider and entry fees for the various single day Trail Fest offerings are kept affordable (see below) to enable as many riders and runners as possible to enjoy the weekend in the City of Drakenstein.

Drakenstein Municipality has launched a concerted drive to establish Paarl as preferred adventure sport destination on South Africa and The Rock represents a cornerstone event in their efforts.

The entry fees are geared towards lowering the financial entry barrier for mountain-bikers and trail runners in a tough economic climate, which has seen most races decline in participant totals over the past two years.

In keeping with the vision for The Rock, riders and runners won’t receive useless race pack items, which inevitably only add to the entry fee and don’t present much else value in today’s tough economic climate.

“Participant satisfaction, well-being and enjoyment of the races are our primary and utmost goals and we work tirelessly to deliver legendary and unforgettable mountain bike and trail run experiences,” says Herbst.

Off the bike a world filled with great food, entertainment and activities await the entire family at Paarl’s biggest trail bash.

“The towns of Paarl and Malmesbury are brimming with tradition and history, and the riding and trail running terrain between them and scenery certainly have no equal in SA,” says Herbst.

The Rock takes place in beautiful surroundings and at an applicable time of the year with very little chance of rain and mild temperatures while the trails will be in sublime shape following the winter rains.


The event is one month prior to FNB Wines2Wales which presents riders with the perfect training weekend.

The festival caters for the entire spectrum of trail runners and mountain-bikers with a brand-new signature 3-stage route for the mountain-bike race as well as nine other daily offerings at the beautiful Spice Route and Rhebokskloof Estates.

The racing is hosted in vibey upbeat race villages, boasting lots of entertainment, live bands, stacks of fun activities and a range of artisan culinary delights.

Besides offering an affordable price tag for all the events, The Rock differentiates itself because it’s in the unique position that Hero Adventure manages the venues and trails on which they are launching this all-encompassing mountain-biking and trail running festival.

Rhebokskloof and Spice Route are among the top wine destinations and tourist attractions in South Africa. The venues are popular with the public and include award winning restaurants, neat toilets, ample parking, and large event areas – perfectly suited to the hosting of mass participation events.

“The trails and facilities at the venues allow us to host The Rock in a secure environment, managed by ourselves,” says Herbst.



FRIDAY: Malmesbury

07h00: MTB Stage Race Day 1: Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation

07h15: 54km MTB single day (R300)



07h00: Stage Race Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 48km – 1000m elevation

07h15: 48km MTB single day (R300)

07h30: 21km Trail Run at Spice Route (R250)

08h00: 25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route (R140)

08h30: 10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route (R80)

10h00: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route (FREE!)

12h00: MTB XCO at Spice Route (R180)



07h00: Stage Race Day 3 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation

07h15: 48km MTB single day (R300)

07h15: 10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof (R140)

07h30: 5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof (R80)

09h00: 2km Kiddies Obstacle Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof (FREE!)

13h00: MTB Gravity Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof (R80)



  • Day 1 Malmesbury – Rhebokskloof: 54km – 1300m elevation
  • Day 2 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 48km – 1000m elevation
  • Day 3 Spice route – Rhebokskloof: 48km – 1300m elevation


To view the official The Rock promotional video, go to:

For more information go to or email