The first SunRise Road NPC MTB took place on 5 November 2016.
The base of the ride was the spectacular setting of Klipkop Farm, The owner Piet Janse van Rensburg hosted the event for SunRise Road NPC free of charge. Situated in the Pretoria East countryside near Bronkhorstspruit, the farm is proudly home to wildlife such as Giraffe, Zebra’s and Kudus just to name a few. The gateway at the road entrance led onto the driveway and first sight of the farm surrounded by acres of land. There was plenty of parking right at the entrance with marshals and car guards directing operations.
Registration was under a gazebo, right on the driveway and the process seemed organized, with maybe the need of one more person, handling the same day registration. The registration form was emailed out with the pre-ride briefing pack so it could be filled out in advance if desired. Even without that innovation the simplification of the procedure meant that there were very short queues. A map of the trail had been provided on the MTB’s website. The handlebar number and cable ties was handed out with the goody bags at registration or check in. At the registration tables, there was a whole tray of different fruits and participants could just help themselves.
There was something for everyone, our oldest participants Bernard Helberg and Nap Ries – 73 years old, and the youngest Joshua Booyens- 4 years old, with three different distances to choose from: 30, 15, and 5 kilometers. Riders could register or check in from 6am. The first riders were off from 8am and everyone had to be on the road by 8:30am. Event entry prices were R200 for the 30km, R150.00 for the 15km and R50.00 for the 5km.
There were 5 portable toilets for the event close to the beer tent not far from the registration and at the water point. Briefing at the start was short but comprehensive, the microphone arrived a little bit late, but that did not seem to have caused any problems, so no one was kept hanging around. There wasn't any electronic timing but you had to sign in at the finish. Route marking was mostly sufficient although we had two complaints by participants that they could not see the markings.
The 15km course was combined into the 30km route, this seemed to confuse some participants and some took the wrong markings. The route was well thought out, at the starting time the weather was over casted and cool but soon the sun came blazing down and the trail just got that little bit harder. The ride was exclusively on two track paths and some on goat tracks threw Klipkop farm with just a short portion going through a neighboring farm. There were participants that rode for time and those that took time to take in and enjoy the scenery.
There were several challenging climbs and then also some easy flat road. Depending on which distance you entered. The ride went through some picturesque game farm and pass a dam. With three water points for the 30km and two for the 15km, volunteers made sure all participant were well hydrated. These water points provided participants with water sponsored by Just water, bananas and energy bars.
All the finishers had their photograph taken, and photos are available on request. At the end it was time to reap the reward and at 10am the prize giving took place. Prizes were sponsored by, Meerendal Winery, Fit Pit, The Pilates lounge, Wapadrant Spar and private individuals. There were time for a nice cold draught beer or other bottled beer as well as lovely boerewors rolls even coffee for that caffeine boost and to top it all Roxphere provided us with music. This first ride had attracted about 110 entrants. Next year SunRise Road NPC are aiming for at least 300. They deserve to achieve it, not just because they are driving charitable projects in the East of Pretoria but because this is a great sportive, with friendly and enthusiastic organizers and a well thought out and signed route.
Thank you from the SunRise Road NPC Board of Directors for everybody’s involvement, whether it was carrying tables, sending out emails, sponsoring prizes, volunteering on the event date or participating, without you it would have not been possible to have such a good event.