NO SOONER do the hundreds of riders taking part in the annual Pennypinchers Grahamstown to Sea (G2C) mountain bike race catch a whiff of the sea air near Port Alfred, after cycling almost 58km, than they make a sharp left turn onto a farm road and head for the finish.
And they will be doing it again at the fourth G2C race from Grahamstown to Port Alfred on July 10, the final day of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Last year’s G2C attracted a field of 415 mountain bikers.
However, before the riders arrive at the finish at Rosehill Mall west of Port Alfred, they will have covered almost 60km of undulating gravel roads, single track – and even some tar.
Organised by the Albany Saints & Sinners Multi-Sport Club, and sponsored by Pennypinchers (Grahamstown and Port Alfred), the G2C starts at the Pennypinchers warehouse in the industrial area to the west of Grahamstown at 8.30am on July 10. While the route sees riders descending from 643m above sea level outside Grahamstown to just 69m at Rosehill Mall, it’s certainly not downhill and plain sailing all the way.
There are some mean hills along the route, plus several fast downhill sections. For example, the first 8km section outside Grahamstown will see riders negotiating tar, gravel roads and tricky single track, most of it downhill.
Once they reach the coast, finishers will be met by a carnival atmosphere in the Rosehill Mall parking area, what with plenty of flags and balloons waving about in the coastal breeze, plus loud music, professional race commentary, stalls, camera-clicking media and prize-giving.
Mountain-bike riders – and their families – will be coming from all over the Eastern Cape for the annual event, including Port Elizabeth and East London. While they wait for the prize-giving and its rich rewards, the families will no doubt be wandering around the mall spending money at the various stores.
The cut-off at the finish is 1pm, giving riders four hours 30 minutes in which to complete the course. Registration at the Pennypinchers warehouse in Grahamstown ’s industrial area is from 2pm to 5pm on the eve of the race, and from 6.30am to 7.30am on the morning of the race. The entry fee is R190 (late fee R250) and entries are being accepted online at www.grahamstown2sea.co.za where further race info is also available.