The organisers of The Rock Mountain-bike and Trail Run Festival in Paarl have announced a format change to the weekend. The 3-stage MTB tour has been reshaped into a 2-day event, which will take place on 28-29 September 2019 with Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and Spice Route Destination as host venues of the 2 stages on the Paarl Mountain.
According to race director Darren Herbst the 3-stage doesn’t have enough entries to justify its presentation.
“We are really passionate about this event and committed to making it a huge success but also sustainable. Many riders have given us feedback that doing all three days is just too difficult logistically and this has been confirmed by the low entries for the 3-day.
“The uptake on the final two stages between Rhebokskloof and the Paarl Mountain have been very good, so the 2-stage format has proven to be as popular as last year.”
Effectively the second day of the original 3-day race now becomes stage 1 (from Rhebokskloof-Spice Route over 55km) and the former stage 3 is now stage 2 (from Spice Route to Rhebokskloof over 43km).
“We’re hosting The Rock without a headline sponsor, so we can’t afford to host offerings that don’t have a sufficient uptake,” explained Herbst.
Paarl’s biggest mountain-bike and trail run bash was staged successfully for the first time last year and attracted more than 1000 participants, but the 3-stage race didn’t form a significant part of this uptake.
The off-road festival will now present a 2-day mountain-bike stage race and a 2-day trail-run stage race as well as seven other individual fun rides and runs for mountain-bikers and trail runners at Spice Route and Rhebokskloof.
The 2-day mountain-bike stage as well as the 2-day trail-run carry a price tag of R900 (all-inclusive for both days)
The various 1-day events on offer are also affordable with entries starting from R100.
“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.
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.
The Rock attracted incredible feedback from participants last year. “This was the best event of the year for me,” said Johan de Villiers, who took part in the mountain-bike stage 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 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 two days on the Paarl Mountain, 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 2-DAY MTB RACE
Riders can also enter any one of the days individually if they don’t wish to do both days.
ABOUT THE ROCK 2-DAY TRAIL RUN
28 Sept: Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 21.8km – 568 elevation
29 Sept: Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 19.8km – 720m elevation
Runners can also enter any one of the days individually if they don’t wish to do both days .
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.
07h30: MTB Stage Race Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route: 55km – 1000m elevation
08h00: Trail Run Stage Race Day 1 Rhebokskloof – Spice Route 21.8km – 568m elevation
09h45: 5km kiddies MTB – start and finish at Spice Route
10h30: 25km MTB Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
10h45: 10km MTB Family Traverse – start and finish at Spice Route
07h30: MTB Stage Race Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof: 42km – 1200m elevation
08h00: Trail Run Stage Race Day 2 Spice Route – Rhebokskloof 19.5km – 720m elevation
09h45: 2.5km Kiddies Trail Run/walk – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
10h30: 10km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
10h45: 5km Trail Run – start and finish at Rhebokskloof
Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Paarl
Friday 27 September 2019, from 14:00 – 19:00
Saturday 28 September from 09:00
Stage riders/runners can register at the start at Rhebokskloof from 06:30
Sunday 29 September from 09:00
Stage riders/runners can register at the start at Spice Route from 06:30
To view the 2018 Race Highlights video, go to https://vimeo.com/294167493
RELEASED BY DE VILLIERS CYCLING EVENTS, ON BEHALF OF THE ROCK MOUNTAIN BIKE AND TRAIL RUN FESTIVAL.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES EMAIL DEVILLIERSCYCLING@MWEB.CO.ZA OR PHONE 0832697659