TREAD MTB Magazine is a premium quality mountain bike magazine that caters for anyone that enjoys riding a mountain bike, but with particular emphasis on the increasingly large segment of intermediate and experienced mountain bikers. Topics include objective, authoritative gear reviews and bike tests; trends; advice on buying and maintenance; indepth trail review within the mountain bike market.
If there’s one thing certain in life it’s that the MTB world continues to push boundaries. Mountain bike racing develops year on year with courses becoming more demanding and bikes becoming more capable. Whether riders need the lightest set up, the most control over their bikes or the most versatile drivetrain for any situation, new XTR has taken that development challenge further than ever with a host of component developments to give MTB racers the speed, focus and control for victory.
XC, Marathon and Enduro racers demand a fine balance of speed, focus and control so each has been analysed and optimized in the development of SHIMANO’s XTR M9100 Series.
New XTR features a groundbreaking 12-speed cassette with either a 10-45T or 10-51Trange, 2- or 4-piston brakes, and a new hub featuring SHIMANO’s new MICRO SPLINE technology. As well as that comes a new design of brake and lever mounts allowing riders to position their controls, including an XTR dropper post lever, in the optimum position for comfort and rapid action. Altogether the new developments save over 150g in weight for XC rider or over 90g for Enduro riders and promise a more intuitive shifting set up for enhanced focus on the trail.
Bas Van Dooren, Shimano Europe Product team leader:“Speed, focus and control were the words we lived by during the development phase. We’ve designed new XTR to enhance acceleration and speed by drastically cutting the loss of driving force with a re-designed drivetrain. We allow for precision focus with an intuitive handlebar set up and pin-point control comes with new brake solutions. New XTR is not an update of M9000, it’s a re-design from the ground up to find the best components for MTB racing for XC, Marathon and Enduro racing.”
SPEED OF A NEW GENERATION
Cassette: Developments in the drivetrain started from the position of minimizing gear change steps to give riders the optimum rhythm and cadence between each gear and ultimately the most overall speed. The result of this was the 51T sprocket, which comes after equal gear steps of 6T in the last three sprockets (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-33-39-45-51T) for an even cadence. XTR also introduces a 10-45T 12-speed cassette (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-40-45T) for faster or less steep MTB courses and less cadence shock. The 10-45T(CS-M9100-12) is for XC riders wanting small gear steps and the lightest set up, the 10-51T(CS-M9100-12) is for the trail rider to climb every mountain they face.
Both cassettes use strikingly different metals for different sprockets to allow the best balance of weight and durability. The largest sprockets use aluminium, the middle use titanium and the smallest use steel.
A third cassette option (CS-M9110-11) comes with new XTR for riders specifically looking to create a stiffer and lighter wheel set. Essentially this option is based on the 10-51T cassette with the 51T sprocket removed to create an 11-speed cassette with 12-speed gear spacing. The benefit of this option is that it gives riders the chance to create a lighter bike and stiffer wheels which can be used with the same chain and shifter that the 12-speed set-up uses.
Hub tech: To fit the 12-speed set up SHIMANOrestructured the FREEHUBdesign with what’s known as MICRO SPLINE technology to fit the cassette. As well as that comes the introduction of SCYLENCE technology in Shimano’s rear hub. This new technology replaces the pawls with a ratchet system to reduce drag whilst coasting and create a virtually silent hub so you can focus more on the trail ahead. Front hubs are available in 100 or 110mm spacing with a 15mm thru-axle and rear hubs come in 142 or 148mm (Boost specification) with a 12mm thru-axle (HB-M9110/-B / FH-M9110/-B).
Crankset: Alongside a dedicated 12-speed chain (CN-M9100) with a 12-speed QUICK LINK comes a 12-speed crankset (FC-M9100/M9120-1) with that famous hollow crank arm.XC 1×12-speedriders are well catered for with a wide range of direct mount chainrings saving up to 80g in weight and available from 30T-38T. Enduro riders running 1×12-speedcan add the XTR chain device (SM-CD800 E mount, D mount or ISCG05 type) to aid chain retention and they have the option of the FC-M9120 crankset with a wider Q-factor to fit particular frame dimensions.
Riders who want the biggest gear range and control in all types of terrain have the option of a 2×12-speedcrankset (FC-M9100/M9120-B2) in 38-28T that can be paired with the 10-45T cassette for the maximum gear range and close gear steps for long races with lots of climbing.
Derailleurs: Three rear derailleurs are available at XTR level (the RD-M9100-SGS/GS long cage or short cage style or the RD-M9120-SGS double chainring long cage style), all with a sleek, aggressive and angular anodized aluminium design. To aid shifting performance the pulley wheels go from 11T at XTR M9000 to a larger 13T size to increase chain retention and together with the rear derailleur’s SHIMANO SHADOWRD+ design, helps minimize chain bounce.
Meanwhile the front derailleur is also available in three different styles depending on your frame. The D-type, E-type and M-type mounts all feature SIDESWINGtechnology for effortlessly smooth front shifting.
SHIFT OF FOCUS
Shifters:The theory behind the shifter design was to allow riders to instantly adapt to rapidly changing conditions with improved cockpit integration for shave crucial tenths of seconds from each operation. That has been achieved through the creation of an I-SPEC EV design, which is the system by which handlebar controls can be mounted together. The new I-SPEC-EV designs give 14mm of lateral sliding range and 60 degrees of rotational positioning so riders can find their most ergonomic hand position on the shifters and levers and have clutter-free handlebars.
As well as that, Shimano now introduces a dedicated dropper seat post lever (SL-MT800-IL) with an I-SPEC-EV mount that’s compatible with all common adjustable seat post types in the market including the PRO Koryak Dropper post.
In addition, the shifters now have a lighter operation force allowing riders to make intuitive, seamless and minimum fingertip movements, bringing a substantial decrease in shifting force and operation compared to XTR M9000.
Features like RAPIDFIRE Plus, 2-WAY RELEASE and MULTI-RELEASE carry over from the previous generation. New for the M9100 shifters though is an 11-to-12-speed converter (SL-M9100-R/-IR) on the rear shifter for riders choosing the ‘11-speed’ wider flange hub set-up. For 2×12 riders the front left hand shifter (SL-M9100-IL / SL-M9100-L) features an innovative new Mono Lever design with a simplified and intuitive operation, using just the one lever to shift up or shift down.
REMAIN IN CONTROL
Brakes: Building on what are already the standard to which all other brakes aspire to be,the design of XTR M9100 brake lever (BL-M9100/M9120) has changed with a repositioned clamp band and lever body. The clamp moves towards the middle of the lever body and the edge of the lever body is cleverly braced against the handlebar to create a stiffer brake with more direct contact feeling and improvement in control.
The 2-piston (BR-M9100) option comes with a lighter weight XC brake lever with the option to adjust the reach of the lever arm. The 4-piston brakeset (BR-M9120) also features a dedicated brake lever but with a tool-free reach adjust function, free stroke adjust function and Shimano’s Servo Wave technology to give rapid pad-to-rotor action. Both calipers are made from aluminum, use a high rigidity brake hose and provide faster brake engagement with a shorter free stroke.
Pads and rotors: To match the redesigned caliper shape the brake pad shape also changes. Riders choosing the 4-piston caliper need the radiator finned pads (N03/4A resin/metal), whilst the 2-piston calipers fit the pads without fins (K02/4S resin/metal, with optional K02/4Ti Titanium backing plates). The rotor design meanwhile uses a revamped ICE-TECHNOLOGIES FREEZA construction to either reduce weight or boost heat dissipation. The 140 and 160mm rotors shed 5 and 10g respectively, whilst the 180 and 203mm rotors were 20°c cooler during testing with the 203mm rotor also saving 30g (vs RT99) in weight.
SECOND TO NONE
All together new XTR M9100 answers the questions the world’s best mountain bike racers are asking. How can I combine light weight riding efficiency with the widest range of gears, maximum braking power, personalized set up, excellent component durability and supreme drivetrain efficiency? XTR M9100: second to none.
Team Spur’s Alan Hatherly lined up on Saturday afternoon in his first UCI U23 XCO World Cup of the season in Albstadt. The German course is widely regarded as the toughest race on the World Cup circuit with two major climbs and precipitous descents. In the dry, Albstadt is fast and brutal with steep gradients and rocky drops. However, in the wet, it becomes a battle to stay upright and maintain traction. This year drenching rain in the days leading up to the U23 showdown and intermittent showers on race day made for a treacherous test of skill on two wheels.
A dream start saw Alan lead the field in the opening lap, but a dropped chain forced him back to 15th and required a monumental fight to secure 10th position after five slippery laps.
Ahead of the race the African and South African Champion was buzzing to get back on a World Cup start line. A successful block of racing in April saw him claim bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and retain his African Championship title in Egypt. This would be the first chance in 2018 to prove himself against the world’s finest U23 racers.
Race week was dominated by talks of the weather forecast and discussions about tactics and equipment. Team Spur arrived to constant rain on Tuesday and saw the course deteriorate in front of their eyes.
“Starting in the third row we knew I would have to dig deep on the start loop,” Alan said after the race. “If you’re not up front going up the first switchback climb you’ll get caught in so much lap traffic.”
Alan made his way to the front of the bunch and set the pace, working to get the bunch down to a manageable size. With three other riders in tow, things were looking good for Alan. The rain then started and thunder was roaring above, turning an already slick course onto a mud bath.
With the build-up of mud and grass on the drive train, riders were battling to keep the bikes moving at pace. “I was leading the guys up the climb and as I looked down I saw my chain pop off my chainring,” Alan said. “I got [the chain] back on fairly quickly but then had the wrong teeth lined up on the chain so I had to stop and put it on again.”
The mechanical dropped Alan to around 15th place as the leaders continued their assault up front. The chase was now on to claw back positions. Alan put in a solid effort as he worked his way back to claim 10th in what he described as one of the “craziest races” of his career.
“Despite the unfortunate mechanical I am happy with the race, the numbers are good. I’m not as used to the mud as some of the Europeans,” said Alan.
Team Spur now travel to the Czech Republic for the third round of the UCI World Cup series in Nové Město na Moravě [Nove Mesto for short!]. Alan is looking forward to an opportunity to show what he’s really capable of in what is expected to be drier conditions.
Unfortunately, U23 racing is not broadcast live on RedBullTV, as with the Elite categories. However, Team Spur is trackside bringing you the race action this Saturday at 16:00 on twitter, so give them a follow: @Team_Spur.
On Friday 11 May, Arthur Duncan, aged 83, from Howick, completed the 260 km Adventure in the three day KAP sani2c mountain bike stage race. Arthur took up cycling seriously at the age of 65, and has completed KAP sani2c race five times previously, but not since 2010.
“My son-in-law invited me to ride with him. I had never thought of doing another sani2c because of my age, but when the opportunity came, I thought I am going to take on this challenge, because I do keep myself fit throughout the year. It was a challenge, but I got through it with Stuart who pushed me and motivated me, and it’s been wonderful.”
Arthur Duncan (83) and his son-in-law Stuart Watson finished the KAP sani2c Adventure mountain bike stage race from Himeville to Scottburgh over three days. Seen handing the two their special tropies is race founder Glen Haw. Photo credit: Maryann Shaw
The KAP sani2c mountain bike stage race started on Tuesday 8thof May when the Trail version departed from Glencairn farm in Himeville in the southern Drakensberg. The Adventure started on Wednesday with Duncan in the saddle, and on Thursday the Race event started, which attracts the top elite mountain bikers in the country.
All riders travel south on the same path through the beautiful southern Drakensberg, down into the Umkomaas Valley, through Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve and to the coast at Scottburgh. With over 4200 riders taking part, it is the largest mountain bike stage race in the country.
Duncan decided at the age of 65 that he was going to cycle from the sea to the highest peak in Southern Africa, Thabana Ntlenyana in Lesotho.The three-day ride had him hooked, and he has becomea multiple national champion in both road cycling and time trial in his age category. He has represented South Africa in road cycling and went to the UCI Road World Championships last year.
Arthur Duncan, aged 83, from Howick, today completed the 260 km Adventure version of the three day KAP sani2c mountain bike stage race at Scottburgh. In the background is his son-in-law and race partner, Stuart Watson
Not satisfied with being an accomplished cyclist in his retirement, Arthur took on the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon when he was 72, and at the age of 77 he did a second Dusi as the oldest competitor that year.
The Race component of KAP sani2c finished yesterday in Scottburgh, with Nico Bell and Matt Beers taking top honours in the men’s race, and Amy Mc Dougal and Samantha Sanders winning the women’s race. Yolandi du Toit and Ben Melt Swanepoel were first amongst the mixed teams.
Scottburgh – A majestic trio of stage wins for Team NAD 1’s Matt Beers and Nico Bell as well as dormakaba’s Sam Sanders and Amy McDougall, saw the two teams take home the men’s and women’s KAP sani2c titles respectively in Scottburgh on Saturday.
Heading into Saturday’s final 82 fast kilometres to the coast, the men’s contest had the potential to be a cracker with the chasing Team DSV pair of Arno du Toit and Gert Heyns needing to make up the four minutes that separated them from Team NAD.
Team NAD 1’s Nico Bell (left) and Matt Beers (right) celebrate winning the men’s title after the final stage of the 2018 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday. Photo credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
The stage was neck and neck with three teams vying for a prestigious final stage title until Beers and Bell stretched the elastic band and snapped off the chasing DSV boys as well as the PYGA/Euro Steel pair of Matthys Beukes and Julian Jessop – who were expected to fight it out for second.
As the Team NAD men cruised across the finish line for a perfect score over the three days, PYGA/Euro Steel took advantage of an ailing Heyns which gave them slight consolation as they came across the line in second but still settled for third overall.
“Today we weren’t really expecting to win the stage and expected the other guys to do the racing but we ended up setting the pace through most of the day,” Bell mentioned.
“Towards the end we saw the guys bleeding a little bit and Matt whacked it on one of the big open roads and the other guys were struggling so we got ahead.
“From there we just kept a good, solid speed to the finish and managed to win the stage and the overall title.”
Having won in 2013, Bell was back for a spot on the top step of the podium. For Beers, a first win at the prestigious event bettered his second in 2017. The youngster was full of praise for his team mate after their win.
“After my second last year I really wanted a win here,” a relieved Beers said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and it all went so smoothly for us.
“The bikes were great, we didn’t have any mechanical issues and it’s a great feeling to be a sani2c winner!”
Despite a tough day in the saddle on Saturday, Team DSV did enough to prevent too much damage to their overall time as PYGA/Euro Steel put the hurt in on the final stage.
“We knew that the PYGA guys would also want the stage win today but the NAD guys were just too strong.
Despite a second place on the stage, PYGA/Euro Steel’s Matthys beaukes (front) and Julian Jessop (second) finished third overall after the final stage of the 2018 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media
“We managed to actually hang on to the NAD guys for longer and then I blew completely, but luckily we didn’t lose too much time in the end,” Heyns commented.
It was a strong three days from Heyns and Du Toit who might have come into the race with less hype surrounding them, however they put in three solid shifts that took them to a strong second place finish.
“We really enjoyed the last three days and it’s such a pleasure to be able to race on this route against such a strong bunch of riders,” Du Toit added.
“Getting on the podium with Gert is great! We have been racing against each other since we were sprogs so to do it with him is the cherry on the top!”
As mountain biking has proven in the past, the race for the podium spots was still on the line on the final stage. A flowing, confident performance was what PYGA/Euro Steel needed and they did all they could on the final stage, but it wasn’t enough to cancel the four minutes that separated them and DSV.
“We didn’t really expect too much with Julian focusing on his exams at the moment,” Matthys Beukes said.
“I think he did quite well considering the circumstances and the fact he hasn’t been riding as much.
“To get a second place on the stage close to Julian’s home town is great and it means a lot to him.”
As the dormakaba pair of Samantha Sanders and Amy McDougall got further on in the race, they got stronger and pushed incredibly hard for a top ten spot. Their third stage was another blitz but they had to settle for 13th overall on general classification but they did go home with a first sani2c title.
The dormakaba team of Amy McDougall (left) and Samantha Sanders (right) come over the line as they win the women’s title after the final stage of the 2018 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
With an advantage of over 52 minutes over the Team Bell pair of Hayley Smith and Andrea de Boer going into Saturday, dormakaba were racing themselves through the final 82km.
“Our sponsor Shaun (Frayne) put the challenge to us when we realised that competition might not be as strong this year,” Sanders said. “He likes to challenge us and we took him up on it and we might not have achieved that but we rode really well.”
For McDougall, getting that first win at the sani2c is a feat that she has been hoping to achieve for a while.
“We are really happy with the result and it’s great that I could get a win for dormakaba especially after I have just signed with the team.
“It’s a great feeling and I am really stoked!” McDougall added.
Team Bell were beaten to second in the final stage on Saturday but they managed to finish second overall in the ladies race ahead of Team Bestmed’s Danielle Strydom and Kristen Louw who were just under five minutes behind.
Beautiful flowing trail greeted riders on the final stage of the 2018 KAP sani2c from Jolivet to Scottburgh on Saturday. Photo Credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
Line honours in the mixed category went the way of Cycle Nation – Bring it On’s Joanna van de Winkel and Marcel Rodrigues, but Team Garmin’s Yolandi du Toit and Ben Melt Swanepoel’s advantage was substantial enough to give them the overall title.
Unfortunately for the K&M team of Carel le Roux and Christie Hearder, the latter didn’t take part in the final stage which meant that Crypto 100’s Neville and Lizle Rosenstein took home the bronze in the mixed category.
The Absa Cape Epic is a race, not a ride. It’s eight days of pressure, not pleasure. It’s not a point-to-point event, but it is a journey – of discovery. Every single participant at the 2018 Cape Epic, whether he/she finished or not, discovered something new about himself/herself and has a compelling story to tell. Each of 1344 riders from 52 countries that started the event, whether they finished it or not, left the race a little tougher and a lot wiser.
The average age is very similar to 2017 with the men static at 42 and women moving from 37 to 38.
Months of preparation
A total of 68% said they followed a prescribed training plan for the 2017 Cape Epic. Although the biggest percentage (32%) say they began serious preparation in September 2017 (six months out), 46% fitted in their preparation in less than six months. A total of 22% said their training build-up period was longer than six months.
All three training aids, Heart Rate Monitor, Power Meter and GPS, all peaked at their highest usage in the 2018 Cape Epic rider survey. Since it’s the oldest of the three, heart rate monitors have always played an integral part of training performance measurement for Cape Epic riders, but this year the 90% usage stat shows that the monitoring of the ticker is more popular than ever. Yes, all of the above can be measured on one device, and that’s become the norm for most brands like Garmin, Polar, Suunto and Wahoo. And that’s possibly why power meters have peaked as well as GPS…
Sprint finish between Silverback-KMC, Mariske Strauss and Annie Last, and Team Spur, Ariane Lüthi and Githa Michiels during Stage 2 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. The women’s race has become more competitive since the organisers introduced a separate women’s start for the UCI race teams. Photo by Andrew McFadden/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
Gone are the days when you’d have different devices on your handlebars and/or wrist. Every committed Cape Epic participant clearly sees technology-measured performance as his/her companion. As power measurement becomes more cost effective and bicycle riders more enlightened to the benefits of power measurement, expect Power Meter usage to continue to grow.
Start and finish stats of complete teams
% teams DNF
After two years of some of the biggest DNF percentages, the 2018 Cape Epic had one of its lowest DNF rates. At 16.1%, it was equal second lowest DNF rate, along with 2009, and well below the 20.9% average. While there is never really an easy Cape Epic, the 2018 edition will go down in history as race that was remembered for, well, nothing exceptional really. Although there were a couple of hot days, the weather wasn’t extreme, the stage distances weren’t excessive (the longest was 122km); and the time trial on Day 6 was a short stage that gave most a little recovery after five 100km-plus days in succession. With much of the route now using existing mountain bike trails networks, the majority of the terrain is also becoming less unpredictable and more mountain-bike friendly.
Robert Sim and Udo Boelts celebrate winning the Grand Masters catagary during the final stage (stage 7) of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Sim was the only South African to win a major category title in 2018. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
With 672 teams, the 2018 edition had the highest numbers of starting teams in the race’s history. And the 564 finishing teams is the biggest number of finishers too.
Note: these stats exclude the first two editions (2004 and 2005) as we have no data on those events.
All categories start and finish stats 2018
% of Teams that DNF
Number of Solo Finishers
Total Finishers: Teams + Solo
Total % Finishers: Teams + Solo
All Teams Start
All Teams Finish
Men Teams Start
Men Teams Finish
Women Teams Start
Women Teams Finish
Masters Teams Start
Masters Teams Finish
Grand Masters Teams Start
Grand Masters Teams Finish
Mixed Teams Start
Mixed Teams Finish
% of Teams that DNF 2017 vs 2018
% of total finishers – Teams & Solo 2017 vs 2018
What’s very evident here is that the 2018 Absa Cape Epic claimed far fewer teams than the 2018 edition did. As pointed out earlier, the 2017 edition was one of the highest DNF rates, while the 2018 edition was one of the lowest.
The only category that showed a higher DNF rate over last year was the Women’s division with a total of 40 finishers from 48 starters.
Kaysee Armstrong, Team Liv Cycling during the Prologue of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. The women’s category was the only category that saw an increase in DNF percentage in 2018. Photo by Andrew McFadden/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
General statistics after 2018
Most stage wins
38 Christoph Sauser (SUI)
20 Burry Stander (RSA)
17 Karl Platt (GER)
13 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE)
12 Bart Brentjens (NED)
6 Mannie Heymans (NAM)
6 Nino Schurter (SUI)
5 Henrique Avencini (BRA)
5 Manuel Fumic (GER)
24 Annika Langvad (DEN)
17 Hanlie Booyens (RSA), Ariane Lüthi (SUI)
14 Sharon Laws (GBR)
12 Esther Suss (SUI)
9 Hannele Steyn (RSA)
8 Anke Moore (RSA), Yolande de Villiers (RSA) and Sally Bigham (GBR)
7 Sabine Spitz (GER)
7 Kate Courtney (USA)
Annika Langvad & Kate Courtney during stage 3 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Courtney became the first American woman to win the event, while Langvad became the first woman to win four Cape Epic titles and also holds the women’s record for stage wins (24). Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
18 Nico Pfitzenmaier (RSA)
15 Ariane Lüthi (SUI), Erik Kleinhans (RSA)
10 Barti Bucher (SUI), Paul Cordes (RSA), Yolande Speedy (RSA)
8 Thomas Frischknecht (SUI), Jenny Rissveds (SWE)
26 Bart Brentjens (NED)
25 Abraao Azevedo (BRA)
18 Shan Wilson (RSA)
17 Andrew McLean (RSA)
14 Linus van Onselen (RSA)
13 Doug Brown (RSA)
12 Nico Pfitzenmaier (RSA)
11 Carsten Bresser (GER) and Udo Boelts (GER)
10 Robert Sim (RSA)
32 Heinz Zoerweg (AUT)
27 Barti Bucher (SUI)
13 Robert Sim (RSA)
13 Udo Boelts (GER)
8 Andrew McLean (RSA)
Africans (and South Africans) in the Cape Epic overall top 10 since 2006:
2018 – 0
2017 – 3 (3 SA)
2016 – 3 (3 SA)
2015 – 8 (8 SA)
2014 – 5 (5 SA)
2013 – 4 (4 SA)
2012 – 8 (8 SA)
2011 – 3 (1 SA)
2010 – 5 (5 SA)
2009 – 5 (3 SA)
2008 – 6 (5 SA)
2007 – 4 (3 SA)
2006 – 10 (6 SA)
South African Cape Epic overall stage winners – men:
20 Burry Stander
4 Kevin Evans
3 Shan Wilson
3 David George
3 Philip Buys
2 Matthys Beukes
2 Brandon Stewart
1 Jacques Rossouw
1 Gert Heyns
1 Ben-Melt Swanepoel
1 Richard Beswick
Multiple overall winners:
5 Christoph Sauser (SUI) 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
5 Karl Platt (GER) 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016
3 Stefan Sahm (GER) 2007, 2009, 2010
3 Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 2013, 2015, 2018
2 Burry Stander (RSA) 2011, 2012
2 Roel Paulissen (BEL) 2005, 2008
4 Annika Langvad (DEN) 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
3 Ariane Kleinhans (SUI) 2014, 2015, 2016
2 Hanlie Booyens (RSA) 2004, 2009
2 Sharon Laws (GBR) 2004, 2009
2 Sally Bigham (GBR) 2011, 2012
2 Esther Süss (SUI) 2012, 2017
Spaniard, Miguel Muñoz Moreno of Buff Scott 2 crosses a river during stage 2 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Riders from 52 nations competed in the 2018 edition of the event. Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
South Africans that have won Cape Epic titles:
Men:Burry Stander x 2
Women:Hanlie Booyens x2,Zoe Frost, Hannele Steyn, Anke Moore, Yolande de Villiers, Karien van Jaarsveld, Yolande Speedy
Mixed:Yolande Speedy/Paul Cordes x2, Erik Kleinhans x 2, Nic White/Anke Moore
Masters:Doug Brown x 3, Andrew McLean x 2, Frank Soll, Duncan English, Fred Coleske, Linus v Onselen, Geddan Ruddock, Shan Wilson, Damian Booth
Grand Masters: Robert Sim x 2, Andrew Mclean
Hannele Steyn, one of the Last lions, and Jeannie Dreyer of team Nolands Spar Ladies during stage 6 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Steyn is the only female that has ridden all 15 editions of the event. Photo by Mark Sampson/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
The Last Lions
Only four riders have completed every edition of the Cape Epic (15 in total). They are Hannele Steyn (52), Mike Nixon (59), John Gale (49) and Craic Beech (45) – all South Africans.
Himeville – The months of preparation are a thing of the past as the first of three events, the Trail, that make up the KAP sani2c, the world’s largest stage mountain bike race, gets underway at Glencairn Farm on Tuesday before the Adventure starts Wednesday and the Race on Thursday.
The event is split into three different rides that follow the same 260km route from the Southern Drakensberg to the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
It takes riders through some of the most beautiful scenery that KwaZulu-Natal has to offer with the farming belt forming part of the day one attractions, while the Queen Stage, day two, takes riders down into the breath-taking Umkomaas Valley to the overnight stop at Jolivet Farm in Highflats.
Riders gathered for their pre-race briefing before the Trail gets underway on Tuesday at Glencairn Farm in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer/ Gameplan Media
The final day to the coast incorporates the coastal bush of the Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve as well as the sugar cane farm roads of the South Coast region to the finish at Scottburgh Primary School via Scottburgh Main Beach.
Throughout the thirteen years that the KAP sani2c has taken place the event has continued to grow and reinvent itself to stay relevant to the large mountain biking community that South Africa has developed in the last decade.
While maintaining its core principles of being more than a ride, the sani2c has made a concerted effort to offer the riders as much in the way of comforts as possible and that is a reason for the event having grown into the biggest stage race in the world.
Not only is the environment and trails so appealing to riders, both experienced and new, but the race villages provide a comfortable area to relax and discuss the trials and tribulations of the day that has just passed.
The Iconic Climb, introduced last year, is the toughest climb of the race and takes riders out of the Umkomaas Valley and will be back to test riders once again in 2018 with the one tweak that will give weaker riders a lifeline.
This year there will be two routes up Iconic. One will be the much tougher, steeper route and then there will be a more gradual incline option.
The beautiful Glencairn Farm in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg provides the perfect backdrop as riders register and hear the pre-race briefing ahead of the first day of the Trail on Tuesday. Photo credit: Kevin Sawyer/ Gameplan Media
The new trail will be known as the Hlegabafase Trail and the thinking is that the less taxing route shouldn’t take you any longer to complete so riders have to make an important decision when they reach the start of the incline midway through the second stage.
2018’s Trail kicks off the sani2c action on Tuesday with the Adventure following on Wednesday. These two events take on a less serious tone than the Race which sees the country’s elite mountain bikers go head to head for the title of sani2c champions.
Importantly for riders in the Trail, they are aware that there are no prizes for the winners. The first event is often an introduction to the sani2c with many novices taking part in the most relaxed of the three events.
The Adventure then ramps up the competitiveness a notch with action on the front end of this version becoming quite fierce as riders look to stake a claim to the top step of the podium.
Tough, antagonistic racing during the stages is often overshadowed by the camaraderie and friendships that are established or reignited over a drink at the two overnight stops.
Rob Hobson and Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) have won the fourth annual Gravel & Grape weekend of MTB in the Breedekloof Wine Valley. The event took place from 4-6 May. The rising stars pipped Jurgens Uys and Nicol Carstens (Giant RSA) to the overall post by almost 10 minutes after three days of tough riding.
Hobson and Rebello only came together a week before the event after losing their regular riding partners to injury.
As predicted, the main contenders for the Gravel & Grape Extreme – Hobson and Rebello (Team Imbuko Momsen) and Nicol Carstens and Jurgens Uys (Team Giant RSA) – provided the fireworks for the weekend.
Rebello has been in sparkling form this year, riding an impressive 2018 Cape Epic to finish 18th overall in a world class field and winning the solo category of the Knysna Bull event.
“It’s always nice to win,” said Rebello. “I enjoyed the Epic – it was just very tough – and felt like I rode really well, so coming into the Gravel & Grape I was quite confident in my ability.”
Rebello and Hobson revelled in the technical terrain that the event has become known for. “The Gravel & Grape takes you over quite a few trails you do in the Epic, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But I really enjoyed the ride. Its technical, but fun. The entire race was a really great experience,” said Rebello.
Hobson agreed that the riding was tough but enjoyable.
“I rode this event last year, so it was nice to have the route experience. I remember it being very tough in 2017. Having some knowledge of the trails definitely made it more fun this year. I think the organisers did a great job with the trails, and really improved on some sections from last year too,” said Hobson.
A long year of racing lies ahead for the pair, but first they have to conquer another challenge – their exams. Later this week, they’ll both be returning to university.
“I actually brought my books this weekend to study in the evening,” said Rebello.
In the ladies 3-day Gravel & Grape Extreme race, Katie Lennard and Ila Stow were victorious, while in the 2-day Gravel & Grape Extreme Johann Trotzky and Rossouw Bekker (ASG Factory Racing) claimed the title.
In the Gravel & Grape Adventure 2-day, WG van der Walt and Heine Beukes (Mohein) took the honours.
While the racing at the sharp end was fast and furious, the bulk of the field enjoyed a challenging ride over technical terrain.
Rocks, river crossings and testing switchbacks meant that the field had to stay wide awake over the three days. Also in attendance was Jan Braai, who enjoyed the demanding trails.
“We rode through here in the Epic, but I can say this was much more fun! The guys put on a great event, and the hospitality was brilliant – especially the braai on day 2.”
The Gravel & Grape Mountain Bike Events are the ideal windows into the world of the Breedekloof Wine Valley. Stunning views, bountiful wine farms, green valleys and abundant nature were the rewards for riding.
The Gravel & Grape route was crafted to reflect the rugged nature of the valley, but also to show its gentler side. Stunning views, unique scenery, and three days of pure mountain biking left riders tired, but appreciative of the area.
“We believe we’ve put together an incredible route for the Gravel & Grape this year,” says Melody Botha, CEO of Breedekloof Wine and Tourism. “Riders were tested, but they also enjoyed all the highlights of our valley, including the local support and hospitality. As a community and an event, we are always pleased to host visitors, and I’m sure more will start to come and experience what we’ve always known to be a special place.”
Gravel & Grape Extreme MTB overall results
1 Robert Hobson and Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) – 7:26:28
2 Jurgens Uys and Nicol Carstens (Giants RSA) – 7:35:08
3 Aaron Borrill and Gys Malan (LungBusters) – 8:22: 59
1 Katie Lennard and Ila Stow (Nine.Nine) – 8:42:06
2 Marleen Lourens and Lehane Oosthuizen (Breedenet 1) – 9:42:48
3 Helene Rabie and Jeannie de Villiers (Citricom Girls) – 10:24:58
The third and final part of the South African MTB Crash Survey, presented by Gert Nel Attorneys, focuses primarily on mountain bikers’ worst crashes, reveals which bones are most at risk of breaking in a mountain bike crash (this surprised us!) and shares some shocking details of the extent of injuries that have been sustained in a mountain bike fall.
A total of 1680 participated in the TREAD 2017/2018 SA MTB Crash Survey, presented by Gert Nel Inc. Attorneys. If you’re familiar with open/public South African sports surveys, you’ll appreciate that it’s a very good response. What is the sample size in relation to the size of the market? That’s hard to tell because nobody really knows how many mountain bikers there are in South Africa. Estimates range from 500 000-800 000.
We ran the survey via our TREAD Survey Monkey account and promoted it via a link on our website and our social media channels for four weeks. Because the survey was so extensive, we have broken it down into three separate reveals.
Here are the results and analysis from the third and final reveal:
When was your worst mountain bike crash?
The greatest number here (64%) is ‘more than a year ago’.
What was the reason for your worst crash?
Rider error (myself) is by far (81%) the biggest reason for the cause of our respondents’ worst mountain bike crash. This highlights just how high-risk mountain biking can be. But it also confirms the importance of mountain bikers becoming responsible for their own safety and minimising the risk of crashing. At 8%, ‘Another rider’ is the second highest cause of our respondents’ worst mountain bike crash. Often these crashes are unavoidable, but being aware of the presence of other riders (and scanning them for signs of inexperience), understanding the terrain or conditions and being aware of what physics are at play and can be used in your favour, can all minimise this risk, or at least the risk of becoming seriously injured.
How serious was your worst crash?
Not too serious
I went down hard
Unlike ‘how serious was your most recent crash?’, which we published in Part 1, we expected the percentage to be high for ‘I went down hard’. After all, this is related to ‘your most serious crash’. Unfortunately, most mountain bikers that have had a serious crash will have a rather painful tale to tell, which will likely involve broken bones and/or some blood, as can be seen by the responses to our next few questions…
Have you ever broken any bones?
That’s a high percentage of bone breaks.
Which bones have you broken?
We expected collarbone to be the most broken bone among our respondents, but no, collarbone was a rather distant runner-up to ribs! But upper limb (arm region) is by far the highest risk region for mountain bike crash injuries. Respondents could choose more than one option.
Lower arm: 4.44%
Upper arm: 2.02%
It’s human nature to stretch out an arm to cushion a fall. This becomes instinctive from when we first learn to walk. However, while it may be an effective way of reducing the impact of a fall while walking, or running, an outstretched arm is hardly going to cushion your fall off your bike. In fact, we’d say most upper limb injuries are caused because of an outstretched arm – or arms.
Have you ever required stitches?
A third of those that have crashed have required stitches to close a wound. Just shows what a high risk there is of cuts/lacerations in a crash. In our collective experience among our TREAD crew, knees and elbows/lower arms are the most common places where stitches are required in mountain bike falls.
Have you ever injured anything else?
We neglected to include skull in our bone-break options and didn’t include it in this list either. But a number of those that commented, mentioned that they’d sustained a skull/facial bone injury. Next time we’ll be sure to include this in the options, but found that teeth/jaw was rather higher than we’d expected. Ouch!
Have you ever required surgery under general anaesthetic?
Yes, three times
Yes, more than three times
We reckon orthopaedic surgeons in particular and anaesthetists in general must love mountain biking. Not necessarily doing it (although we know a few that do), but the kind of steady flow of work it brings them…
What is the longest time you have been off work?
Up to 3 days
Up to 5 days
Up to 10 days
Up to 14 days
Up to 21 days
Up to a month
Longer than 3 months
40 people were off work for longer than three months due to their worst mountain bike crash. The cost of that to yourself and/or your employer, not to mention your medical aid fund (assuming you have one) is significant! Another 112 were off for between 1 and 3 months. That’s some serious crashing that leads to that kind of time off…
Have you ever done a skills clinic?
Yes, more than one
No, but I probably should
So 63.14% haven’t done a skills clinic in a sport/activity that involves speed, stability (physics) and unpredictable terrain and gradients. Why? They’re happy to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of Rand on a bike, gear, entry fees and event travel, but don’t see the huge benefit of investing a few hundred bucks in know how to ride with more confidence. This remains a mystery… It’s good to see that almost half of those that haven’t done a skills clinic think they probably should.
We didn’t ask whether those that have done a skills clinic did it before or after their most serious crash. Remember, even if you have done a skills clinic, there’s still a chance you can crash, but the risk becomes much lower.
Since your worst crash, have you become a more cautious/slower rider?
Hard to tell really
This confirms the confidence loss that comes from a hard fall. It’s quite normal, but that confidence gradually grows if you can overcome certain issues, part of which are skill based (how would you avoid that crash next time?) and part of of which are mental (nobody wants to revisit the same pain and suffering twice).
Choose the one that’s most appropriate to you: The risk of crashing…
Adds to the thrill!
Is something at the back of my mind
Is always a concern
Makes me so nervous
Interesting breakdown of answers here. With improved skills/confidence, more would undoubtedly choose ‘adds to the thrill’…
If you had an extra R2000, which of the following would would you spend it on?
Skills clinics to improve my confidence
Skills clinics to help me go faster!
Components to make my bike lighter
An eating plan to help me lose some weight
A training plan devised by a performance coach
Have you ever had to miss an important event/trip due to a mountain bike crash?
Oh yes! Grrrr…
No, luckily not
More than one fifth of our respondents had to change their plans due to injuries sustained in a mountain bike crash. Some events are kind and will allow you to carry your entry over to the following year if you’ve had a serious plan-changing accident/incident. Some events aren’t too sympathetic and you lose your spot and entry fee…
Comments: We had a comments section for those that wanted to add more detail to their broken bone selection. Here are just some of the many we received. Confirmation that mountain biking is a very high risk sport/activity…
“Tore both hamstrings (2nd-degree tears) as well as tore my adductors. Then promptly fell in the shower and dislocated my shoulder badly!”
“Of course it was on tar just behind my house! Fixed my brakes the night before we had a break-in and I went chasing burglars. Brakes worked VERY well, preventing me from sprinting into an intersection with a car in it… and no, the bike was not okay.”
“Sustained severe concussion when I broke my hand and ribs which was worrying due to the fact that I am a brain surgery survivor with Chiari malformation. Shouldn’t be riding mountain bikes, but life is short!”
“Broke ankle walking over a log with my mountain bike.”
“Shattered radial head, got a replacement radial head (a nice titanium one… not sure if it is XT?)”
“Didn’t break bones, but had a branch go into my leg, which took almost two years to heal properly.”
“Had to have both total hip and knee replacements!”
“Every bone in ankle broken + tibia and fibula + dislocation. Surgery required and now an Eiffel Tower of metal in my ankle.”
“The collarbone shattered and a little fragment got stuck in my artery. Great paramedic saved my life by not fiddling.”
“Three major crashes – one on the road on a mountain bike, when a car pulled in front of me. Torn cartilage in hip – operation required. Two mountain bike crashes in races going downhill on both occasions, one my fault – fractured vertebrae and ribs; other downhill on inside line other cyclist did not brake and we touched handle bars and both went down – both shoulders fractured and broken ribs.”
“Six breaks in one tumble.”
“Both collarbones 10 years apart and a shoulder blade five years ago.”
“Complications from collarbone break caused disection of my vertebral artery which lead to a stroke later.”
“No bones broken, but ripped a hamstring off the bone…”
“Smashed my wrist to mush! Three operations, almost lost my thumb, six months off the bike, over R200 000 in costs, complete loss of cycling confidence and ongoing pain all because my boyfriend (still…miraculously) rode into the rider in front of him on a straight farm road and fell, landing on top of..
Himeville – When the huge field of eager mountain bikers sets off for the start of the three–day KAP sani2c Adventure on Wednesday 9 May, the outing will be an important sentimental milestone for the Turton family of Underberg farmers.
Passionate supporters of the event, Tex Turton and his wife Anita will both be starting their tenth edition of the iconic race to the South Coast, and they will be sharing the occasion with their extended family.
Turton will be partnering son-in-law Tim Krause while Anita will be teaming up with Capetonian Alexa Cole, who has become a long-standing extension of their family since her early canoeing days, while Craig Turton will be riding in a mixed team with his wife Kate.
“It is absolutely fantastic to be able to do a race like the KAP sani2c with your family, it is so special. We can’t wait,” said Tex Turton. “My daughter Robin has an excuse this year as she has just had a baby but I know she will be with us every pedal stroke of the way.”
“Looking back on the last nine rides, everyone has been special for one reason or another,” says Turton.
The Turtons, Tex (right) and his wife Anita will be taking on their tenth KAP sani2c this year and their Underberg-based family have built a strong bond with the Himeville-based three day mountain bike race to the KZN South Coast. Photo credit: Dave Macleod/ Gameplan Media
“I think last year’s final day to Scottburgh was the hardest I have ever done. In the mud and rain there was no chance to rest or freewheel because you had to pedal hard the whole way.”
He fondly looks back on his first sani2c as a mountain biking novice. “We had started riding six months before that first sani2c after having seconded our kids at their races. Our first ride was a five kilometres Kiddies Fun Ride and we nearly died!,” he recalls.
“On our first sani2c I think we walked up every hill, but in true Turton fashion we finished.
Turton usually partners local friend Neil Lamble for the three day classic to the sea, a rider who attracts plenty of attention for his dogged insistence on riding every year in the same pair of fraying rugby shorts that he had done multiple editions of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Dusi Canoe Marathon and Midmar Mile, while Anita Turton usually rides with Dr Rob Drummond.
He is a perfect gentleman that carries everything in his back pack,” says Turton. “I am convinced he could do open heart surgery on the side of the track he has so much in that bag!”
“Both partners can’t accompany us this year so the family have stepped in to support the ballies on their 10th sani2c,” said Turton.
He explained that the only way he was able to get his family involved in the race, which has a sold-out entry for the three races (the Trail, Adventure and the Race) every year was to split his initial entry, and then split it again.
“Now we all ride together, which is fantastic, but it does come with some pressure for us old ballies,” said Turton. “We call it a ride but the youngsters, and my son Craig in particular, really race it and put us under a lot of pressure.
“So we have a deal with Craig,” he went on to explain. “When we get to the steep climbs, he rides in front and Anita and I each hang onto one of his pockets.
While each of the family members has work commitments to keep up with, Turton said they were all training hard, and would get together on the weekends and public holiday to ride together.
Riders who complete ten editions of the sani2c are inducted into a unique club called the Green Mambas and enjoy special privileges in subsequent years of the race.
Himeville – When the 1500 riders set off for the start of the Adventure edition of the annual three day KAP sani2c mountain bike classic from Himeville to Scottburgh, the field will include a team of well-known rugby personalities, ranging from World Cup winners to bulky forwards with MTB track records that their mates are all too aware of.
“We absolutely love Farmer Glen’s event, and it is a top priority for the SA Rugby Legends every year,” said team captain Stefan Terblanche, who will lead a team with their sponsors that will include Joel Stransky, Warren Brosnihan, Trevor Halstead, Matt Pennefather, John Slade, Henry Coxwell and Shaun Payne.
Former Springbok and Sharks star Stefan Terblanche pictured with ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw at the end of the 2016 edition of the KAP sani2c. Photo credit: Howard Cleland/ Gameplan Media
Terblanche said that the abilities of the riders varied but they all thoroughly enjoy the three stage race and the hospitality of the region they ride through. He added that they were expecting a good result in the Adventure from their top riders Stransky and Payne.
“After his third with Andrew Maclean in the Absa Cape Epic we know Joel (Stransky) is in good shape,” said Terblanche. “Two years ago he got a second in the Adventure so we hope he can ride onto the podium again with his partner.”
Terblanche said that the team strategy was to allow the riders to each take on the race at their own pace.
“On the final day to Scottburgh we might decide to ride together as a bunch, which is great fun, but the guys that are racing hard we allow to go at their own pace,” he explained.
He added that avid cyclist John “Slugger” Slade was making a comeback to riding and was excited to be taking on another KAP sani2c. He did bring with him a reputation for the unexpected.
Former Sharks star John ‘Slugger’ Slade will return to the KAP sani2c for the first time since 2016 and will make up part of the SA Rugby Legends that take part every year. Photo credit: Howard Cleland/ Gameplan Media
“You can always hear Slugger before you see him,” said Terblanche. “It is never, ever boring when he is around.
“Two years ago when he last rode he took out two guys on an open stretch of district road, one of them was Brent Russell, who wasn’t amused!
“He landed up crashing a couple of times on that final stage, bent his derailleur so badly that he was stuck in one gear for the last bit of the race into Scottburgh,” recalls Terblanche.
“We have our own version of that Think Bike sticker that says ‘Stay Wider of the Rider – 1,5 metres’. For us it is stay wide of Slugger – 1,5 kilometres!”
The SARLA ex-players race every year with a group of businessmen from DSV who have a long association with SARLA.
Gearing up for the start of last year’s KAP sani2c at Glencairn Farm are DSV Staffers and SA Rugby Legends ex-players (back from left) Neil Cole, Louis le Roux, Matt Pennefather, Stefan Terblanche, Shaun Payne, Cobus Swanepoel, Wade Bartlett and Ryan Britz. Front (from left) Mark Isserow, Gordon Wyatt, Paul Muller. Photo credit: Dave Macleod/ Gameplan Media
“Right from the days that they were UTi they have helped us unbelievably. They transport rugby kit for us around the country and support our Vuka Rugby programme.
“They courier gear that is donated to us from overseas, so it is a pleasure to share the race with them,” he said.