The race leaves the race village, on the banks of the Suikerbos River. The race will start with a neutral zone until the riders cross the river after two kilometers, and shortly thereafter turn right onto the first gravel sector. Here, the flag will drop and the race will begin.
It follows the undulating road through the hilly river valley and crosses into Mpumulanga, shortly afterwards it takes a right turn onto some farm jeep track and starts to ascend. This isolated pass winds its way over steep rocky terrain through an exquisite game farm. The likelihood is that riders will portage CX-Style up the loose rocky ascent. Once the grassy plateau is reached, the riders start their descent down a bumpy jeep track.
A few challenging kilometers follow with some short rocky ascents, sand and punchy sections, before the riders go through a tunnel underneath the highway. A short tar sector follows for some 5km, after which the race turns West and follows some single track through the maize fields. The fast-flowing single track gives way to rural school roads as we hit the second tar sector.
The next right turn will take riders on a smooth, wide gravel highway. This forms the first segment for the points classification, an intermediate sprint sector of about 7km. Shortly thereafter, riders will begin climbing a steady 4km climb that may prove instrumental in the final result. This will be the second segment in the points race.
A gnarly descent and a short loop ensues taking the riders to the half way checkpoint. Here, riders will be able to take on some food and water. This will be the only point where riders are allowed to collect spares or have any external help in terms of support crew (for any mechanicals etc). This will be a great section of the route as riders will pass each other in both directions.
After a long descent, the riders cross the Suikerbos River once more, before turning left onto the third tar sector. A fast, flat gravel sector follows before turning North and once again following tar for a few kilometers. The riders turn East once more and follow a series of sharp, stoney rollers for just over 5km. With punctures a strong possibility here, this could well spell the end for some riders. This punchy, rocky segment is aptly named, Rocky Raccoon.
A quick zig zag sends riders over an old highway overpass and down towards the Valpré Water factory. This will be the last chance for a bidon to be topped up. As the road crosses the busy R23, the hundred-mark is reached. Ten of the most technical kilometers remain. The route follows some fast flowing farm jeep track before utilizing the railway service roads. These small technical trails could be where the race is won... or lost.
The finish line will quickly approach as the riders embrace a smooth, wide and slightly downhill road towards the race village.
Approximately 110km later with over 1100m of vertical gain, SxSE 2019 will come to a close. We can’t wait!