The Race Across South Africa takes place in June/July each year. It is a 2300 km, non-stop, self-navigated mountain bike race starting in Pietermaritzburg KZN and ending in Wellington near Cape Town. Riders are allowed a maximum of 26 days to complete the ride..
It is a non-stop event, so riders are not required to stop every day/night as in other stage races. This is a solo event and all riders are required to be self-sufficient and carry all their own personal belongings with them. Riders can choose to be batched with a race buddy, but it is important for each individual rider to be equipped and capable of completing the event on their own. Further support along the way is provided by:
24 support stations which also serve as compulsory check points. These support stations occur every 80-100km along the route and provide food and accommodation to all riders during the race. Riders are required to sign in and out of each designated support station. It is however within an individual participant’s discretion to decide whether they wish to utilise the accommodation provided at each support station.
- Riders may send a pre-packed 2 litre container of their own to each support station, to be collected during the race. These typically contain the maps for the next section, bike spares, snacks etc which will be needed along the way.
- 9 emergency stops where food and emergency accommodation can be arranged for riders – this is done by the race office.
- The route traverses six terrestrial biomes and the geography ranges from coastal to mountainous to semi-desert. Anticipated temperatures during June/July can range from 32 degrees Celcius down to minus 15 degrees Celcius
- The total cumulative ascent is over 37000 metres with the highest point along the route being 2700 metres above sea level.
Please note: no individual seconding is permitted during the event – this means that no friends, family or other supporters may meet you along the route and offer assistance during the ride.
The route follows the Freedom Trail along a wide variety of off-road terrain – dirt roads, farm roads and tracks, footpaths and animal tracks. Many of the trails retrace old historic wagon routes which are no longer in regular use. Apart from the riding, there are numerous portage sections where riders will have to hike, push and even carry their bikes.