Probably the best ‘real’ mountain bike of all the local stage races (Photo: The U)
- This Piketberg race is a real driving aptitude test
- It also gives participants access to some of the most exclusive trails in the country.
- You have three accommodation options, from utility tent to glamping
Do you know the U? No, this is not a new music group. Or a social media app.
The U is one of South Africa’s most exclusive mountain biking events. Using the famous Piket-Bo-Berg trail system, The U offers an abundance of singletracks for the purist mountain biker.
Unlike many other events, the U route features a majority of singletracks – both uphill and downhill.
The U is ideal for cyclists who appreciate technical trails and inspiring views in pristine surroundings.
The ride is tight and technical, which should appeal to committed mountain bikers (Photo: The U)
Harder and more rewarding – than the numbers suggest
The race begins with a seeding prologue, covering 15 km and 200 m of vertical drop. Although the stages of the event do not have long distances, the driving is very technical, with a high percentage of uphill and positive elevation.
The riders will climb 55 km on the first stage, going up 1,400 m, with the second and final stage covering 57 km and 1100 km of vertical drop.
With its hilly nature and technical singletrack, this is a South African stage race where a dropper seat post is definitely recommended.
The organizers have capped registrations at just 200 runners for this fifth edition of The U, which is scheduled for the last weekend of September.
The U routes through some of South Africa’s most inspiring mountain biking terrains (Photo: The U)
Standard and luxury accommodation
The U is an all-inclusive event, which includes all meals, drinks, and snacks for the weekend. A standard team entry, with tent accommodation for two people, is R17000. Solo riders pay R9500.
Upgrade to the deluxe entry option, with a larger standing tent for four people and some handy amenities, for R23000 (or R15500 as a solo rider).
If you like total privacy, with dedicated parking and ablutions, the luxury accommodation option has a glamping tent setup at R25,000.
Stage races have become an unpredictable investment during the pandemic. The organizers are aware of this and if The U is canceled, runners are guaranteed a full refund of their entry fees.