The world’s first 7-day gravel adventure, the Rainmaker RollerCoaster, will kick off in the Western Cape, South Africa this Saturday.
The challenging 550km route has been designed by leading events company HotChillee and will start with a 16km time trial amongst Antelope and Mountain Zebra in the stunning Bontebok National Park in Swellendam.
The 7-day course will then take riders along gravel roads and trails from the foothills of the Langeberg mountain into the semi desert of the Little Karoo and the ostrich capital of the world, through the lush Garden Route and the Knysna forest and finish at the breathtaking coast of Plettenberg Bay.
Participants are to expect some serious climbing, taking in nearly 10,000m including the gravel version of Alp du Huez, the Garcia Pass, and the 7 Passes of the iconic forests of the Garden Route.
With advice to riders including that they look out for the African elephant in the Knysna Forest, and not to let “the leopard footprints in the tracks let you lose focus” on day 3 the event promises to be a real adventure.
Riders can race the route in teams of two or can ride in small groups supported by the HotChillee Ride Captains. The inaugural edition will be raced by MTB legend, Christoph Sauser and his partner Craig Boyes. The Swiss national is the world’s best-known marathon MTBer, having been a former World Champion, won five ABSA Cape Epics, and 14 UCI World Cup wins. He will be fundraising for songo.info, a sport and academic support programme focused on creating a long-term positive impact on the children in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.
Christoph Sauser, Songo.info Founder:
“I am looking forward to exploring some of the best gravel tracks and trails that the Western Cape has to offer on my gravel bike. Please join me in raising funds to support songo.info– to donate please go to https://www.songo.info/getting-involved/donations/?id=29). Everyone who donates tosongo.info between the 3rd-12th October will go into a lucky draw for a special prize.”
(draw to take place on the 15th October. Winner will be notified by email)
Sven Thiele, HotChillee Founder:
“The route between Swellendam and Plettenberg Bay will stand out as the most scenic and toughest gravel adventure race in the world. The region has so much to offer to the riders who will be visiting from all over the world.”
Sunday 7 October: Stage 2 – Swellendam – Swellendam (57km/1150m)
Monday 8 October: Stage 3 – Swellendam – Riversdale (107km/2000m)
Tuesday 9 October: Stage 4 – Riversdale – Calitzdorp (109km/2100m)
Wednesday 10 October: Stage 5 – Calitzdorp – Oudtshoorn (53km/350m)
Thursday 11 October: Stage 6 – Oudtshoorn – Knysna (140km/2150m)
Friday 12 October: Stage 7 – Knysna – Plettenberg Bay (74km/1650m)
Full 2018 routes and profiles: https://www.hotchillee.com/rainmaker-rollercoaster-stage-profiles/
Next year’s dates: 5 – 11 October 2019
2019 registration opens: 10:00 BST, Tuesday 16 October 2018
2018 entry cost starts from: 12,950 ZAR/ £695 (single occupancy dome tent with all meals). 2019 prices to be confirmed.