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Night biker excited about 24-hour challenge

Martin Camp, left, during one of the “six or seven“ Sani2C events he has entered.

Martin Camp, left, during one of the “six or seven“ Sani2C events he has entered.

Published May 28, 2022

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Durban - Traversing the hills of KZN, in both a race and a ride after a Wild Coast hike, will be all in a day’s work for Martin Camp this weekend as he trains for the KAPsani2c nonstop mountain bike endurance event six days later.

Once the 56-year-old IT engineer completes his on Saturday in the Sappi Karkloof Classic, he and his friends plan to pedal home from near Howick to Hillcrest along back routes, including dirt roads, parallel to the N3 until they hit the Comrades Marathon route.

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“I don’t know when we’ll get home. It’ll probably be in the late afternoon but I am not too sure. We’ll have lights with us in case we only arrive after dark,” he told the Independent on Saturday.

Lights will be essential next week when Camp and Andy Taylor, also from Hillcrest, with Camp’s wife Alyson as support, take on the 250km KAPsani2c nonstop mountain bike endurance within a 24-hour cut-off period.

They plan to start at 2am at Glencairn, close to the foot of Sani Pass near Underberg, and aim to reach Scottburgh before planet Earth has made a full rotation.

“We are definitely going only for a finish,” said Camp.

“And it will be fun going on an adventure through the forests and along the district roads.”

He said he thought sleep deprivation would be tricky.

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“We have to try to get a few hours’ sleep until midnight and then get to the start.

“Andy and I will be doing more practice runs in the dark before then ‒ I will have a light on my bike as well as a head torch.”

The KAP sani2c nonstop mountain bike endurance event is set for Friday and Saturday, the standard three-day event having taken place last month. Camp has completed “six or seven” of those. Those who have done all 18 are known as The Black Mamba Legends.

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The recent rains and floods that struck KZN have not put a dampener on next week’s 24-hour challenge in spite of there having been some damage to the trails.

“All the bridges on the Mkomazi River are still up, some are out of place, but the sun is now out and on Thursday we will start getting everything as it should be for race day,” said race founder and organiser Glen “Farmer” Haw.

“The trails were nicely compacted by the sani2c riders (in April), so damage has been limited and is quite manageable.”

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The sani2c nonstop had three editions of the event between 2007 and 2009, after which it was decided to focus on the now-iconic three-day stage race that started in 2005.

With the increase in interest in longer endurance events, Haw said the decision was taken to re-introduce the nonstop in 2022, which sees riders journey 250km over much of the KAP sani2c route from Underberg to Scottburgh, all within a 24-hour cut-off period.

“In the early days we had riders finishing nonstop in nine hours, but that route included a lot of district roads and this nonstop includes a whole lot more of the sani2c trails,” said Haw.

“We don’t expect riders to finish in less than 12 hours. We start at Glencairn at 2am on Saturday, which should see the front riders arrive at Mackenzie Club around 6am. This means that all riders should be doing the drop into the Umkomaas Valley in daylight. We have cut out the Iconic Climb, but other than that, most of the 250km are on the sani2c trails.”

The Independent on Saturday

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