“I’ve done Karoo to Coast a few times now,” says 2018 winner Craig Boyes. “For me the heritage the event carries is really special, as is starting in the Karoo and finishing at the coast - the views from the from start to finish are just amazing,” he says.
This year’s event – the 21st Buco Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge – will take place on 22 September 2019 over 96 kilometres from Uniondale to Knysna. Entries over the past few years have sold out in record time and organisers expect this year to be no different.
“Also,” Boyes adds, “There is one route only - no shorter options are available, so everyone is in the same boat and goes through the same experiences on race day, which really adds to the vibe.”
While the vibe is important to Boyes and the rest of the elite racers up front, winning this iconic event is a big part of why they come back every year.
“Last year I didn’t see the win coming to me, I was totally blown away,” he says. According to Boyes he and Waylon Woolcock and myself decided they would go hard on Ou Wapad and see what happens. “I was not too sure if this was the right idea it’s long way to race when you split the race 10km in, but Waylon is old school and knows how things work - if he said it's time to go then you go hard.”
Matthew Keyser joined the pair and they stayed together until the end where it came down to a sprint finish. “Matt was really strong and I was watching him all day. He got the jump on me in the sprint and as was we turned left he ran wide and I slipped past. To this day I think Matt was the strongest rider but I was the luckiest rider.”
Boyes has some tips for newcomers on making their own luck on the day:
- Don't overdo it early on, it's a long way to the finish keep some legs for the last 50km.
- After Ou Wapad try and find some riders that you can ride with, work together and catch some slip.
- Remember to eat and drink, I always think of my body as a steam engine - what you put in is what you get out.
- Stop at the water points, refuel (tip from Waylon)
- This one is for everyone fast or slow: Enjoy every moment of the event, it really has got some cool things to see along the route, just take a moment and look around.
In the interest of maintaining the quality of the iconic event (and to ease the registration process) the Lions Clubs of Uniondale and Knysna has decided that only 4500 entries will once again be made available in 2019. These entries will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The event is strictly a mountain bike event with no eBikes allowed.
No substitutions will be allowed after 25th August. The entry fee is R630 and includes dinner in Uniondale on Saturday 21 September. The event is owned by the Lions Clubs of Uniondale and Knysna and all proceeds from the event go to charity – with Sightfirst and the S A Guide Dog Association being the main beneficiaries. The riders who supported the event raised over R1.5 million for charity in 2018!