The historic town of Paarl will again come to a virtual standstill on 19 and 20 November as residents and riders turn out for the third annual Sanlam MTB Invitational, this year presented for the first time as a 2-Day stage race. The big news this year is that, for the first time, the incredible Sanlam Invitational experience has been opened up to 300 public teams on a first come first served basis.
Presented by the City of Drakenstein and ASG, the event has become a sought after property over the past two years. It’s one of the most iconic, must-do races on the national racing calendar.
It’s not just another mountain bike race. It is really something special and a unique opportunity to traverse the beautiful Paarl Mountain on a saddle.
The first stage consists of a tough 60km journey circumventing the entire Paarl Mountain while the second stage is a more manageable 40km – covering a shorter loop on the mountain.
The Sanlam MTB Invitational is staged in one of the most beautiful and unique areas in South Africa, covering the best possible MTB terrain, coupled with warm hospitality.
Paarl is located 50km from the Cape Town CBD, which places it within a comfortable travelling distance with easy airport links. The travel and accommodation hassle factors are therefore minimised.
The two-day multi stage Sanlam MTB Invitational will afford amateur and professional mountain bikers with a passion for the sport the experience of a lifetime.
During the Sanlam Invitational riders will be treated as VIP’s and they will have access to world-class hospitality at waterpoints and at the Rhebokskloof race village.
Rider and route experience
Our route-building team have unearthed every bit of wonderful and rideable mountain-biking terrain on and around the Paarl Mountain and the end result is the very best way to experience the mountain and the views over the surrounding Simonsberg and Drakenstein ranges.
These imposing ranges are just an unbelievable sight early morning and you can even see Table Mountain from the top of Paarl Mountain.
Participants will also come within 200m of the distinctive Taal Monument, another standout feature on the landscape.
Both stages will finish on the legendary 9km stretch of downhill single-track to the finish on a lush grass embankment at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and rewarded with an ice-cold Coke or a craft beer from CBC – the fastest growing independent brewery in the country.
CBC also erect a waterpoint on the first stage which is a very popular stop – it’s almost like riding into a beer tent with free draft beers, music and a wonderful MC.
If you’re not hooked on mountain biking before this, it will be a completely different picture afterwards.
The Sanlam MTB Invitational route encompasses all best features on the Paarl Mountain. Riders can expect wide open plains, strong climbing challenges, majestic mountain views, deep ravines, indigenous forests and spectacular views. The route is characterised by riveting jeep tracks, challenging rocky outcrops, fast flowing downhills, meandering river crossings and stunning single-track.
A unique feature of the Sanlam MTB Invitational will be its 5 star rated Race Village at Rhebokskloof, which will add a unique upmarket status to this event.
* Appropriate ‘vibey’ music and the option of an indoor
(Rhebok Function venue, if it rains) or outdoor
(lawned amphitheatre, if it’s sunny) option where all riders can
enjoy their lunches;
* Massage therapists are on hand to massage tired legs;
* Top-quality start/finish shoot;
* Easy access to parking, entertainment and restroom facilities;
* Spectator-friendly area;
* Bike-tech area;
* ‘Upbeat’ entertainment and an MC to keep everyone excited;
* Lovely shaded lush lawns with eats and drinks where a big screen
projects pictures and footage of the day’s action; If it rains, the
event easily moves indoors, as outlined above
* Photograph area where you can order pictures that were taken along
* Secure bike park
* Free bike wash – bikes will be returned to the bike park after
washing, ready for riders to collect the next morning to tackle stage 2