Glacier Cradle Traverse: Mountain Bikers Discover Gauteng’s Best Kept Secret

Glacier Cradle Traverse
Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za

The curtains of the 2019 Glacier Cradle Traverse have officially drawn to a close. The event attracted over 200 mountain bikers to Gauteng, eager to ride the most exclusive trails the province has to offer.

Riders were given a truly unique experience of the area surrounding the Cradle of Humankind with routes that are often described as Gauteng’s ‘best kept secret’. The fact that the event was a mere half an hour from Johannesburg was quickly forgotten and riders were left awe-struck by the natural beauty and ‘bushveld’ experience. A particular highlight was during stage two as participants entered the newly developed Cradle Moon conservancy. The trails were almost as wild as the game encountered – with giraffe, impala and zebra spotted along the route.

With its festive and non-competitive atmosphere, the 2019 edition attracted a wide range of participants from across the country. For local riders, the race offered an ideal ‘getaway’ without the cost of having to travel too far from home.

Some participants, however, travelled from as far as the Western Cape to experience the Glacier Cradle Traverse. This year event organisers even welcomed a large group of riders that had made the trip all the way from Namibia.

Henry Norman, a rider from Cape Town, explained: “I couldn’t believe that I was so close to Jozi! When I was out on the trails I’d often feel like I was in Plettenberg Bay, or even Knysna. In Cape Town we think we have the best trails, but this was really incredible – and that comes from a proud province supporter!”

With the welcoming race village at the Avianto Lifestyle Estate, it was easy to see why the Glacier Cradle Traverse has such a strong reputation as a family-orientated event. The convenience of tented accommodation, mouth-watering buffets, and entertainment for young children was all provided – all that riders had to do was arrive and soak up the atmosphere.

The youngest entrant this year was 15-year old Kyle Robertson, who said: “I have a dream to finish the world’s biggest mountain bike races someday, so I entered this event with my dad so I could get a feel of what stage racing is like. The routes here were so different from where I usually ride, it was so exciting! I think racing here has helped me become a better rider,” he said.

The Glacier Cradle Traverse was by no means reserved for non-competitive and aspiring riders, however. Some of South Africa’s top racing talent also entered the event to put their mountain biking skills to the test.

Yolandi du Toit and Yolandi de Villiers (TEAM GARMIN/ALTES LANDHAUS) stormed to victory in the women’s team category, with Ben Melt Swanepoel and Jan Withaar (TEAM GARMIN MERIDA) snatching up the win in the men’s team category respectively.

Fresh off the 2019 Absa Cape Epic was Sarah Hill, who was the first solo female to cross the finish line. In the men’s solo category, Barend Burger took the win with a complete whitewash.

After what was described as the most successful Glacier Cradle Traverse edition to-date, Johann de Wet, head of Business and Investment Solutions at Glacier by Sanlam, gave a closing comment:

“Glacier’s investment solutions are aimed to grow people’s wealth across their life stages – from those starting to build their wealth, to people that are preparing for retirement. So it made sense to partner with an event that involves the whole family. This weekend we’ve encountered fathers riding with their sons, husbands teaming up with their wives, and business colleagues racing together. Relationships are at the heart of what Glacier is all about. We’re already looking forward to what next year has in store!”