Main photo by www.oakpics.com
The big secret is finally out. South Africa has a brand new half iron distance triathlon, comprising a 1,9 km swim, 90 km bike ride and 21,1 km run. It’s called the R2S Triathlon, the acronym for Race to Stanford. The start gun will sound on November 18 in the coastal town of Hermanus, and you’ll cross the finish line in Stanford, the most picturesque town you can possibly imagine. This triathlon is unique in many ways, take it from me – you don’t want to miss out!
November marks the start of the European triathlon season, and quite a few pro athletes have voiced their interest in using the Race2Stanford as a season opener. Personally, my view is that, if you enter, you’ll race a course which is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in SA before. For starters, do you know of any race that starts at the sea and finishes inland? There’s even more good news. If you deem a solo triathlon too daunting, no problem – you can also enter as a team! This allows athletes to put their prowess in the discipline of their choice to the test, while still sharing in the festive, competitive vibe. Nevertheless, whether you’re a pro, a competitive age grouper, or a weekend warrior, this is one race you don’t want to miss, for a few very specific reasons. Let’s take a closer look.
The same cliffs that have made Hermanus such a whale watchers’ paradise will be the backdrop for the swim – taking place in the warmer, more forgiving waters of the Indian Ocean. This will also be the first 70.3 mile triathlon in the Western Cape to offer a sea swim. Starting in the Old Harbour, swimmers will complete the 1.9 km swim in full view of everyone from start to finish. And, if you have a pair of binoculars, you’ll probably be able to follow every breath of the athlete you support. It goes without saying, not many triathlons allow for this unique opportunity. Hermanus is renowned for its pristine blue waters, and chances are good you’ll end up sharing the sea with a whale or two during your swim.
The bike course takes athletes through Hermanus and onto the R320 towards Caledon. Along the way, riders traverse Shaw’s Pass. The pass was built in 1825, and initially trail wagons and horses were used to negotiate its rugged terrain. However, that was then. On race day you’ll have the luxury of a very smooth road surface and the gear selection of your choice. The only real question is do you have the legs for it? To give you an idea, in 30 kilometres you’ll climb about 620 meters.
Once out of Caledon, the course takes a right turn onto the R316, treating riders to blistering descents. Not-so-skilled cyclists will definitely ride on their brakes, while daredevils will score free points with speeds exceeding 80 km/h. After about 35 km the course takes another right turn back onto R326 for the last 25 km to Stanford. And, if you still have energy left for some sightseeing from your aero bars, the views are sure to re-energize you – the mountains and valleys are supreme. Then, after a final climbing section, you’ll descend into Stanford.
The run course consists of 3 loops of 7 km in Stanford. If you’ve never been to this part of the world you’re in for a pleasant experience. Stanford has been named a heritage site, and this quaint little village still does justice to that accolade. It also has a great community spirit, so you can be assured that the streets will be lined with spectators for entire run.
The course crosses tarred and untarred town roads, as well as a short stint on grass – but take note, your regular road running shoes will suffice. Another upside is that the natural surfaces you’ll be pounding along will be much more forgiving on the knees, allowing for a faster post-race recovery period. For spectators the upside is that it’ll be easy to get to different viewpoints on the course with little effort. No doubt you’ll see much more of your loved one here than at any other race.
Other things you need to know
Stanford will also be brimming with fun activities throughout the day. Spectators and competitors can enjoy river boat cruises, wine tasting, food stalls, a beer garden, arts and crafts market, live music, kiddies entertainment and a good few other experiences aimed to turn this new event into much more than just a race.
For those living in the Western Cape, the proximity and starting time of the race allow for making it a one day outing – but turning it into a well-deserved weekend break would be a just reward for any hard working triathlete. If you live up country, the same logic applies. Book accommodation for the weekend at any of the guest farms or B&B establishments in the area – Stanford is renowned for its superior tourism amenities.
We’re looking forward to your participation in the Race2Stanford, and assure you that in years to come, the medal will become a great conversation topic. After all, being part of the first ever Race2Stanford will give you bragging rights for a lifetime. See you there! – (c) 2017 NavWorld
To enter the all-new R2S Triathlon and secure your spot click on this link