For the best part of the last decade there have been rumours that a wild bull elephant still roams the Knysna Forests. Footprints and dung are the only clues as to this grey ghost’s authenticity. For mountain bikers, entries to the 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, do not guarantee a spotting of the fabled elephant. They do however promise four days of amazing mountain biking, fantastic comradery and one of the best race villages around; when entering to ride from the 19th to the 22nd of February next year.
For the 2019 race the event instituted a number of innovative changes on the usual stage race format. These were well received by the riders and mountain biking fans alike. The riders’ favourite was the timed and liaison style stages. “Finished in interesting places, rather than on sports fields, adds a great dimension to the racing. Other events could learn from the Knysna Bull” 2019 champion Matthew Beers said of the remote finish lines.
With a winner-takes-all prize up for grabs to the winning man and women, along with cash prizes for the Young Bulls there is a lot to race for at the Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia. In 2019 the finish lines, two of which were located on Simola Hill, helped ensure captivating racing. For the 2020 race the organisers have another innovation up their sleeve.
“The Cape Town team of Rob, Jan and Rich, headed up to Knysna to meet me for our Bull Tribal Council a few weeks ago” Pax Mosterd of the Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, stated. “It is an annual get-together where we take stock and decide on directions that the race will take the following year. Last year’s tribal council put into motion plans that changed most of the 2019 Bull features. Our reasoning was simple – we’re agile (read small) – and we could use this to our advantage to maximise rider experience both on and off the bike” Mosterd explained.
Along with the remote finishes, with an easy liaison ride from the stage finish line to the Knysna Waterfront race village, the big innovation was the meal options. Each afternoon riders can choose to have lunch from The Drydock, Ocean Basket, Cafe Mario and O Pescador under the rider dining Bedouin. The final prize giving also takes place at the Knysna Waterfront and features a three-course meal served by The Drydock restaurant. While these innovations ensure every rider’s meal preferences are catered for, they do limit the entry numbers.
Only 300 riders can be accommodated in the Waterfront race village. This ensures that the race will maintain its personal feel and allow riders to rub shoulders with the elite racers as well as befriend fellow mountain bike enthusiasts should they wish to do so. 2019 riders had first dibs at the 2020 entries and to help maintain the close-knit spirit which developed during last year’s event they were allowed to invite their friends.
Riders who missed out on the 2019 race can enter the 2020 event, at R4 950 (per rider), from the 1 of October. The four days or racing, three lunches, a finisher’s dinner, post-stage beers from the local Red Bridge brewery, and a finisher’s gift are all included in the entry fee. As are pre-stage coffees at the remote start locations during the 2020 Knysna Bull.
Discounted entries are offered to Young Bull (Under 23 men and women) riders to make the race more affordable for the next generation of mountain biking stars. There is also a corporate discount for four-rider groups, which encourages mountain bikers to bring their riding tribe along for the adventure. Pro riders (UCI registered) and riders over 55 also qualify for entry discounts. All racing prizes are contested on an individual basis, rather than in the team format as is often the case in stage races. There is another exciting change which will further set the event apart from all other mountain bike stage races which is set to be announced soon.
“Our agility allows us to do things other events can’t. We have an exciting new concept for the final day of the race which we’ve borrowed from another endurance sport. It will definitely shake up the racing, but will allow the non-racing riders to still enjoy the final stage as they always have” Mosterd hinted cryptically. “Expect an exciting announcement in the next month or so” he smiled.
Riders wishing to take part in the 2020 Knysna Bull, made personal by Constantia, can visit www.knysnabull.bike to secure their spot. To stay updated on all the news from the event please follow @knysnabull on Twitter and @knysnabull on Instagram, as well as by liking the Knysna Bull Facebook page.