The Glacier Storms River Traverse is not a traditional stage race. In fact, the racing element is played down in favour of enjoying the time out on the trails with friends. There are nonetheless those who derive their pleasure from going fast, while there are others who revelled in a slow cruise.
At the sharpest end of the field Pieter Nortje and Ivan Holl rode hard; as did Yolande de Villiers and Johann de Wet, Willem Reyneke, Nikki Biesheuvel, and the winning women’s team of Kylie Hanekom and Tarryn Povey. Finishing each stage as early as possible did have its advantages of course. Like getting out of muddy cycling kit sooner; being able to enjoy an early lunch, perhaps with one of Beer and Barrel’s great craft beers or a glass of Wellington Wines, before an afternoon nap.
Further back the attitude was more relaxed. Lunch would still be there for those finishing in five hours rather than two and a half. The bar would still be open. Plus, the Dryland waterpoints are designed to lure riders in. With Biogen sports fuel products for the pros, and a selection of banana breads, fudges, koeksisters, new potatoes as well as the favourites, steak hot off the braai and ice-cold beers.
The riding at the Glacier Storms River Traverse is designed to mix challenges with more sedate sections. This allows the top teams and solo riders to post fast times, but keeps the course manageable for the less fit members of the field. “The mud makes it challenging,” regular Traverser, Gavin Salt noted. “You’re dodging puddles a lot, so while the route itself isn’t technical the fact that it’s wet keeps it interesting.”
Tsitsikamma’s wet winters are certainly part of the event’s appeal. Especially for those decked out in the latest First Ascent waterproof cycling jackets. Fortunately for 2022 Glacier Storms River Traverse participants, the rain held off during the stages. Only a cloudburst during the Springboks victory over the All Blacks added to the standing water in the forests. This made Sunday the muddiest day of the race, but by then everyone was deftly adept at avoiding puddles and spotting the shallowest lines through the unavoidable ones.
“It’s been great to see the relationship building that takes place at this event,” praised Werner Lotriet, Head of Business Development at Glacier by Sanlam. “The family atmosphere and relaxed setting are so conducive for spending quality time with like-minded people. Watching people come into the waterpoints and across the finish line, splattered with mud but so happy, makes me want to take up mountain biking too.”
“The Glacier Storms River Traverse is our first event in over two years without any Covid restrictions,” Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management pointed out. “We didn’t want to host it with restrictions in place, as it is all about the interactions on and off the bike. Being able to get back to that social level again has been amazing. I hope every rider and family member who joined us at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn appreciated the return as much as we did.”
“Now we’re looking ahead to the Glacier Cradle Traverse,” Rademeyer added. “The riding is a bit more technical, with more singletrack than here in Storms River, but the vibe is the same. Avianto, in Muldersdrift, is a spectacular venue and riders will be treated to the same warm hospitality as they experienced here in the Eastern Cape.”
The Glacier Cradle Traverse takes place from 30 September to 2 October, and limited entries are still available at www.cradletraverse.co.za. Meanwhile riders can reflect on the 2022 Glacier Storms River Traverse at www.stormsrivertraverse.co.za, or on the event’s social media handles. Find photos and videos from the muddy depths of the Tsitsikamma forest on Facebook, at Storms River Traverse, and on Instagram, @stormsrivertraverse.
Selected Results from the 2022 Glacier Storms River Traverse:
- Team Holl: Pieter Nortje & Ivan Holl (7:12:33)
- Team Salty Saddle: Matt Bind & Steed Richardson (7:45:22)
- Die Boere: Martin Esterheyzen & Lourie Nel (7:52:05)
- Team Echo: Kylie Hanekom & Tarryn Povey (7:59:52)
- Team HC: Olivia Moolman & Daniel de Klerk (11:10:24)
- Zensisters: Ilse Wessels & Merlin Norman (13:38:49)
- MadMacs – Coopetto: Johann de Wet & Yolande de Villiers (7:28:18)
- Beauty & The Beast: Gouws & Noel Thwaite (8:57:58)
- Team Janic: Jannie Steyn & Nicola Laubscher (8:59:53)
- Willem Reyneke (7:20:27)
- Jacques Coetzee (7:52:30)
- David Wright (8:02:24)
- Nikki Biesheuvel (7:50:50)
- Catherine Pellow-Jarman (8:22:36)
- Lindie Kessell (8:55:35)
To view the full results, click here.