Known for fun in the mud, the Glacier Storms River Traverse has built a reputation as a fiercely social stage race. The routes are challenging enough to ensure a good workout but not so tough as to prevent post-ride shenanigans. It is also perfect for eBikes, with 30% of the 2023 field taking on the race with electric assistance. Most importantly though, especially given its Women’s Month race date, it featured a field where 40% of the competitors for the eleventh edition were women.
The women, fittingly, dominated the racing from the 11th to the 13th of August. Anel Strampe was the fastest overall, crossing the line first on two of the three days. She was only bested on the final day, by Kobus Weyers, though Strampe had done enough on the preceding stages to take the overall title. This feat was achieved on an eBike, though it does not detract from the impressiveness of her ride. Strampe also smiled her way around the 160 kilometres of the three-day route, clearly loving the speed which her eBike provided.
She was joined on the solo eBike Women’s podium by Petty van Wyk and Abigail Kitshoff, the latter who was taking part with her husband “The eBike makes it possible for us to do races and rides together,” her husband Theo Kitshoff pointed out. “Rather than us getting frustrated with each other we can ride together at a good pace and enjoy the experience. This was our second Glacier Storms River Traverse and we’ll definitely be back again.”
The fastest riders on traditional bikes, over the course of the long weekend, were the women’s team winners; Yolande de Villiers and Stephanie Wohlters. The formidable pairing won the first two stages, before placing second to the young guns, Karla Stumpf and Kelsey van Schoor on Stage 3. Stumpf and Van Schoor had to be content with third place on the overall standings however, after losing 33 minutes on Stage 2; to a series of punctures and a broken valve core.
“I’ve learnt a lot from the Glacier Storms River Traverse,” Van Schoor said. Though best known for successes on the road the Customised Cycling racer is no stranger to off-road racing. Yet, she remains eager to learn. “One thing I learnt is that mountain bikers are far more helpful than roadies,” she joked. “During our puncture problems on Stage 2, we were offered multiple CO2 bombs, all of which we eventually needed, and one woman even offered Karla her bike so we could finish the stage.”
Such is the spirit of mountain biking. A spirit which is amplified at the event, mainly due to its social nature. While there are some who take it seriously and race for the best result possible, many are more concerned about stopping at water points or taking photos. Stages 1 and 2 both featured sections with ocean views and even points at which to stop to take photos. Stage 3 spent its entirety inland, but also included stretches in the pristine indigenous forest as well as traverses of the MTO Forestry pine plantations.
“When you ride here, every day is like Christmas,” Chris Sykes, co-owner of the Tsitsikamma Village Inn and the brewer for the Tsitsikamma Micro Brewery, boasted, while dressed in the Santa Claus costume he always wears for the final day of the race. There are endless roads through the plantations waiting to be ridden and the views over the rugged coastline or across the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range are truly spectacular. On years, like this, when the roads are not overly muddy the enjoyment is amplified. Though the odd splatter does help remind riders that they are still riding the Glacier Storms River Traverse.
2023 Glacier Storms River Traverse General Classification Results
Solo eBike Women:
- Anel Strampe (5:52:35)
- Petty van Wyk (7:22:14 | +1:29:39)
- Abigail Kitshoff (9:30:41 | +3:38:05)
Solo eBike Men:
- Kobus Weyers (6:02:42)
- Jeremy Horner (6:15:13 | +12:30)
- Johann Steyn (6:20:49| +18:06)
- Yolande en Steph: Steph Wohlters & Yolande de Villiers (7:18:34)
- Team Elements: Mandi Augustyn & Juanita Mackenzie (7:33:46 | +15:11)
- Team K&K: Karla Stumpf & Kelsey van Schoor (7:51:50 | +33:15)
- Enjoy: Hardus van Rensburg & Gerhard Hatting (7:28:20)
- MTB Goats: Eckhard Visser & Paul Serrao (7:41:04 | +12:44)
- The Tootlers: Ryan Dean & Nicholas Hops (8:03:32 | +35:12)
- Team Moerze: Martha Koekemoer & Pieter Kotze (7:37:38)
- Chemchamp Africa: Daniel Tenner & Biance Bekker (8:52:23| +1:14:45)
- The Sinclairs: Hermien & Keven Sinclair (9:49:29 | +2:11:51)
- Elizma Kock (8:41:16)
- Liezel van Niekerk (9:21:14 | +39:57)
- Karike Human (10:28:35 | +1:47:18)
- Albert du Toit (7:30:52)
- Lourie Nel (7:34:04| +03:12)
- Ludwig Lillie (7:35:47 | +04:55)