Underberg – Following a successful first edition in 2022, the organisers of the Underberg Gran Fondo are out to provide riders of all abilities with another exciting challenge on Sunday, 30 July.
The event forms part of one of the world’s fastest growing disciplines in gravel racing and riders have n opportunity to enjoy the beautifu surroundings of the Southern Drakensberg while they ride along the various farm and district roads that surround Underberg.
The event has added a shorter 45km ride this year to include riders that want a day out but might not be able to cover the 90km distance and it seems to be gaining traction as entries continue to stream in.
The flagship 140km ride has once again attracted some top riders as well as seasoned riders who are eager to get into the discipline of gravel racing or are keen to test themselves against a strong field of riders.
Experienced South African road rider and triathlete Donovan van Gelder is diving into the gravel scene and will use the Underberg Gran Fondo as his first gravel race.
“I hit a bit of a mid-life crisis at 52 years old and decided I wanted to do something new,” Van Gelder said. “I didn’t want to learn something from scratch so I thought that gravel riding would be a great idea and so far it’s been fun.
“I’ve been out on three rides on my Cannondale gravel bike and I’ve learnt a few things along the way. It is nice being able to still learn things while riding.”
With the appeal of gravel riding growing, for Van Gelder it’s the next logical step for riders in South Africa.
“I’ve ridden most road races in South Africa multiple times and this offered up a new challenge but we’ve seen the road riding scene battle through with logistical issues like road closures.
“I was never good at mountain bike riding and so this offers up an alternative to both road and MTB. There are so many places you can take gravel races and it can appeal to riders across disciplines.
“It’s definitely the next big thing in South Africa so I’m looking forward to getting involved,” he added.
Entries for the Underberg Gran Fondo are open, and you can enter here https://underberggranfondo.co.za/how-to-enter/