Written for In the Bunch

There are two kinds of veterans associated with the sani2c, which, these days, is brought to you by the friendly bankers at BOE Private Clients.

On the one hand there are those who have, say, five participations under their belt and, on the other, those who have notched up a similar number of entries without even getting close to the event.

Failing to get an entry into the world’s most popular multistage mountain bike race has become so frustratingly commonplace that some might argue it deserves a category, and therefore recognition, of its own.

Imagine earning a green number or similar for the honour of being shown the door a fistful of times – some elite club that would be. I can just imagine that it would be the most disgruntled group of people on the face of the earth.

Even without a licence to explore the hallowed single track, which zigzags roughly between Sani Pass on the KwaZulu-Natal/Lesotho border and the East Coast, it may be argued that these hopefuls are some of the race’s staunchest supporters and even hardiest “competitors”.

In my world, there is nothing that hurts quite like a Dear John letter. It is certainly the most intimate form of rejection that I can fathom.

For most of us it would deal an instant knockout blow. To come back for more punishment, annually, deserves some recognition, if not respect.

The organisers have evidently been racking their brains for solutions that are fair to both those that helped build the event and those that will do so once they’ve managed to “leverage” an entry.

Such leveraging takes on different personas, but the emotional uppercut is well used. If you’ll excuse the blatant plagiarism, I would like to share the following excerpt from a letter:

“My wife does not think I am a real mountain biker, since everyone who is anyone on a mountain bike is able to talk about their sani2c experience, and I am not. This makes her suspicious that I am having an affair whenever I say I am going for a ride. This also makes me desperate to enter the race (or at least to have an affair, since I am already in trouble).”

The organisers’ philosophy of putting a premium on the rider’s experience has been an unqualified success, but also a double-edged sword.

For every additional rider that they would bundle into the sani2c microcosm, based on its current logistical capacity of course, the experience of the rest would suffer proportionately.

Increasing the number of riders is obviously not an option that will lead to everyone’s happiness.

The concept of a second race over the same terrain and with the same hospitality seemed to be a much better fit – until that reached capacity before you could say “Umkomaas”.

The announcement of a third event for 2012 filled as many gaps for the organisers as it broke eager mountain biking hearts and it seems both sides will have to roll with the punches a little while longer.

PS – That’s not entirely true! Three team entries will be up for grabs on sani2c’s social media platforms from November to February. Proceeds will go to charity.

Coetzee is a former journalist and full-time cycling fanatic whose PR company focuses on sports communications. E-mail him at coetzee@fullstopcom.com, visit  www.inthebunch.co.za or follow him on twitter (fullstop).

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications 

Coetzee Gouws
041 368 4992
082 575 7991

On behalf of:

Cyclingnews magazine