An eight-kilometre uphill ride with gradients ascending between 1,051m and 1,903m. A mountain bike race and road race, the Bouckaert-Soenen Cycle Race, also known as the Granite Conqueror, is a challenge reserved for hardcore mountain bikers.
The annual race is back, and this time, it is amplified with a two-day challenge. Participants will get to compete in a mountain bike (MTB) race on one day, and a road race on the second day. The multi-stage event will bring together bikers from across the country to prove themselves, against the beautiful backdrop of Paarl.
Organised by the Paarl Rotary Club and the Pedal Power Association (PPA), the ever popular Bouckaert-Soenen Cycle Race is an opportunity for people to test their endurance and fitness levels, whilst giving back to a good cause. All the proceeds of the race go towards the many local charitable projects managed by the Paarl Rotary Club.
In addition to adding a second day to the event, this year the MTB race will start at the Rhebokskloof wine estate. The road race will start at the De Poort Heritage Centre in Main Street. Both routes take advantage of the picturesque Paarl Valley, which offers riders stunning views.
The MTB race will take place on Saturday 23 January 2016 and the road race will happen on Sunday 24 January 2016. People are welcome to enter either event, but the MTB race is limited to 500 entries and the road race is limited to 2,500 entries.
The MTB race is broken into three distances. More advanced riders can try the 56 km or 33 km distance races and for beginners, there is a short 6 km race to take part in. The road race is separated into a 126 km, 72 km and 45 km race. The race will take riders through Wellington, Hermon and Riebeek-Kasteel, with a tough climb over Botmaskop before heading back to Paarl. The 45 km race has no serious climbs, so those who are still starting out can ease their way into the race circuit.
If you enter online before 20 January will receive a discounted rate. For people who are on the fence about entering, you can enter on race day at 5 am if you feel confident enough for the challenge. Those who participate in both the 56 km MTB race and the 126 km road race stand a chance of winning vouchers up to R8,000.
Grab your bikes and start prepping. The Bouckaert-Soenen Cycle Race is a good way to see what you are made of.