SA’s 1st Super ‘Randonnee’4 min read

Finding a 600km route with 10,000 meters of climbing on (mostly) tar roads in the Western Cape certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. Here’s what we came up with.

A Super Randonnee is a 600km Audax ride that covers at least 10,000 meters of climbing — and to account for the high demand of the total ascent, you are allowed 60 hours in which to complete the route (compared to the usual 40 hours for a 600 BRM). The fine print is at http://www.audax-club-parisien.com/EN/422.html.

Problem?

We simply don’t have enough mountain roads down here.

On the one hand you don’t want to go up and down the same mountain like an Everesting and then fill the distance; while on the other hand you ‘can’t’ exceed the 600km distance by more than 5%, but still need to fit in enough climbing.

To complicate things a bit more, running the same GPX route through various route planning app’s will yield different total elevation results. For example, this route here showed the following total meters gained:

  • 10200m — on Ridewithgps,
  • 11300m — on Mapmyride,
  • 13600m — on Utrack,
  • 9980m — on Strava and
  • 8600m — on Plotaroute.

Solution.

The onus is on the rider to prove he has ridden the correct route. About 75km is on gravel. Most control points will be selfies. GPX will have to be submitted for verification. This is an adventure. You need to be completely self-sufficient. If you get to the end and see you have less than 10,000 vertical meters, do another lap (or two) of the Taalmonument climb.

This is the route right here:

And if you want to do some more planning, be sure to check out https://www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za/find-a-pass/mastermap.html

Route overview

Start at the picturesque Hugenote Museum in Franschhoek. First up is the Franschhoek pass, out and back — turning at the bridge over the Du Toits River on Theewaterskloof’s side of the pass.

Go up to the Taalmonument for the first of no less than 4 visits up there during this ride, but at different times. Remember to take a selfie at the entrance main gate. Then on to Paarl Rock, but not before returning down to the Main Rd (KWV headquarters) first, in order to maximize the total vertical meters gained.

Next follows Du Toitskloof pass and a control at the familiar 24hr Total garage in Rawsonville, before coming back over the same pass again — and topping it off with another stint up the Taalmonument and Paarl Rock (this time slightly further on, to the Krismiskamp intersection).

Now for the long haul through Wellington, over Bainskloof and up Michell’s pass to the next control in Ceres. Be sure to stock up here because you are about to embark on the biggest climb for the trip.

A long stint on the R46 will see you go over Theronsberg and Hottentots Kloos Passes, before turning right onto a gravel road at the board that says Matjiesrivier. By now you are half-way, having covered 300kms. Halfpad.

The loop is completed by climbing Bo-Swaarmoed pass (remember the Munga?), passing Klondyke Cherry Farm and going down the seemingly endless descent of the Swaarmoed pass, back to the R46.

Next up is Prince Alfred Hamlet and the R303 North to ascend Gydo pass. Continue to board that says right to ‘Touwsriviers & Baviaanshoek’, then right to where the tar ends at Odessapad in order to squeeze out some more vertical meters.

Back to Ceres and over Bainskloof to Wellington, then up Paarl Rock, down to the Main Rd and up the Taalmonument once more. Now you have done just shy of 500 kms and the end is almost in sight.

Head towards Franschhoek, but first through Pniel and over Helshoogte to the control at the 24hr Total/Spar in Stellenbosch and back towards Franschhoek — this time taking the Robertsvlei Rd. passing La Roche Estate on your way to the Hugenote Museum.

Out and back over Franschhoek pass to the Du Toits river bridge once more, before returning to Finish at the top of the Taalmonument — for a monumental ride. And if your total elevation is still below 10,000 meters, just repeat the very last climb.

Well done — now you deserve new knee caps, and some rest.

High Rouleur?

If you finish the ride under 36hrs, you’ll qualify for a HR Journey (sleep allowed) — but I don’t expect many riders to fall into this category, as our usual coastal 600km (with around 6000m of climbing) often sees times close to 36hrs.

If you finish the ride without sleeping, you qualify for a HR Limit. There is no time restriction for this according to the rules at https://highrouleur.cc/the-rules/, but the 60hr Super Randonnee Audax time limit still applies.

I can’t wait for this one…

PS, Controls

  1. Start (0km)
  2. Bridge (14km)
  3. Taalmonument (58km)
  4. KWV (62km)
  5. Rock parking (71)
  6. Rawsonville (130km)
  7. Taalmonument (184km)
  8. KWV (188km)
  9. Krismiskamp (198km)
  10. Ceres (270km)
  11. Bo-Swaarmoed (305km)
  12. Klondyke (318km)
  13. Odessa (370km)
  14. Rock (478km)
  15. KWV (487km)
  16. Taalmonument (491km)
  17. Helshoogte Spar (519km)
  18. La Roche Estate (546km)
  19. Bridge (567km)
  20. Taalmonument (611km)

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