Race Report - Dryland Traverse 10th Edition

It’s been two weeks since Dryland Traverse’s 10th edition. The aches and pains have long been forgotten and I’m left only with fond memories to look back on.

The Dryland Traverse is a four day stage race, which traverses the classic trails of the Klein Karoo over a total of 70km, including 1100m of vertical ascent. The stages include facing the mighty Swartberg Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, breathtaking views of the Great and Klein Karoo, and trails that run past the renowned Raubenheimer Dam. Whether you’re an elite athlete or new to trail running, this race caters for just about everyone! The Dryland Event Management team are known for hosting exceptional races, and this years’ 10th Edition of the Dryland Traverse was no exception.

I decided to take a chance and join forces with trail running superstar, Chantel Nienaber. Chantel and I had never previously run together, let alone race in a team. But we decided to take a leap of faith and combine her knowledge and experience and my youth and willingness to learn, and boy did we smash it out the park! Stage by stage, I hope you enjoy reading about my Dryland Traverse experience just as much as I did running it!

Prologue: It’s finally race day!

Distance: 7km

Weather: Hot | Dry | Rocky | Flowing

Racing Time: 44:00

Stage Result: 1st Place

GC Standing: 1st Place

On 12 November, the Rhodes Dryland Traverse kicked off with a rocky start right at the foot of the renowned Cango Caves. The 7km prologue took us all the way from the caves to our base camp. The route followed an undulating single track ending off with a steady road climb for about 1.5km. Everyone was called by name and started the prologue alone in batches of 2 minutes apart. Chantel and I decided to race this section rather conservatively, using this run to get to know each other and matching our running styles. We ran the flats and downs, easy shuffling on the ups and some walking in between. We managed to find a steady rhythm in no time. We ended up coming in first in the women’s team division, a definite confidence booster going into the start of the weekend!

Stage 1: Swartberg

Distance: 25,7km (1140m vertical ascent)

Weather: Overcast | Humid | Sandy | Steep

Racing Time: 03:01:33

Stage Result: 1st Place