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HotChillee Announce World's First 7-Day Point to Point Gravel Stage Race

by Holly Blades

The Rainmaker RollerCoaster, the world's first seven-day point to point gravel stage race, will take place from 6-12 October 2018 in the Western Cape, South Africa. The Rainmaker RollerCoaster is the latest offering from HotChillee, the cycling event group behind the renowned LONDON-PARIS and Cape Rouleur races.

HotChillee has embraced the growing phenomenon of gravel riding over the past three years and have joined forces with digital disrupter Rainmaker Solutions, the title sponsor of the inaugural event. The Rainmaker RollerCoaster offers riders the chance to race 550km with 8000m of climbing from Swellendam to the coastal resort of Plettenberg Bay. Riders can take part in teams of two or can ride in small groups supported by the HotChillee Ride Captains. The event will be open to mountain bikes as well, but the parcours will suit the speed of a gravel bike. There will be jersey and age category awards. 

"I was hooked on my first gravel ride three years ago," said Sven Thiele, HotChillee Founder. "Putting the Rainmaker RollerCoaster together over that period has been a wonderful experience and seeing the level of buy in by locals, authorities, riders and sponsors indicates that gravel racing and riding will be the new wave of cycling. The route between Swellendam and Plettenberg Bay will stand out as the finest and toughest gravel race in the world. 

"South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular, is ideally suited to gravel riding with its quiet, long and safe district roads that connect towns, villages and farms. There are challenging climbs and the terrain and scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world. It combines the best aspects of road and mountain bike riding, but at the same time imparts a unique cycling experience that we believe takes this wonderful sport to a new, exciting level." 

The Rainmaker RollerCoaster begins with a sunset time trial in the Bontebok National Park, Swellendam, a few hours drive from Cape Town, and will finish in Plettenberg Bay on the iconic Garden Route. With a distance of 550km, the route follows gravel roads and trails of the farmlands in Swellendam, into the semi desert of the Little Karoo, along the lush Garden Route, through the Knysna forest and finishes at the breathtaking coast of Plettenberg Bay. Participants will stay overnight in tented race villages, with upgrade accommodation packages available, and be looked after en route by HotChillee's professional back-up logistics team. 

Jan Joubert, Rainmaker CEO: 'With the Western Cape as its backdrop, this will be a truly unique opportunity for all involved. It is very exciting to be supporting an event like this; which is not only giving gravel cycling the world-class stage it deserves, but also supporting the amazing communities (like Kwano) in the region and along the route. This whole event is completely in line with what we do at Rainmaker...which is to make a difference!"

Minister Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and a keen cyclist himself, said the Rainmaker RollerCoaster would play an important part of the Western Cape's plan to entrench the province as a preferred cycling tourism destination: "This project has been high on my agenda since launching the Cross Cape gravel routes. Having an international 7 stage gravel race take place in the region will further demonstrate what the region has to offer to local and international tourists." 

Stage details:
Saturday 6 October: Stage 1 - Swellendam (Prologue) (16km/135m)
Sunday 7 October: Stage 2 - Swellendam - Swellendam (57km/1150m)
Monday 8 October: Stage 3 - Swellendam - Riversdale (107km/2000m)
Tuesday 9 October: Stage 4 - Riversdale - Calitzdorp (109km/2100m)
Wednesday 10 October: Stage 5 - Calitzdorp - Oudtshoorn (53km/350m)
Thursday 11 October: Stage 6 - Oudtshoorn - Knysna (140km/2150m)
Friday 12 October: Stage 7 - Knysna - Plettenberg Bay (74km/1650m) 

Penny Krohn, Rainmaker RollerCoaster route recce rider: "One of the best weeks of my life: spectacular scenery, fabulous overnight spots, excellent backup, wonderful friendly cycling folk - simply superb. I loved everything about it."

Richard Smith, Rainmaker RollerCoaster route recce rider: "Without a shadow of doubt the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding bike riding encounter I've ever had the privilege to undertake. This trip is out of this world! Trust me." 

Francis Cade, YouTube VBlogger: "A proper adventure, you'll be surprised where a gravel bike can take you."

Sakkie Franken, Executive Mayor of the Overberg region: "It is an honour to host the Rainmaker RollerCoaster in the Overberg region. The wonderful scenery, local food and wine will further enhance the riders experience whether they are racing, riding or just exploring the gravel parcours." 

Tim Harris, CEO WESGRO (the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town): "WESGRO is excited to be partnering with another world class event in the region, which will continue to grow the R4.4 billion leisure cycling market in the province. We look forward to the region becoming the de facto gravel destination!" 

Event date: 6 - 12 October 2018 (5 - 11 October 2019)
Registrations open: 14:00 GMT, Tuesday 5 June 2018
Entry cost start from: 12,950 ZAR (single occupancy two-man tent with all meals)
Click here for further event information 

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