Two thousand five hundred mountain bikers will have the opportunity to become a diamond in the rough whilst facing one of the toughest trails in South Africa, in diamond country Cullinan on Saturday 14 July.
The Diamond Rush is the second race of the NISSAN TrailSeeker Series, giving cyclists the opportunity to enter another level of mountain biking. As diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this race is sure to be a mountain bikers’.
Diamond Rush reached full capacity before online entries closed – proof that there is an enormous demand for trail racing. Timothy Fair, event and route coordinator, says that they have increased the race capacity from 2 000 entrants in 2011 to 2 500 in 2012, still having it reach full capacity before the online entries close. Fair also says that the NISSAN TrailSeeker Series is popular because it is local, fun and caters for all levels. ‘It’s about bringing mountain biking to the people.’
Cullinan is a historic little town situated only 40 km east of Tshwane. As a mining town at heart, Cullinan’s best-known asset is the diamonds that are mined in this area. The town is also the source of the largest gem diamond yet discovered – the internationally famous Cullinan diamond of 3 106 carats.
In the mean time, Cullinan became a favourite tourist destination thanks to its combination of history, heritage, engineering and nature that offer visitors an unforgettable experience. With a host of garden cafés and restaurants, specialty shops, from lifestyle to interior, stocked with locally produced preserves, cheeses and sweets, art galleries, jewellery and diamond shops, a golf course and mine tours (wearing a hard hat of course), a single trip to Cullinan is not enough to truly experience all that this village has to offer.
The Nissan TrailSeeker Diamond Rush will be held in Oak Avenue, Petra Diamonds Mine. According to Fritz Pienaar, from Advendurance, this is one of the aspects that make this event special – that it will be hosted in the centre of the popular Oak Avenue in Cullinan, which is a beautiful road with a lot of good restaurants and tourist shops. It is therefore a great event to visit even for non-riding family members.
The route, comprising of hand built and 4x4 trails, bridges, dirt roads, and a cattle track, is in fact, like a newly discovered diamond, beautiful but quite rough around the edges. Due to diamond mining, the route traverses areas inaccessible under normal circumstances. Four different distances, (70 km, 40 km, 20 km and 10 km), contribute to the race’s versatility, leaving it up to the participants which challenge to accept.
If you are not racing and laughing in the face of dangerous levels of adrenalin, come show your support. Besides witnessing world class mountain biking and experiencing Cullinan’s cultural and historical attractions, who knows, maybe you will be the founder of the next Cullinan diamond!