The all-important race offers valuable UCI points for those taking part, and forms part of the second annual Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival taking place from 30 April – 2 May.

ccs-62657-0-54847800-1461677003.jpg2016 Elite Women's African Continental MTB XCO Champion, Mariske Strauss (Novus OMX Pro MTB Team), is ready to bring her "A" game to the UCI HC Category XCO race at Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday 30 April. Photo: Andrew McFadden/BOOGS Photography

“I am feeling super, and everything seems to be sorted and raring to go,” said the Novus OMX Pro Team rider. “We are hopefully getting our new hard tail mountain bikes soon - they’re being built up as we speak, which is very exciting,” she added.

Strauss says that she will be hitting the province with a brand new bike and a brand new attitude, and hopes for a fabulous race.

“I’m super excited to race again and can’t wait to see what Pietermaritzburg gives me this time,” she said. The always-cheerful Capetonian is positive despite her bad training session at the same venue for a National Cup race last year where she crashed and ended up on crutches before the event. “Hopefully I’ll keep everything intact – it’s almost a year since I raced there last, not that I actually got to the racing part,” she laughed.

Strauss concluded by saying that she will be staying positive and happy ahead of the race, and is crossing her fingers that she stays “in one piece” during the race.

The long weekend is a super time to spend with friends and family alike, taking part in the races or merely supporting loved ones who do. The venue has on offer a variety of mountain bike activities for the whole family, and more than enough shops and restaurants for the spectators.

Online pre-entries for the 2016 MTB Festival are open and close at midnight tonight (Tuesday 26 April). Click here to enter:

Other mountain bike events that will be held over the course of the weekend at the PMB MTB Festival are:

Saturday 30 April
UCI Junior World Series XCO

Sunday 1 May
SA Marathon Championships Masters 30+
Development Races

Monday 2 May
Enduro Competition
KZN Inter-Schools MTB Series

The Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival takes place at Cascades MTB Park from 30 April to 2 May 2016 and forms part of the greater Africa Bike City project in Pietermaritzburg. The legacy project and continued development of the venue of Cascades MTB Park as well as staff, cyclists and officials strengthens the local resource pool as we build towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games. For more information on the 2016 PMB MTB Festival, click here: