Having claimed the women’s category of the inaugural Quattro ROAG Series in 2012 and being a big fan of the annual three day spectacle, Bergstrom (Coffeeberry Momsen) wasted little time in getting her entry in for this year’s event and eagerly preparing for a bumper mountain biking weekend.
“I’ve been training hard, I'm ready and I’m going to win,” said a confident and excited Bergstrom. “Well that’s the plan anyway!”
“I’ll be up there on both Saturday, for the enduro, and Sunday, for the Sappi 60km Karkloof Classic and I’m sure it’s going to be a great weekend once again.
With plenty of experience on the Karkloof trails, a new training regime and diet and the bravery and determination of a Jack Russell, Bergstrom’s fellow top female competitors won’t be under any illusions as to what to expect from the gritty North Coast performer.
Top women's performer Natalie Bergstrom (Coffeeberry Momsen) will be out to do well in both the Sappi 60km Karkloof Classic and the Stihl Karkloof Classic when she takes to the trails at the Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival from 19-21 April.
Chris van Lennep/ Gameplan Media
“In the 60km race I’ll go out there and look to enjoy myself the whole way but it should be a really good race for the women’s title, especially now that the race is part of the ROAG Series.
“I’ll probably look to try put some pressure on the others from the get go if I can but its 60km so it’s quite a way and it will probably be quite a tactical race too.
“Even though I do most of my races at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg I enjoy the Karkloof area a lot. The challenge of the pretty gnarly climbs, the great single track, the technical last stretch through the endure course and the couple super fast sections too – it’s got it all.
Despite Bergstrom’s primary focus for the weekend being on Sunday’s 60km event she will be a lady on a mission on Saturday afternoon as well when she looks to reclaim the women’s title in the recently introduced Stihl Karkloof Enduro race which she claimed in 2012.
“Enduro racing is still pretty new in KZN. We had the one at the All Africa Challenge and at Karkloof last year, plus we did one at the Cycle Fest at Cascades at the start of this year, but that's it so far.
“I really enjoy it though. Not having a downhill bike my poor mountain bike takes a bit of a pounding but for an adrenalin junkie like me it such a cool opportunity to get a taste of downhill without having to sail through the air with my wheels meters off the ground.
“I’m also quite technically minded so I really do enjoy the style of racing enduro requires and I hope a couple more women will start to try it.
“I won the women’s section of last year’s Karkloof endure and I will definitely be back again this year to try defend my title!
With the Joberg2C just around the corner, an event she will tackle with Coffeeberry Momsen team mate and popular KZN MTB personality Con Malherbe, Bergstrom has plenty of kilometers in her legs at the moment and will be hoping for another solid weekend all round at this year’s festival.
“The Masters World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in August is definitely my focus this year. I want that jersey so badly! But things like the ROAG Series – which the Karkloof Classic is a part of – nationals and a heap of other races are all still certainly on the calendar for me as well.
The Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB Festival takes place from 19-21 April at Karkloof Country Club. Riders and spectators alike can stay up to speed with all the news and developments via the event’s Facebook page (Karkloof Mountain Bike Club) or on Twitter (@KarkloofMTB).
More info can also be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za