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Image credit: www.jeffreysbaysport.co.za

“Last year’s race had a little bit of everything,” commented multiple Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour winner Anriëtte Schoeman, for who the 2013 event was only her second mountain bike event. “It had singletrack, gravel roads, Arthur’s bridge, river crossings – you name it,” she said, explaining that a big attraction was the fact that even though her MTB skills weren’t at an expert level, the route was challenging, yet easy enough to still enjoy it.

The 2014 event will feature four routes (a 20km fun ride, 40km, 60km and 85km) all designed by Arthur Joubert. Each shows a classic combination of his skills as mountain-biking enthusiast and construction specialist and riders can expect fast farm roads, cattle tracks and purpose-built singletrack.

The 20km is aimed at kiddies and those doing an MTB race for the first time, while the the 40km is for the adventurous fun rider looking to ride a significant distance. Both routes will be fairly flat and non-technical. The longer routes require good technical proficiency and some training in the legs, with the 60km being aimed at trail riders and the 85km fit racers with marathon experience.

Schoeman has since finished various high profile races (including the RECM Knysna 200, PE-Plett and Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek), so is excited for the 2014 event and is looking to race the 85-kilometre route. “Even though I don't ever train on my MTB I enjoy being thrown in the deep-end and just jumping on the bike and doing some off-road races,” she said.

Highlights of the longer routes are bound to be the trademark wooden bridges and berms along the Seekoei River (of which more have been constructed) as well as newly added twisty, flowing singletrack. There is also a vegetation ‘tunnel’ which will no doubt be a talking point, post race. “I love singletrack,” Schoeman said, so the fact that more has been added to the route will make it even more fun!”

The JBay MTB Open will once again start and finish at Fountains Mall. Not only will this ensure a convenient base for competitors and spectator but make for a great post race vibe. For more information and to enter online, visit www.jeffreysbaysport.co.za