Thomson, who has had long associations and support from Thule/Pyga/Prime Institute of Sport, is anticipating a great showdown at the National Champs. “I am absolutely looking forward to Marathon Champs this year. If it’s anything remotely similar to the course at Cascades last year, then I’ll be very excited. It’s such a great course and area,” he said.

ccs-62657-0-69983900-1460707363.jpgFormer Springbok and Sharks rugby player, Jeremy Thomson, is looking forward to racing in his old home town as he takes on the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Masters Marathon Championships on Sunday 1 May, which forms part of the Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival at Cascades MTB Park from 30 April to 2 May. Photo: Darren Goddard
On the subject of training and preparation, Thompson, who turns 49 in June, said: “I’ll be honest, trying to balance work and family and then trying to fit training somewhere in between is not easy. I try to get in three sessions on the stationary bike a week – I don’t ride on the road during the week. I also try to fit in a bit of running, and then on the weekends where I can, I enjoy to do some of the MTB classics.”

The ex-Maritzburg College pupil feels something special returning back to the hometown that taught him many a life lesson. “It will always hold a special place in my heart – I love Pietermaritzburg – I have such incredible memories from that place, not just cycling memories. And Cascades is just spectacular; the terrain and everything about it,” he added.

More comfortable riding races closer to an hour or less, Thompson stresses the importance of reserving energy in longer races: “My friend and I always laugh about this: anything over two hours is a bit crazy, and if we’re doing 80-odd kilometres, that’s close to four hours. I think if I don’t empty out the Smarties box too early I’ll be able to handle it. It’s probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about these sort of rides – the amount of energy you need to save during the race, and when to use it.”

Entries for the 2016 SA MTB Masters Marathon Championship are open, and close at midnight on Tuesday 26 April 2016. Click here to enter:

Over and above the 2016 SA MTB Masters Marathon Championship race on Sunday 1 May, there is also a 60-kilometre marathon for Open Men and Women, and a 20-kilometre fun ride for Open Men and Women categories.

Other mountain bike events that will be held over the course of the weekend 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: