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Mountain biking is, however quite an intense and highly technical sport to master, which makes it intimidating for women to master the sport in this mostly male-dominated arena. Enter Vanessa Haywood – internationally and locally known as the leading lady in the film District 9 and also a top model – Vanessa has moved into the extreme sporting world of endurance mountain biking with perceived ease, including completing two ABSA Cape Epic’s and the Leadville 100 miler in Colorado.

“When I first started mountain biking, I was thrown into the deep end! Not many women were mountain biking at the time either. I didn't acquire the much needed skills until many years later & I found myself a bit isolated within a mostly male-dominated sport,” explains Vanessa.

So to ensure other women do not go through this, Vanessa has organised a mountain biking weekend specifically for woman at the beautiful Arabella Country Estate from the 6th to the 8th of December 2013. It will be a first in a series of weekends hosted by her.

“This event is aimed at woman wanting to experience a fun, stress-free weekend of awesome riding and socializing. Men and families will however get a chance soon too! I'll be hosting several of these events across the country over the next year. I hope to see you at one of them!" reassures Vanessa.

Guests will be staying at the 5-star Arabella Hotel & Spa, where they will be taught basic technical and mechanical skills to equip them to become competent mountain bikers. Long and short routes will be offered on the both the 7th and 8th of December for guests to choose from, with water and snack points en route. Massages are an optional extra and need to booked in advance, and the Spa is offering 20% off all treatments for guests too.

For R5 500 per person single and R3 900 per person sharing, you can enjoy 2 luxurious nights at the Arabella, all meals included (excluding beverages) and ride fantastic mountain bike routes.

All skills levels are welcome, from those who have just purchased their first mountain bike, to those who regularly go out to play in the mountains but would like to learn more.

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