A total of 18 different categories meant riders from all shapes, sizes and ages signed up for the day. The 4km loop combined a good mix of climbs and descends with more than half of the route visible from the spectators' viewpoint near the finish line. The long climb close to the start quickly sorted the men and women from the boys and girls and it was clear who was serious about winning. The winding singletrack switchbacks tested the riders' cornering abilities and with passing impossible on the narrow singletrack, it very often lead to riders bunching up. A quick sprint through the mini forest took the riders around the dam, wrapping up a lap around the track.
Elite men's winner Renay Groustra completed his 8 laps in 1.26.23, with elite women's winner Lolita van Aardt, completing her 6 laps in 1.24.41.
"The route wasn't very technical, but it was quite bumpy. I was running on a hardtail and probably put a bit too much pressure in my tires, so it hurt me in the end. I put in quite a bit of work in the gym this week, so my legs were pretty sore in the beginnig but as the race progressed they opened up a bit. I love racing cross country and it was good to come out today and win the race. I'm really pleased with the amount of money and effort Paarl Media put into the event, and I just want to thank my sponsor RSAweb for supporting me." ~ Renay Groustra, 1st Elite Men
"Its great to see that XC racing in South Africa is on the up. There's more support and spectators and young guys coming through. The route was technical enough - they put in a good effort in building a nice, interesting track. Still we need more technical and tougher tracks, to prepare more for the international scene, but we are heading in the right direction." ~ Nico Pfitzenmaier, 2nd Elite Men
Full results to of all the categories can be found here.
A big thank you goes out to the sponsors Paarl Media Group, Durbanville Commercial Printers, NMC Construction Group, Cycle Funatic, Gecko Cycles, Dragon Sports, Red Bull, Price-Waterhouse Coopers, Mondi and Rob Starke for making Contermanskloof MTB Trails available.
Words and images: Ewald Sadie