Not only will there be an impressive Elite field on the start line this weekend, but also some very eager Juniors, ready to battle their hearts out for their respective titles.

ccs-62657-0-35353800-1466588457.jpg
Jowetts Cycles rider, Dean Wortmann, is ready for the action at the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Championships at Cascades MTB Park on Saturday 25 June 2016. Photo credit: Paul Botma

Jowetts Cycles’ Dean Wortmann is more ready than ever to put his preparation to the test. “I'm very positive that this weekend’s Champs is going to go well,” he said. Wortmann has had a successful 2016 season so far, winning the overall KZNMTB Provincial XCO Cup Series in the Junior Men’s age group. “I'm hoping that I get similar results to those in the past XCO races,” he added.

Last year Wortmann had battles with lower back pain, which have since then been rectified, allowing him to focus more on the pedal and not the pain. “I also feel that my technical skills and my climbing have improved a lot since this time last year,” he added.

18-year-old Wortmann, who also enjoys dabbling in marathon races, has decided to focus the next half of this year in the aforementioned discipline. “Namely the ROAG Series, which I'm currently leading with four races to go. I'm hoping to take the win in the Junior category,” he said.

He also is focused on his studies at Wartburg-Kirchdorf School, as Matric Trials and Final examinations are just around the corner.

Junior Women’s hopeful, Christie-Leigh Hearder (Absolute Cycling) is looking forward to an epic race on the weekend. “I haven't done a cross-country race in quite some time, so I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend's race. I'm also excited to put my new bike to the test on the Cascades course, she said.

ccs-62657-0-46711500-1466588456.jpg
Christie-Leigh Hearder (Absolute Cycling) is keen to put her XCO skills to the test at the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial XCO Championships at Cascades MTB Park on Saturday 25 June 2016. Photo credit: Paul Botma

Hearder, who claimed fourth overall place in the Junior Women’s category at the National XCO Cup Series, and first Junior woman overall in the KZNMTB Provincial XCO Series, is hoping for similar results on Saturday. “I plan to ride as fast as I can and have as much fun in doing so and hopefully I will get the results I want,” she said.

Even though this is a once-off chance, Hearder says that she views the Champs as she does any other race, and never changes the amount of pressure involved. “Every race is a shot to prove yourself, but if you don't, you move on to the next one and try again,” she said.

Hearder feels that her biggest improvement this year has been her confidence level on the bike. “I feel that I've definitely grown and become more confident in racing and in doing the technical aspects of riding. But mostly I think I have found a greater passion for riding my bike,” she added.

Entries for the KZNMTB Provincial XCO Championships are open and close at midnight on Wednesday 22 June. To enter, click here: http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1734. Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal fee of R50.

For any further details, please visit www.kznmtb.co.za. For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde info@kznmtb.co.za.