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  1. BCX rider HB Kruger led from start to finish to claim the honours in the 60km feature race of the Paarl MTB Classic in Rhebokskloof Wine Estate today. Photo: Robert Ward The 25-year-old BCX pro from Paarl crossed the finish line in a time of 2:43:58, just under three minutes ahead of Robert Hobson, who stopped the clock in 2:46:34, with Jurgens Uys completing the podium in 2:48:30. The Boland event, which also offered a 30km option, was reinstated this year after a hiatus of a year and Kruger said it had the potential for significant growth. “There are amazing trails in this region and Paarl is a proper playground for mountain bikers,” said Kruger, who won the Liberty Winelands Encounter alongside teammate Waylon Woolcock last month. “It can definitely grow because it is very well organised, the course is well marked and there is a great vibe here.” He was delighted with his performance, even more so because it came in his backyard. “It was great to be able to ride to the start from my home, do the race, and then ride home afterwards,” he said. Kruger said the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, which is presented by ASG Events and the City of Drakenstein, offered a testing course with a total ascent of 1 700m. “That is a lot of climbing for this distance but being from Paarl I knew what to expect so I went quite hard up the first climb. “I built up a bit of gap and then I paced myself during the race and tried to stay alert to what was happening behind me.” Kruger said the conditions were dry and slippery, which meant he had to stay focused throughout. “The biggest challenge is going up Paarl Mountain, but there is some great single-track going down into Rhebokskloof. “However, it is a fairly long section and you still have to work coming down because it’s easy to make a mistake and take a tumble if you are not focused.” He said he had a technical issue over the closing 10km when his chain kept on slipping off the jockey wheel, but was able to manage the situation. Cape Town’s Carmen Buchacher (centre) won the women’s race in the Paarl MTB Classic in in Rhebokskloof Wine Estate today. At the podium presentation were, from left, Bestmed executive in marketing and distribution Chris Luyt, Robyn Assad (fourth), An-Li Kachelhoffer (second), Buchacher, Bianca Martinaglia (third) and Rozanna Schreiber (fifth). Photo: Robert Ward In the women’s race, Capetonian Carmen Buchacher also dominated from early on to lay the foundation for a comfortable victory and the 29-year-old was pleased to sign off in style before leaving for Europe later in the day. She clocked 3:11:51 to beat Team Bestmed-ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer (3:30:06) and Bianca Martinaglia (3:44:50). “I took the lead from the start and there was not that much pressure,” said Buchacher. “I was able to hold a steady pace throughout and to be cautious on the single-track because I’m flying out this evening so could not afford any mistakes.” She backed up Kruger’s view, describing it as “a phenomenal event”. “For example, they ensured there were enough water points along the way, especially where the sections were a bit hectic, so the general rider was well looked after.” Adding to that, she said it was “a beautiful region and the weather is great”. The men’s 30km race was won by Rudi Koen in 1:16:37. He was followed home by Fourie Fick in 1:22:06 and Bobby Troskie in 1:24:21. Yolande Peacock took the women’s title in 1:55:43, followed by Marike Jordaan in 2:11:03 and Yolanda Engelbrecht in 2:30:22.
  2. One aspect of XCO that I thoroughly enjoy is practice. Figuring out the fastest lines and plucking up the courage to attempt something new goes to the core of why I enjoy mountain biking. Coming back to Rhebokskloof after the race in February however, practice was a fairly straightforward, but worthwhile, affair. The course was largely the same with the most significant change being the start finish line which was now positioned next to the technical zone. This was a treat for the spectators as the whole race could be viewed from this area. With many of the series final positions already decided (it is decided on the rider's best three results) and a host of other events taking place over the long weekend, the turnout was a bit smaller than usual. The sub veteran category in which I race featured a mere six riders. Thankfully, as usual, we set off with the veterans and masters in one group, making it more of a contest. Thanks to the slightly smaller field, and the familiarity of most riders having raced each other throughout the series, the event took on a very relaxed vibe. The banter on the start line was at an all-time high despite a few looking to settle some season-long rivalries. Not much different to a ride out with your friends. I thoroughly enjoy the Rhebokskloof course. The climbs are real lung busters that will have you tasting blood while the technical descents are threatening enough to catch you out should you let your guard down. The rain hardened tacky dirt made it a very different experience to the dust storm of the race in February. Starts are one of my weak points. This time, I got caught up a bit on the edge of the track for the opening sprint and was forced to take an uncomfortable line on the first corner. The first single track section was a bit congested through the rock garden so I decided to take the B-line to avoid the carnage. In hindsight, a bad decision as I came out 3 or 4 riders down. After a poor start, I set my pace and kept the laps ticking over. Unfortunately, the competitors in my age group were much faster than me so I set my sights on some veteran riders as competition. This lasted until they left the course four laps in. It was a bit lonely on the last lap and with no one to catch me I eased off the pace and enjoyed the open trails. The hard dirt meant that it was much easier to pick and hold a line compared to the race earlier in the year and I dutifully completed the technical sections without incident. It was the climbs however where I was thoroughly underperforming. The Rhebokskloof climbs are not the longest but they are steep. I just didn’t have the power to keep up the pace, especially on the second climb out of the technical/ feed zone which is cradled in an especially warm corner of the farm. There was a huge disaster, ok, just very mild irritation when I pulled over in the technical/ feed zone. I did not have a feeder so I left my bottle on the ground in the technical zone before the race. When I arrived at the start of my fourth lap, someone had accidentally removed my bottle. I quickly siphoned some liquid from another bottle and was on my way again (thank you to this unknown donor). I left a bit under-provisioned considering the heat but with just enough fluid to finish the race. At the end of the day, it was a hugely enjoyable race. In fact, the whole Western Cape XCO Series has been a pleasure to participate in. The volunteers and sponsors that make this happen each year are a special group and deserve huge credit for their efforts. Next up! The Western Cape Championships are taking place on 27 May at Bloemendal. Much like World Championships, this is a one off event where the winner takes the title. Even if you don’t have title ambitions, come along and share the experience with a great group of enthusiastic mountain bikers. Find out more about this event here. End of season reflections This year was the first time I had completed the Western Cape XCO series. Last year, after feeding throughout the series events, I summoned up the courage and competed in my first XCO at the provincial championships event at Bloemendal. I got lapped by Renay Groustra in that event and was pulled off the course early. That was rather disappointing, so I set myself a simple goal for this season, do not get lapped. And so far, so good.For some reason, XCO is an intimidating format for newcomers. It may be the technical courses, the unfamiliar lap racing format, the attentive crowds, or even the perception that it is for the best and fittest riders only. All I can say is, it's really not that hard, just take the plunge. The format is hugely rewarding and has quickly become my favourite form of racing. Every race you learn something new about your abilities on a bike. See you at Champs! The full results for the event.More photos by Chris Hitchcock can be viewed on his website with a selection from each category available on his Facebook page. For more information about upcoming events visit the WP Cycling website or the WPMTBC Facebook page.
  3. On Saturday 25 February, Rhebokskloof wine farm outside Paarl hosted the first 2017 LOAD National MTB XCO Series, in combination with the second event of Subaru Cape Town WC XCO MTB Series, and the World Junior World Series. The UCI points on offer, combined with the fact that a large number of pro riders have escaped the clutches of the European winter to train in Stellenbosch, saw a seriously stacked field line up in the Elite men's and women's categories, as well as some strong foreign contenders added to the mix in the junior field. This resulted in the biggest turnout ever recorded for a SA Cup event. Click here to view the article
  4. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys As an XCO venue, Rhebokskloof Wine Farm works particularly well with good facilities for riders and lots of viewing options with spectators having the option of enjoying a boerie roll on the shaded lawns adjacent to the finish line, or braving the heat to watch the action on course at one of the many exciting technical sections. The feed zones are superbly placed in the centre of the course making it the place to be if you want to watch the race unfold as the riders enter and exit view. The Sub Veteran mens field spreading out. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys The Elite mens field hammering up the first climb. Photo credit: Dimitri Vaindirlis The Course We discovered at Friday’s practice that the drought has hit Rhebokskloof hard, resulting in a super dry, loose, and dusty course. Heated racing and some spectacular crashes were inevitable. Fortunately on Saturday temperatures were less sweltering than they were on Friday.The first climb (as they usually are) was designed to tear the field apart and the gradient didn’t allow you to hide weak legs in the pack for a moment. A rocky undulating singletrack then took riders to the first A-line/ B-line split. The rocky sections here were lurking, waiting to catch tired riders, and some congestion was to be expected on the first lap. I found myself missing my line here on more than one occasion. The Elite ladies line up at the start The A-line took riders sharp left, down what might have been a comfortable descent, were it not for the thick dust making each change in direction treacherous. A slightly off camber granite slab caught me out at one point, and I found myself upside down like a turtle, unable to unclip, blocking the line as the leading Elite ladies entered and passed me in the rock garden. Trust mountain biking to keep you grounded! In this case, the B-line was much slower and equally treacherously dusty. I thought and it made more sense to tackle the A-line cautiously than lose time on the B-line. Kathrin Stirnemann of team Radon Factory Racing won the Elite Ladies race. Photo credit: Theo Bruwer A more successful attempt at the first A-line. Photo credit: Theo Bruwer A jeep track descent then took riders down and through the feed/ technical support zone. From here, switchbacks took riders up to the next killer climb of the day: a steep jeep track ascent, which again left no room for slacking off. Fortunately, a fairly flat traverse to another supremely dusty descent provided a brief opportunity for recovery. Some sweeping switchbacks, in full view of the feed zone, and bridge over the course, made for great viewing for support teams. The ladies field descending the first A-line. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys The final climb for the lap took riders into the welcome cool of the forest, where they faced another A-line/ B-line split. I only noticed the split on race day, and had to ignore the B-line. The A-line featured a drop off with a bit of a slippery entrance, which had me worried on each and every lap. A flowing and soothing switchback descent took riders out of the forest and back to the feed zone for the second time. Then it was on to the final challenges for the lap: a rock drop or a slightly awkward B-line around a tree. The rock drop could be rolled by the less skilled and adventurous, and I chose this option. Yet another awkward dusty turn and the course again split into a rock garden, which required a good set up and the right speed, or a slightly slower B-line. Overall the event was made very challenging by the dust, and probably the pressure of sharing a course with some of the best riders in the world. I think I messed up just about every obstacle out there at least once during the race, and left some skin, my dignity and lungs behind, but it was a learning curve like no other! It would be fantastic to see the turnout continue to grow, and the standard of racing pushed up like this at every event. The next WC series event will be held at Bloemendal on 1 April 2017. More details can be found here. The Racing With UCI points on offer for the elite riders and being a World Junior World Series stop, the racing was stacked with international riders.The Elite ladies race saw South African Cherie Redecker set the early pace but it was Swiss rider Kathrin Stirnemann who dominated the race, followed by Britain’s Annie Last, with Cherie coming home to take the bronze. Cherie Redecker took 3rd place and was the highest placed South African in the ladies Elite field. Photo credit: Theo Bruwer In the men’s field, a heated battle took place which saw New Zealander, and U23 world champion Samuel Gaze take first place. Followed by a sprint finish between Mathias Flückiger, and Nicola Rohrbach, both from Switzerland with Manuel Fumic narrowly missing a top three spot. Alan Hatherly was the highest placed South African rider, in fifth place. New Zealander and U23 World Champion Samuel Gaze won the mens Elite race. Photo credit: Dimitri Vaindirlis Alan Hatherly was the highest placed South African on the day, coming in fifth after suffering a mechanical. Photo credit: Dimitri Vaindirlis Full Results Full results can be found here. Enjoying the shade before the start. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys
  5. The first cross-country (XCO) round of the 2017 SA MTB Cup Series went down at the Hero Adventure Trails at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate on Saturday, 25 February. The first of four events in the country-wide series boasted one of the most star-studded international fields ever seen at a local XCO race. Click here to view the article
  6. Team Spur's 20-year-old XCO specialist Alan Hatherly faced stiff competition in the UCI Pro Elite Men’s field, which featured the reigning U23 XCO World Champion, Kiwi Sam Gaze and Danish former Junior Cyclocross and XCO World Champion Simon Andreassen. Not to mention UCI World Cup stalwarts Manual Fumic, Marcel Guerrini, Mathias Flückiger, Nicola Rohrbach, Simon Stiebjhan and Martin Gluth as well as all the top local contenders. “The start was pretty narrow, tricky and risky,” Alan explains. “I managed to navigate through there safely and got onto the first climb in about fifth,” he says. According to Alan he got to the first singletrack, well within his limit and realised some of the other guys were already breathing pretty hard. “I moved up into second there onto Sam (Gaze’s) wheel.” The two went under the start/finish banner together and it was here that Alan put the hammer down and went into the lead. He dictated the racing for the entire second lap and managed to string out the chasing field, but then disaster struck: “I looked back to see how far Manny (Fumic) was to our group and went off the track and into some sticks. I collected one that went into the derailleur and jammed the gears up,” he says. “I knew the tech zone was about 500m away, so I didn’t bother stopping and just sprinted up and over the hill – it was dragging badly but it was enough to turn the pedals.” He soldiered into the tech zone where Team Spur mechanic, JP Jacobs managed to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. “By then I had lost about 20 seconds, so I went out really hard to try catch up to the front group.” Alan did manage to make contact again, but just as he did Fumic, Flückiger and Rohrbach started attacking each other to try split it up before a powder-dry loose descent on the second part of the course. “That threw me way over the limit after my effort to catch them. So, from there it took a good few laps to regroup, take a few gels and find some energy,” he says. “I managed to hammer the last two laps again and finish off with fifth place.” Sam Gaze crossed the line in first place followed by Flückiger and Rorhbach, with Fumic in fourth. “On the whole I’m really happy with the first cross-country of the year. There is still a lot of work to do, ahead of my first peak in around April/May for Europe. But being the first South African home is really good for the National Series, and I take a lot of confidence from that." Team Spur’s marathon queen, Ariane Lüthi also fired up the sprint legs on Saturday among a strong field of lap-racing specialists, including Swiss compatriot Catherine Stirnemann, Germany's Helen Grobert, British Champ Annie Last, as well as South African XCO Champion Mariska Strauss and Cherie Redecker. After a brutal start and a few early setbacks Ariane charged home to a respectable fourth place after five laps of the Rhebokskloof circuit. “The start was really fast,” she picks up the story. “Everyone around me went out really fast and left me behind on the start stretch. I had a good warm-up and tried to sprint as fast as I can. I went as hard as I possibly could off the grid, but Cherie (Redecker) was leading out, Mariska (Strauss) was in there and Cathrine Stirnemann.” Ariane did manage to make up a few places on the first climb, but by that time the front bunch was away. Into the first technical descent a small hiccup saw her dismount her Specialized S-Works Epic, but she quickly recomposed and started the chase. “From there I was just playing a catch-up game,” she says. “I did start reeling them in and the longer I rode the better I felt and the more I got into the rhythm, which meant I was smoother through the technical sections.” “When I got to the support zone I heard the time split and knew I was close to Mariska, which was really motivating and then I managed to catch her there.” The race was eventually won by Kathrin Stirnemann, followed by Annie Last and Cherie Redecker. “I will take any position in a cross-country race to gather some points,” Ariane says. “It was good to go flat out and to get back into cross country riding – it’s just a completely different mindset to marathon racing; a different rhythm and speed.” “My diesel engine got going a little bit late but I take a good session from that.” Ariane, an ambassador for the popular Spur Schools Mountain Bike League also commented on how encouraging it was to see so many young racers at the event. “Marathon racing is more an ‘old peoples’ game’ and it was just nice to have so many young racers around, and having fun on their bikes. It’s quite inspiring.”
  7. Aside from local rider entries, race organisers have received 34 entries from over 14 different nations so far ahead of this weekend’s 2017 SA National XCO Cup Series event at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate in Paarl on Saturday 25 February. This also forms part of the UCI (cat 1) Junior World Series. Click here to view the article
  8. Martin Gluth is feeling fully recovered from the Tankwa Trek. “I am looking forward to test my XCO-shape against a great international line-up on Saturday,” he added. The OMX Pro Team rider took a test ride out on the course last weekend, and also feels that his training has been good in the build up to the weekend. When chatting about his favourite elements of XCO racing, Gluth said: “I like the intense starts of XCO racing as well as the technical parts of the tracks. The up and down suits me well.” Gluth has set himself big goals for the 2017 XCO World Cup season, and is hoping for a top 15 result at the races. Men's u23 British National Champion Frazer Clacherty looks forward to racing on South African soil at the first round of the 2017 SA National XCO Cup Series in Paarl on Saturday 25 February. Photo: Supplied Men’s u23 British National Champion Frazer Clacherty, who has visited the country only once before when he was a youngster, is currently staying with family in the Cape. “I haven’t been to the course yet but I have been told its most likely going to be super hot and dusty on race day. I’m hoping that it’s going to be a fast course so the heat won’t feel as bad, as it’s a lot different to the UK out here,” he said. Clacherty is hoping to retain his National Championship title this year, as well as a consistent top 15 in the World Cups. He is also wishing for a top 10 at the 2017 UCI MTB World Championships in Australia in September. Focus XC Team rider Marcel Guerrini considers South Africa his second home, as he has been training in Stellenbosch for the past few years. “It’s the perfect place to train over the off season and prepare your build for the season. For me its the not only the weather that makes Stellenbosch so nice, its the combination from trails, food, weather, and so many good guys like Nino Schurter, Christoph Sauser and a lot more that you can train with.” With 2017 being his first year in the Elite category, Guerinni wants to keep his goals realistic, despite his successful 2016 season. “I had a pretty good season World Cups with a win in Andorra and third overall, as well as third place at the World Championships in Nove Mesto,” he said. He hopes to be perfectly prepared and give it his all at the first World Cup in Nove Mesto this year, and judge from there where he needs to aim for. “My main goal would be to qualify for the World Championships in Cairns. Just to have the chance to be selected you have to ride top 15 at World Cup. And after that, we have eight places because of Nino’s World Championship title. So let’s see what’s possible,” he concluded. Nico Zünd is headed for the country for his first time, and looks so forward to exploring the country. “Even if I didn’t make the decision to do the race here, I would have still wanted to visit South Africa,” said the Swiss National. When chatting briefly about XCO racing, Zünd said: Its always one of the best feelings - to push yourself to the limit in a race. I like it because it feels so good if you go over your own limit but have fun at the same time.” 2017 is a very special year for Zünd as it’s his last year as a Junior, but plans to push himself hard to get the maximum out for great results. Mariske Strauss will be on the Elite Woman's startline at the first round of the 2017 SA National XCO Cup Series in Paarl on Saturday 25 February. Photo: Andrew McFadden. Lesotho’s The Sufferfest African Dream Team Manager, Mark West, will also be bringing riders down by car – close to 12 hours on the road. West said: “The team is a bit apprehensive about the XCO Cup because we expect some of the world's top riders to be there ahead of Cape Epic or using the Cape for pre-season training. We have been competing well in the past few weeks with wins in Bloemfontein and Pretoria, but this will be a big step up.” West Mentioned that the team has a new Elite Woman from Botswana, who has been mostly road racing until now because she didn’t own a bike. “We have just received a sponsored for her bike from Giant, but two weeks' training is not enough for this level of racing, so it’s going to be a challenge for her,” he said. The Sufferfest Team is 33 in the world rankings. “Our goal is to maintain that rank and work towards getting inside the top 30 teams in the world,” he said. “At this level of cycling, every place position gained is hard work. We are also preparing riders for 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, so 2017 is an important building season,” he added. The technical 5km lap route has an ascent of 200m. Most parts of the course are spectator friendly, offering great viewing spots to those coming to support loved ones. Registration and route practice will be on Friday 24 February 2017 from 9:00 to 16:00. Racing begins at 8am on 25 February with the Nippers (u9&u10) and Sprogs (u11&u12) races. The Pro-Elite Women and Junior Women races will take place at 10:00 and the Junior Men and Pro-Elite races are at 13:00 and 14:00 respectively. Event organisers are encouraging all in the area to come and support. Entries for the event are are closed, but late entries will be available at registration.
  9. An exciting mix of adventure trails awaits riders when the Sanlam MTB Invitational takes place from Rhebokskloof Wine Estate near Paarl on November 19 and 20. Click here to view the article
  10. Having completed a survey of the possible route options this week, race director Darren Herbst, from ASG Events, said they were looking forward to creating an interesting challenge for riders. Participants in the Sanlam MTB Invitational at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate near Paarl will have exciting new trails to explore. Photo: BrandBoom He said the route scouting for the race, which is co-presented by the City of Drakenstein, also formed the groundwork for creating a series of permanent trails in the area. “We expect this to be the catalyst to develop an area which has plenty of riding options for mountain bikers.” To this end, Herbst said they were looking at establishing a mix of single-track and other trails through a number of wine farms. “These will take in the natural terrain and highlight the breath-taking scenery,” he said. “We have already identified a number of new sections that will be used for the race itself.” Meanwhile, those wanting to compete in the Sanlam MTB Invitational still stand a chance to receive a state-of-the-art backpack after the early bird entry offer was extended to Friday. The extension was agreed to by event partners Scicon after the gift – a Solargenome Hydracharge backpack – proved extremely popular. While anyone can enter the race, which is based on a two-man team format, Herbst said families were encouraged to enter as father and son, mother and son, father and daughter or mother and daughter combinations. He added that they had teamed up with Cartrip, a company that offers an internet-based platform allowing drivers and passengers to arrange lifts together. For more info, or to enter, visit www.sanlammtbinvitational.co.za.
  11. The early bird incentive for the race, which will take place at Rhebokskloof near Paarl on November 19 and 20, will apply to those who enter before July 29. The family connection will again be an important part of the Sanlam MTB Invitational at Paarl in November. Photo: Supplied Race director Darren Herbst, from ASG Events, said riders who beat the deadline would receive a Scicon Solargenome Hydracharge backpack. He said the ergonomic hydration pack was equipped with the latest generation solar panel and other winning features to recharge yourself and your devices. The backpack, he said, was constructed of lightweight materials and had a functional design that made it the ideal companion for any outdoor activities. Herbst said the early bird giveaway model had a seven-litre capacity and provided extra room for food and had integrated pockets for bike and outdoor essentials. Cyclists wanting to enter the Sanlam MTB Invitational, which is co-presented by the City of Drakenstein, can also benefit from Scicon’s involvement in the event in terms of secure cycling transportation. A leading global brand, the Italian-based company promote and facilitate safe and stress-free travel by offering a range of exclusive offers to participants. Herbst said they were looking forward to another exciting test for the cyclists and were already in the process of planning the route. “I’m heading to the Western Cape next week and while we must still identify the exact way we are going to go, we are confident we will be able to provide something all the riders will enjoy.” The event is open to all members of the public, while Herbst said there would again be an emphasis on making it a family-oriented weekend to promote Sanlam’s family culture. “Riders can enter as father and son, mother and son, father and daughter or mother and daughter combinations,” said Herbst. “But the event is open to all members of the public as well.” “We have received entries of 1 000-plus in the last two years and we are confident we will get another big field.” He said the family aspect would extend to the accommodation. “While Paarl has many options for cyclists, we have designed a tented package for the Saturday evening that will make for an ideal family camping opportunity at the race village.” Keeping the focus on providing an incentive for the younger set, there will be a number of prizes in the siblings’ category, sponsored by Sanlam and ASG. These include Rudy Project eyewear and helmets, High 5 supplement hampers and Scicon backpacks. For more info, or to enter, visit www.sanlammtbinvitational.co.za.
  12. An exciting initiative will benefit early entries in the Sanlam MTB Invitational with a state-of-the-art backpack from presenting sponsors Scicon up for grabs. Click here to view the article
  13. Warm, windless conditions brought the inaugural Bestmed National Mountain Bike Series to a perfect close when hundreds of riders descended on Rhebokskloof Wine Estate for the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, presented by the City of Drakenstein and ASG, on Sunday. Click here to view the article
  14. Few riders enjoyed the final event of the series more than winner Rikus Visser, who climbed to an uncontested victory in the 60km feature race in a time of 2:48:58. Petrus Malherbe finished a distant second in 2:53:39, with Corbin Mann rounding out the podium in 2:54:51. “It was just a great day out on the bike,” said Visser. “I guess I was lucky that none of the higher ranked riders were here, but I guess each field has its own winner,” laughed the 43-year-old. Perfect conditions helped Rikus Visser secure the win at the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, presented by the City of Drakenstein and ASG, at the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate on Sunday. Photo: Warren Elsom | Capcha Photo “I rode last year and loved it. This race has some of the best single-track I have ever seen and the scenery is breathtaking. I will definitely come back next year.” With overnight rain having settled the dust on the trails, the three eventual podium finishers broke away from the main bunch soon after the start. Visser attacked again on the first climb and quickly opened up a gap on Malherbe and Mann. “I was behind the other two, but when we hit the first climb I was able to power through and pass them. Then we hit some single-track and the guys started closing the gap, but with the second climb I increased my lead again.” Showing his power once more on that ascent, he rode away from his chasers, increasing his lead to more than four minutes and cementing the victory. “I never planned on attacking on the climbs, the conditions were just so ideal that I was able to win it today. “We could not have asked for better; there was no wind to speak of and it wasn’t too hot either. Really just an awesome day for mountain biking.” The Durbanville resident’s victory comes only a day after he competed in the Coronation Double Century, making this a truly remarkable win. In the women’s race, Anja van Zyl, 24, was the first to cross the line in 3:39:24. She finished more than a minute ahead of Sarah Davies in 3:40:47, with Hendre de Villiers taking third in 3:48:39. The shorter 30km race that preceded the main event also delivered some great results. Rossouw Bekker led the men’s field from early in the race and won in a time of 1:32:47. He was followed home by runner-up Rudi Koen in 1:34:03 and third-placed Konrad Blumers in 1:35:07. Mia de Villiers was the unchallenged women’s race winner in 2:00:55. Rone Lourens claimed second in 2:07:36 and Teri-Joe Leyland completed the top three in 2:15:45. Find Paarl MTB Classic on Facebook or follow @PaarlMTBClassic.
  15. Following a successful inaugural Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, the race organisers have improved the route to showcase even more breathtaking landscapes and awesome single-track in the winelands surrounding the Western Cape Town. Click here to view the article
  16. The beautiful Rhebokskloof Wine Estate will now be the official host venue for Paarl’s signature mountain bike event on November 22, and route director Darren Herbst is very excited about the move. Riders can look forward to a new and improved route for this year's Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic as the event moves to the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate for its second edition. Photo: Jetline Action Photo "The move to Rhebokskloof is purely to improve the route and overall experience for all the riders taking part,” said Herbst. “One of the main considerations for the changes was the safety of the participants, and we feel that has been improved greatly." Herbst said about 70 per cent of the trail would be the same as last year, with much of the tar road sections being replaced by safer off-road trails. The venue change from the Parys Sports Grounds to Rhebokskloof on the northern slopes of Paarl Mountain gives them more access to the very popular single-track on the wine estate. "We always had an idea of what we wanted to do with the trail, but after last year's event a lot of the riders had some suggestions, and we took them to heart. “We listened to the guys and came up with some awesome new route ideas," said Herbst. The trails at Rhebokskloof consist of a 14km and an extended 21km section that will form part of both the 30km and 60km races that make up the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic. While sections of the Rhebokskloof trails were incorporated into last year's feature route, Herbst said the short-course riders would also get to experience the popular trail and enjoy a real mountain biking experience. "Riders of both distances will get to ride parts of Rhebokskloof's amazing single-track. We did not get to showcase enough of Rhebokskloof last year, and now we are very excited at the prospect." Herbst added that Rhebokskloof’s versatility as a venue offered much more for riders and their families. “The restaurant offers great meals, there is entertainment for little ones and wine lovers can enjoy the estate’s wide selection of fine wines. "I believe we are creating something really great with this event, and the shift to the new venue is just another improvement we are bringing to the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic," said Herbst. The field for the classic, which is presented by the City of Drakenstein and ASG Events, will be limited to 1 500 riders. As the final mountain biking event in the Bestmed National Cycling Series, it is expected to draw significant interest from riders vying for overall honours. Enter at www.asgevents.co.za before November 15. For more info, e-mail eventsupport@asgworld.co.za or phone 076 621 1807. Alternatively, find Paarl MTB Classic on Facebook or follow @PaarlMTBClassic.
  17. There's something truly special about riding unknown trails and new terrain. Whether you've traveled across the globe to get there, or it's a local trail that you've overlooked or not had the chance to ride yet, it's that feeling that reminds us why we do this. The uncertainty of how long this climb actually is, or what lies around the next bend, keeps you fully focused in that moment, and removed from the rest of the world. Click here to view the article
  18. With daily access to incredible media and stories portraying the world's best riders in the world's best locations, we often forget what adventures might be waiting for us just around the corner. It's all too easy to sit in front of your screen, soaking up someone else's experience and wishing you lived near better trails, with bigger mountains and better weather. Hopefully this photo series will inspire you to step outside, get on your bike and explore more. About 60km from Cape Town lies the historic town of Paarl. Part of the winelands region of South Africa, it features a landscape ideal for mountain biking and hosts a long list of trails, suited to all grades of riding. Guarded on the one side by the majestic Paarl Rock granite mountain, and on the other by the Klein-Drakenstein and Du Toitskloof Mountains, Paarl truly is a place of scenic beauty with endless riding options. Despite the blistering summers heat, dry and dusty trails, we made our way out there to see what it has to offer. "The area around the town of Paarl is fast becoming a playground that iRideAfrica visits regularly on our guided trips. The massive granite domes are encircled by trails that can cater towards every type of rider, not to mention the multitude of great venues for great lunches and beer or wine tasting. The Paarl mountain reserve has beautiful sweeping dirt roads and sweeping vistas of the vineyards towards Table Mountain and now we have these great trails in Rhebokskloof that are easy enough for beginners but still fun for those with more skill. Even as an owner and guide for a company that takes people riding all year, I am still so excited to ride new trails where I can get an opportunity to experience what our guests must feel like when I am showing them our trail network. - Daniel Dobinson - iRideAfrica" On our way through the historic town of Paarl. The van showing the signs of many epic trips - as it should. Rookie mistake #1 - Don't ride tubes. Daniel popping a cold brew. Daniel attacking the flowing singletrack with the last rays chasing him. Post ride beer as evening sets. Probably the number 1 incentive to make it back. It's been real Paarl, see you again soon. Riders: Matthieu Hamel and Daniel Dobinson. Experience your own Trail Daze with iRide Africa.
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