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  1. Warrenlee

    Attakwas 2020

    Training for Attakwas 2020
  2. Matt Beers celebrates his Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen title. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. A muddy Beers was the first rider across the line and the only person to break the 5-hour barrier in 2020. His winning time of 4 hours, 59 minutes and 25 seconds was 12 minutes off the course record. That was no reflection on the effort the man from Knysna put in though. A slower first 30 kilometres, a head wind in the final 60 kilometres and tacky roads which pilfered momentum at every opportunity made for unfavourable conditions for chasing the record. “I’m almost glad I’ve had a 5-year break from the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen” Beers joked upon crossing the finish line. “It gave me time to forget how tough it is!” Turning his attention to the explanation of how the race was won he revealed: “We were a fairly big group until nearly 30 kilometres to go. I’d increased the pace to try to shed a few riders from the group before that, but then on one of those long rolling climbs I attacked and got a bit of a gap.” Overcast skies, but no rain, in Oudtshoorn gave way to an increasingly persistent drizzle as the day wore on. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I had hoped that Wessel [botha] would be able to come with me, and maybe I should have waited. But it worked out fine in the end. I chose to ride with a dropper seatpost for the aero advantage of being able to get lower on the descents. That helped me tuck in and I extended my lead on that first descent in particular.” “I knew that Philip [buys], Matthys [beukes] and Gert [Heyns] would be trying to hunt me down, so I had to go full gas to the line. I won’t lie, it got dark at times. But not that dark, I could still push and I’m really happy with my form so early in the season. It’s a good sign” the 2020 race winner concluded. After Beer’s attack split the lead group apart, his teammate Wessel Botha held second position for nearly 25 kilometres. Matthys Beukes, who started the day as the defending champion, stormed past the 21-year-old NAD Pro MTB rider in the final 5 kilometres. Beukes caught Botha on the final climb, powering past. Botha was unable to jump onto Beukes’ wheel and the PYGA Euro Steel rider rode away to second position. Botha crossed the line third. In the women’s race Stenerhag made the racing from the first serious climb of the day. The Swedish marathon champion distanced her fellow elite women at the 30-kilometre mark and only Robyn de Groot could bridge across to her. “My chain had dropped just before that climb and when I saw Jennie [stenerhag] going I knew I had to put in an effort. I started the climb at the back of the group but dug deep to catch her over the summit” De Groot recounted. Jennie Stenerhag out-sprinted Robyn de Groot to take her maiden Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen win at the eighth time of asking. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I had hoped that Barbara [benko] or Yolande [de Villiers] would come with me. But it wasn’t to be. So, Jennie and I pushed on. We raced together for two and a half seasons so we know each other really well” De Groot added. The dormakaba rider was the first women over the Queen of the Mountain climb into the Attakwaskloof, followed closely by Stenerhag. The Fairtree Capital and dormakaba riders remained together until the finishing straight. “I’ve lost out in a sprint here before” Stenerhag said, reliving the heart-ache of 2019. “Last year I was coming back from an injury and didn’t contest the turn into the cement stripped descent into Pine Creek Resort as fiercely as I could have. This year I made sure to get onto that section first and around the penultimate corner in the lead. Then it was just about keeping the inside line and once I rounded the final bend to kick with everything I had.” Jennie Stenerhag and Robyn de Groot spent 90 kilometres together at the front of the women’s race. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. “I’ve tried to win this race 8 times now” Stenerhag smiled. “Each time before this year I’ve come up short, so that makes the victory all the sweeter.” Stenerhag’s winning time was 5 hours, 54 minutes and 23 seconds. De Groot crossed the finish line a single second later. Hungarian cross-country champion Barbara Benko was third, completing the podium in her Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen debut. Further back in the field there were big smiles, despite the rain. As the afternoon wore on the precipitation fell with increased intensity and each rider across the Pine Creek Resort finish line was muddier than the last. “One thing you can be guaranteed of at the Atttakwas is that it will be extreme” said Oliver Munnik, who finished in forty sixth position overall. “Revered for heat, the 2020 edition started the decade off with uncharacteristically cool weather which gave way to drizzle and a stiff breeze” Munnik continued. “Initially the wind was a tail wind before swinging to a lactic acid inducing head wind for the final 50 kilometres. The wet conditions did not dampen our spirits however and the camaraderie was awesome, with everyone suffering together. The challenges of the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen made the Spur burger at the finish line, in Groot Brak, better than ever. It is one of those races which hurts at the time, but which you have to come back to every year.” Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen men’s podium (from left to right): Michael Olsson, Matthys Beukes, Matt Beers, Wessel Botha and Gert Hynes. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen | Results:Men’s 1. Matt Beers, NAD Pro MTB (4:59:25) 2. Matthys Beukes, PYGA Euro Steel (5:06:26 | +07:01) 3. Wessel Botha, NAD Pro MTB (5:08:06 | +08:41) 4. Michael Olsson, Allerbike (5:10:19 | +10:54) 5. Gert Heyns, DSV Pro Cycling (5:11:20 | +11:55) Women’s 1. Jennie Stenerhag, Fairtree Capital (5:54:23) 2. Robyn de Groot, dormakaba (5:54:24 | +00:01) 3. Barbara Benko, Ghost Factory Racing (6:03:48 | +09:24) 4. Yolande de Villiers, Mad Macs (6:07:08 | +12:45) 5. Laura Stark, TB Werner (6:26:52 | +32:29) For the full results please visit www.atta.co.za.
  3. PYGA Euro Steel’s Matthys Beukes starts as one of the race’s five-star favourites, as he aims to win his third consecutive, Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen, title. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Southern Cape locals, Matthys Beukes and Robyn de Groot start as favourites. Beukes will, in fact, be looking to add a fourth title and his third successive win to his palmarès. The PYGA Euro Steel star notched up victories in the 2012, 2018 and 2019 editions. De Groot meanwhile will be keen to show that her late 2019 form signalled a true return to her best after iliac artery surgery early last year. They will however not have things all their own way. The elite men’s race in particular features an exceptionally deep field. Alongside Beukes there is a former winner, in Karl Platt, the South African national marathon champion, Arno du Toit, Beukes’ teammate Philip Buys, and returning for the first time since 2015, Matt Beers. The list of potential winners does not end there, however. A stacked elite men’s field will be looking to make use of favourable weather conditions to challenge Urs Huber’s 2016 course record of 4 hours, 47 minutes and 46 seconds in 2020. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Nico Bell, Wessel Botha, Gert Heyns, Nicol Carstens, Marco Joubert, Timothy Hammond, Keagan Bontekoning, Sebastian Stark, Tristan de Lange, and Jan Withaar all deserve special mentions. As do the recent WorldTour road racers returning to mountain biking, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter. How the former Dimension Data (now Team NTT) riders, who are racing as Team First Move, will fare on their return to wide tyres will be one of the race’s main subplots. The main battle though is likely to unfold between a group of three five-star favourites; Beukes, Buys and Beers. Beukes holds the aces of, Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen, winning know-how. He dipped below the five-hour mark in both his 2018 and 2019 winning rides, and if given enough assistance by his rivals in 2020 he, or the eventual winner, could well break Urs Huber’s four-year-old course record. In Buys, Beukes has a partner for much of the race. The pair both ride for the PYGA Euro Steel team and should work together to minimise the risk posed by NAD Pro MTB’s Beers. Beers for his part will find support from teammates Bell and Botha. Should it come down to a sprint team tactics will be vital; but it is unlikely that the rolling roads towards the finish line will allow a group to reach the Pine Creek Resort, in Great Brak River, together. Unlikely as it was the 2019 elite women’s race came down to a sprint finish, providing one of the most thrilling finales in the event’s thirteen edition history. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. Though that is exactly what happened in the 2019 elite women’s race; when Yolande de Villiers held off Samantha Sanders and Jennie Stenerhag to win the title. In 2020 an injury enforces the absence of South African national marathon champion Sanders and De Villiers’ ongoing rehabilitation from a broken leg means that De Groot is the clear favourite. It would be unwise though to write De Villiers off completely. The woman from Oudtshoorn knowns the route like the back of her hand and could spring a surprise on the more highly fancied riders in the field. 2019 third place finisher, Stenerhag, remains a constant threat in the race too. As do Sarah Hill, Theresa Ralph, Amy McDougall and Sabine Spitz. The rugged Attakwaskloof, inaccessible to mountain bikers outside of the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen helps provide the challenging route which gives the race its Hell of the South nickname. Photo by ZC Marketing Consulting. The unknown quantity in the elite women’s field is the Hungarian debutant, Barbara Benko. She has however spent ample time racing and training in South Africa in recent years, so the conditions should not be too alien to her. The Ghost Factory Racing star is arguably the only elite rider, in the men’s or women’s field, with serious Olympic aspirations for later in 2020. So, it will be interesting to see if she is prepared to empty herself in pursuit of victory on Saturday with such a long season still ahead. Mountain biking fans can follow the action live; with pre-race interviews from the Queens Hotel in Oudtshoorn, from 15h00 on Friday 17 January. The racing gets underway at 06h30, from the Chandelier Game Lodge, on Saturday the 18th. Live updates and interviews will be posted to the race’s official Twitter handle, @attakwas, throughout. For more photos, videos and rider reactions please follow @attakwasmtb on Instagram and like the Attakwas Extreme Facebook page. For more information please visit www.atta.co.za.
  4. If you’ve ever ridden the Attakwas Extreme, revered as the ‘Hell of the South’, you’ll know it is more of a survival game than an event where you ‘dance on the pedals’. Having been privileged to race the last few seasons with the sport’s best-of-the-best equipment (which in terms of bikes is a 10kg carbon dual sus) I accepted a challenge ... from one of my cheeky colleagues at Rush Sport to have a cup of cement for breakfast and ride the 112 km Attakwas on the new Signal Elite hardtail. Something we can all agree on, is that when the product manager at Signal Bikes designed and specced the Elite, he did not envision the bike lining up on the front row of A-Batch at South Africa’s toughest one-day event. So with a torrent of cement swirling in my stomach, the one and only Paul Valstar counted us down, the gun went off, and there was simply no turning back. Looking around at the bikes in the group, I wondered what on earth I had done. It was too late to chicken out now. From the outset, the Signal Elite performed like a street fighter with nothing to lose. Having brought a knife to a gunfight, the underdog was negotiating the torturous terrain like a boss. Adrenaline pumped through my veins like the Tugela in flood. Before I knew it, I was bleeding through my eyeballs in a tiny bunch, bobbing up and down, re-learning how to shift with a 2x11 Shimano SLX drive train! I somehow managed to engage the mongrel gene and stuck with the dudes up until the beginning of the Attakwas, 42 kms in. On the limit, I had to pull the pin and calm down. I simply could not hold that pace and, had I blown, the crater would have been visible from space. Having backed off, the lactic acid drained from my eyeballs and I was able to negotiate the Attakwas Kloof without any hassles … in fact, it was actually quite rad! The Elite and I were fast becoming friends. Of course, the ride-experience through the rocky, sandy jeep tracks was not as silky smooth as it would have been on a R100k chariot, but let me tell you, the Elite really did impress me. Despite taking a severe beating, the set of high volume 2.35” Maxxis Rekon Race tyres was faultless. Like most modern equipment these days, the tyres performed superbly and played a big role in ‘smoothing’ out the terrain. With the kloof behind us, a quick refuel at Bonniedale led riders onto the open roads that form the second half of the race. Incredibly, despite the technicality and brutality of the terrain up until this point, the Attakwas Extreme in fact only starts when you reach the district roads and the massive rollers that ‘tune you howzit’ on your way towards Pine Creek Resort in Groot Brak River. I can unashamedly admit that my small blade was literally a lifesaver on the steep inclines, while on the downhills, it was aero-tucks and drifts for days! Isn’t it so awesome that bike riding can be torturously tough one second and breathtakingly effortless the next? Thanks to a tailwind sent from heaven, one or two packets of salty peanuts and raisins and a few cups of coke, my chariot and I crested an incline to be greeted by the Indian Ocean and the Groot Brak River lagoon. What a sight that was! The joy. The relief. The satisfaction. It was a brilliant feeling and special moment knowing that the Signal Elite, a sub R20k alloy hardtail, had proved itself tough enough for the Attakwas. This is a finisher’s medal I’ll hang on to! Oli's Bike Specifications: MODELSIGNAL ELITEFRAMEX6 Hydro-formed Alloy / Internal Cable RoutingFORKRockShox 30 SILVER TK REMOTE 29" 9MM- QRBRAKESShimano DEORECHAINWHEELShimanoFRONT DERAILLEURShimano SLX - 2x11spdREAR DERAILLEURShimano SLX - 2 x 11spdSHIFTERSShimano SLX - 2 x 11spdRIMCustom Signal ALEX Rim - DP-21HUBSShimanoTYREC1671 - CST CAMBER - 29''*2.25'' 60TPI / TRFINISHING KITSignal Racing TechATTAKWAS TYRESMaxxis Rekon Race 29x2.35" TR EXO Find out more about the bike on the Signal Bicycles website.
  5. The event doubles as the opening race of the UCI Marathon Mountain Bike calendar, and is renowned for attracting some of the world’s top racing talent. Among the pretenders to Beukes’ throne this year was ultra-endurance legend Karl Platt from Team Bulls and Pyga Euro Steel teammate Philip Buys. Matthys Beukes during his tactical race at the 'Hell of the South'. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za In a tightly fought tactical race, Beukes put the highly competitive field to the test with multiple attacks along the unforgiving 121km route. Early mechanical issues took both Buys and Platt out of contention for the title, leaving Heyns, Carstens, and Arno du Toit pushing to keep up with Beukes’ blistering pace. Many would presume that the toughest part of the race was over when riders reached the top of the infamous Attakwas “King of the Mountain” climb. The true test of grit had only just begun, however, with the undulating terrain over the final 60 km’s to the finish line. It was incredibly exciting to watch as Beukes broke away from the group at this point to establish and extend an overall lead to almost 5 minutes. “This is truly one of the toughest races on the calendar and a great test of physical and mental fitness early in the season. One of my goals was to beat Urs Huber’s record today, but going so hard from the start of the race meant that cramps set in later on. Happy to take the win though,” said an elated Beukes. Matthys Beukes celebrates with his family at the finish line. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za. Rounding out the all South African podium was Gert Heyns (DSV Pro Cycling) who managed to snatch up second, and a young Nicol Carstens (Imbuko Giant) who finished in third. It was a ground-breaking win in Carstens’ still very young career, and an unexpected thrashing for many salted elite riders in the field. The women’s race proved to be a truly jaw-dropping spectacle to witness. As predicted, some of South Africa’s brightest stars Candice Lill (Summit), Sam Sanders (Dormakaba), and Yolande de Villiers; and Sweden’s Jennie Stenerhag (Fairtree Silverback) broke away early into the route. De Villiers and Jennie Stenerhag tackle some of South Africa's most technical terrain. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za. It seemed that victory was out of reach for De Villiers as she dropped off the pace of the leading group by more than 40 seconds for a large portion of the race. It has to be said that her local knowledge contributed to her carefully calculated effort to regain contact with the leaders at the last waterpoint. The crowd watched in disbelief as the three women sprinted for the line, with De Villiers snatching victory from the claws of defeat by a hair’s breadth. The pulsating sprint finish between Sanders, Stenerhag and De Villiers. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za. “It’s been over ten years since I last tasted this victory! It took everything I had to pace myself and save my legs until the very end. What a proud moment – my whole family is here to support me, it’s wonderful!” said De Villiers. Full results for the 2019 Attakwas are available here.
  6. Entries to the 2019 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, open on the 19th of February at midday. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Alongside the 121 kilometre main race, which takes in 2 900 metres of climbing as it traverses the Outeniqua Mountains via the Attakwaskloof from the Klein Karoo to the Garden Route, riders can enter the 52 kilometre long Attakwas Mini. The Attakwas Mini provides an introduction to ultra-marathon mountain biking for riders not yet prepared to take on the full race, looking to ride for the pleasure of mountain biking in a beautiful area, or for high school scholars taking part in an age-appropriate marathon format event. The Attakwas Extreme itself will retain its iconic key features: the challenging route, the Klein Karoo start and the festival like finish at Pine Creek Resort in Great Brak River. It will also retain its spot on the calendar as the South African mountain biking season opener; tracing the logical build-up from pre-season, through the Attakwas and the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, to the Absa Cape Epic. The rugged and rocky route makes the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, one of the most challenging events on the South African mountain biking calendar. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Entries to the 2019 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, open on the 19th of February 2018 and early bird entrants will pay the 2018 race price of R950 until the 31st of March. Thereafter the 2019 price of R990 will apply until the 31st of October, after which the fee will increase to R1 250 until entries close on the 4th of January, two weeks before the race. The Attakwas Mini entries go on sale alongside the Attakwas Extreme entries and are R270 per rider until online entries close on January the 4th, thereafter line entries for the Attakwas Mini will be available at registration on the 18th & 19th of January 2019. Entrants to the Attakwas Extreme will receive an official race t-shirt, along with route access through a Cape Nature reserve which is closed to the general public for all but the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Momentum Health and Momentum Multiply members will receive 15% off their entry fees when entering the Attakwas Extreme, and its sister events; the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen and the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. In 2018 the unseasonal summer downpour made the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, an uncharacteristically wet and muddy affair. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Entries open at midday on Monday the 19th of February and mountain bikers can commit to challenging themselves to attempt to conquer the Hell of the South by visiting www.atta.co.za. For more inspiration to enter the 2019 Attakwas Extreme please watch the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, television broadcast on SuperSport. The show premiers at 21:00 on the 26th of February and the full schedule can be found on the event website. Starting in the Klein Karoo and finishing at the coast in the Garden Route the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, traverses ever changing landscapes. Photo by Zoon Cronje.
  7. The twelfth edition of the race, best known for producing extreme heat and challenging riding conditions, was by no means an easy one – though many of the riders would have welcomed the cooler than usual conditions. The race started under clear skies at Chandelier Game Farm, outside Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo, but finished in unseasonal summer rains at Pine Creek Resort, in Groot Brak River. 3. The start of the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, saw the race attract its largest ever field. Photo by Zoon Cronje. The cool conditions which prevailed in the early phases of the race, before the riders entered the Attakwaskloof Nature Reserve, allowed for fast paced racing in the elite men’s race. The PYGA Euro Steel duo were the main protagonists leading up to the King of the Mountain climb. “Matthys (Beukes) and I really pushed the pace, aiming for the course record” Philip Buys explained. “We knew if we made it hard, and increased the pace on every climb we would cause the lactic acid to build up in the other rider’s legs” Beukes elaborated. Gert Heyns, of DSV, raced to the King of the Mountain title at the summit of the Attakwas Pass. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Gert Heyns, DSV, helped Beukes and Buys with the paces making duties and eventually forced the split with Beukes as Buys was unable to match the pair as they raced for the King of the Mountain hot spot prize. Heyns was first over the summit of the Attakwas but punctured soon thereafter in a tricky section which was to affect the women’s race too. 4. The PYGA Euro Steel riders, and Matthys Beukes in particular, set the pace from the off during the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Beukes forged ahead on his own, gradually extending his lead to three minutes and forty seconds at the 85 kilometre mark and a full nine minutes by the finish. Heyns never recovered from his puncture and ended up finishing in tenth position as a series of riders, led by Buys and Bohme passed him before he was eventually handed a pump and was able to re-inflate his tyre. Buys remained in second position until the 85km mark when the Team Bulls rider, Bohme, caught him. The pair then worked together until Buys could no longer match Bohme, allowing the German to ride away to a hard fought second position. Buys completed the podium making it a first and third for PYGA Euro Steel. 5. 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, race winner Matthys Beukes in action. Photo by Zoon Cronje. The women’s race started with a tactical battle of cat and mouse between the leading contenders. A mechanical forced Carmen Buchacher out of the lead group. Reaching the first feed zone at the forty six kilometre mark Ariane Lüthi lead a group which included Robyn de Groot, Sabine Spitz, Jennie Stenerhag, Candice Lill and Yolande de Villiers. Spitz then drove the pace on the Queen of the Mountain climb and one-by-one the bunch was whittled down until only Lüthi followed Spitz’s wheel and Stenerhag, though not able to stay in touching distance kept the leaders in sight. 7. Ariane Lüthi looks over her shoulder as she wonders when the assault on her lead, which never transpired, would come. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Spitz claimed the Queen of the Mountain prize but then the same fate which blighted Heyns affected her race. “I did not realise straight away that I double flatted,” Spitz said. “I plugged the rear tyre and then noticed that the front was flat on the next descent and had to stop to bomb it too.” “I used my strengths and rode the descents in the Attakwas as fast as I could,” Lüthi revealed upon being asked where the decisive move was made. With a gap established she relied on all her years of Attakwas Extreme experience to race to victory. “It was so lonely. I just time trialled all the way from water point three (at the 65 kilometre mark) to the finish” she elaborated. The past two years have been the leanest in terms of victories in Lüthi’s career, which makes the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, win all the sweeter. “I can’t believe it” a visibly emotional Lüthi confessed. “It is a massive confidence boost for the rest of the season.” Cape Brewing Co's Jennie Stenerhag crosses the finish line of the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, in second position. Photo by Zoon Cronje. Stenerhag gained a confidence boost too. “I had a silly crash just rolling home after finishing my intervals last week. I hurt my arm and it bothered me all week, so I only decided to ride yesterday (Friday) morning” Stenerhag said post-race. “I did not feel that good and I struggled a bit for focus between water points three and four” she said. All things considered then Stenerhag displayed the signs of repeating her dominant form from 2017, especially when she teams up again with Esther Süss for the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, in February. Spitz recovered to finish third behind Stenerhag after she managed to reel in local favourite De Villers. Spitz and De Villiers worked together for nearly thirty kilometres before the pair entered the final descent side-by-side. De Villiers opened a slight gap with a risky ride on the treacherous, moss covered downhill, but she carried too much speed into the final corner and only just avoided a crash – but the loss of momentum handed Spitz the third position. The 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, was certainly one for the record books. Not only was this the largest ever field of starters, but the rain which soaked the course made it the wettest Attakwas in the event’s twelve year history; and with Lüthi winning her sixth race and Beukes becoming the first South African winner since he last won the race in 2012 it live fondly in the memories of the victors in particular for many years to come. The 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, men's podium. From left to right: Frans Claes (4th), Philip Buys (3rd), Matthys Beukes (1st), Tim Bohme (2nd) and Dylan Rebello (5th). Photo by Marike Cronje. The 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, women's podium. From left to right: Yolande de Villiers (4th), Jennie Stenerhag (2nd), Ariane Lüthi (1st), Sabine Spitz (3rd) and Candice Lill (5th). Photo by Marike Cronje. Results | 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen UCI Men: 1. Matthys Beukes (4:56:56 2. Tim Bohme (5:06:02 | +09:06) 3. Philip Buys (5:12:13 | +15:17) 4. Frans Claes (5:18:38 | +21:41) 5. Dylan Rebello (5:20:23 | +23:27)UCI Women: 1. Ariane Lüthi (5:45:11) 2. Jennie Stenerhag (5:57:11 | +12:00) 3. Sabine Spitz (6:01:31 | +16:20) 4. Yolande de Villiers (6:01:32 | +16:20) 5. Candice Lill (6:06:05 | 21:51) For the full results from the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, please click here.
  8. 1 400 intrepid riders have signed up to take on the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, on Saturday 20 January. Photo by Ewald Sadie. Having staged 11 previous editions Dryland Event Management have witnessed the maturation of the South African mountain biking community, as every year more riders consider themselves up to the task of riding 121 kilometres – through the rugged Klein Karoo, over the imposing Outeniqua Mountains and along the brutally undulating foothills of said mountains – from Chandelier Game Farm to Pine Creek Resort. For the first edition, in 2007, just 161 pioneering riders completed the imposing route. Keep in mind, if you are riding the Attakwas Extreme in 2018, that these riders were on 26 inch wheels and predominantly on hard tail bikes… The conditions might not have changed but the advancement in mountain bike technology has definitely made completing the Attakwas Extreme more achievable, though still challenging, as 11 times finisher Maartin van Rensburg explained: “We tackled the first Attakwas on 9-speed, v-brake, hard tails not knowing if we would be able to ride 130 kilometres in one day! Finishing the first Attakwas Extreme moved my boundaries and today I know that the mind is your biggest enemy. Your biggest failure is if you do not try. Our modern 12-speed soft tails make it easier on the body, but the Attakwas remains a formidable challenge. That said; I must be a sucker for punishment because the Atta will always stay my favourite fun-ride of the year.” The technical nature of the first 60km of the route makes a modern full suspension bike the obvious choice, so keep in mind the pioneers back in 2007 who rode on 26er hard tails, with v-brakes. Photo by Oakpics. As the 12th edition rapidly approaches there are 9 riders set to take on their 12th Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. There are also 11 riders set to join the ten times finishers club and a potential 71 new Ratels – as the five time finishers are known. The current group of riders to have completed all 11 events, to date, and who are entered for 2018 are: Noel Whitehead, Richard Muller, Ischen Stopforth, Henry Swart, Corne Swart, CD, du Toit, Paul Micklewood, Ludwig Swanepoel and van Rensburg. While the 10 time finishers entered for this year are: Robert du Preez and Nico van Zyl. The riders seeking to achieve Ratel status in 2018 include Jennie Stenerhag, Richard Scott, Malcolm Isaacs, Max Menzies and, somewhat surprisingly given she completed the inaugural event all those years ago, Yolande de Villiers. Even though the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, is a solo event having the support of a team or a group of riding friends will make the event infinitely easier and more fun to complete. Photo by Oakpics. Among the 511 first timers there are quite a few experienced and even elite South African mountain bikers, like Candice Lill, Nicky Giliomee and Marco Joubert. On the other side of the spectrum; Women’s Health editor Amy Hopkins is relatively new to mountain biking, having only taken up the sport in April 2017. Hopkins dove head first into mountain biking and is taking on the challenge of riding both the Attakwas Extreme and the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen in 2018. Explaining her reasons for committing to such intimidating events so early on she said: “People say I’m crazy! And they said that before I did my first stage race only six months into mountain biking.” Water point 3, near the half-way mark is made famous by the Spur burgers. If you are expecting a long day on the bike you should strongly consider refuelling with one. Photo by Oakpics. “But I love the sport and I love a real challenge” Hopkins enthused. “I know it’s going to be tough, but it’s amazing what your body is capable of and each time you succeed in completing something that scares you, your strength and confidence growths. I want to inspire and encourage other women to experience the camaraderie and excitement that participating in a race brings. Also, it’s the best way to see rugged terrain that you would not otherwise have a chance to explore, with water points and support along the way!" With the clock ticking down rapidly to the start of the Attakwas Extreme the time for physical preparation has expired – but the opportunity for mental preparation remains. Riders nervous about undertaking the Attakwas Extreme challenge are encouraged to read the #AttakwasAdvice article on the event website, www.atta.co.za/attakwas-advice. The article contains all the route, nutrition and pacing advice riders will need to complete the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Don’t forget to have fun out there. Photo by Oakpics. Mountain biking fans will be able to follow the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, action as it unfolds on the event’s Facebook and Twitter handles, as well as by following @drylandza on Instagram.
  9. With UCI points towards the world marathon series title up for grabs, as well as R25 000 for the first male and female rider across the line there are enough reasons for elite riders to make the trip to the Klein Karoo for the Attakwas Extreme as a stand-alone event. That being said, the event has become an essential test of the effectiveness of riders’ off-season training ahead of the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen and the Absa Cape Epic. In 2016 Karl Platt and Tim Böhme were joint champions at the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Will the Team Bulls riders be able to repeat that feat in 2018? Photo by Zoon Cronje. The elite men’s field has a distinctly international feel to it with 2016 joint champions, and Team Bulls teammates, Karl Platt and Tim Böhme leading the line-up. On the two previous occasions when the Bulls have sent more than one rider to the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, they have dominated the top steps of the podium. The German bike brand’s riders were joint first in 2016, while in 2014 Karl Platt finished second behind his stage race partner, Urs Huber, when Huber shattered the course record. Huber’s record of four hours, forty seven minutes and forty six seconds was two minutes faster than the 2017 winning time and in order for a record breaking attempt to be made this year the weather and racing conditions have to be perfect from the outset. The Germans, Platt and Böhme, will be joined by the dark horse French contender: Antonin Marecaille. Marecaille is a marathon specialist and raced to second position in the French XCM Championships in 2017, though just how his European pedigree with convert to African racing results on his first racing visit to the continent remains to be seen. Heading up the local challenge are the PYGA EuroSteel duo, of Matthys Beukes and Philip Buys. The pair were the most successful South African stage racing combination in 2017 and will be looking to continue their run of great results into the new year. Beukes also has an Attakwas Extreme race win on his palmarès. In fact his victory in 2012 was the last by a South African man in the event. Erik Kleinhans has no duties to ride for a teammate in 2018 and as such will not need to expend energy setting the early pace. Photo by Ewald Sadie. Joining Beukes and Buys in the bid to become the first local winner in six years are Erik Kleinhans, Gert Heyns and the young guns Dylan Rebello and Marco Joubert. Kleinhans needs no reminding of what it takes to complete the Attakwas Extreme, having earned his status as a Ratel – a title earned upon the completion of one’s fifth Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Likewise Heyns has ample Attakwas Extreme experience and has excelled at single day racing throughout his career. Rebello meanwhile has just a solitary Attakwas Extreme finish to his name while his Imbuko Wines teammate, Joubert, will be taking on his first Hell of the South. In the UCI women’s field the Swiss national, but South African resident, Ariane Lüthi will be looking to return to winning ways at an event she has won on five previous occasions. The Team Spur rider struggled to reach the personal heights of 2015/2016 last year but looks to be getting back to her best, and with unquestionable winning pedigree and the Attakwas Extreme know how, she will take some beating. Ariane Lüthi will be looking to add to her five Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, titles. Photo by Ewald Sadie. Lüthi’s main rivals are set to be Jennie Stenerhag, Robyn de Groot, Sabine Spitz, Carmen Buchacher, Amy McDougall and Candice Lill. Stenerhag, riding in the colours of Cape Brewing Co, dominated women’s stage racing in 2017; winning each of the stage races she entered including the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, the Absa Cape Epic, the Perskindol Swiss Epic and FNB Wines2Whales. Her former stage racing partner, De Groot had a difficult season last year as she battled a lingering injury – but the Ascendis Health rider is a previous Attakwas Extreme winner and as a Southern Cape resident trains on the notoriously tough rolling roads towards Great Brak River regularly. Amy McDougall is most at ease on technical terrain; which the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, provides aplenty in the first 60km of the route. Photo by Ewald Sadie. De Groot’s current stage race teammate, Spitz, will be taking on her first Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. The German veteran is one of the most successful mountain bikers in the history of the young sport and will be fired up to add the Attakwas Extreme to her exceptionally impressive palmarès. Buchacher’s power and formidable resolve position her as another likely challenger; while McDougall’s superb technical skills could see her establish an unassailable lead in the rugged Attakwaskloof section if the women’s race unfolds favourably to her strengths. Lill meanwhile will be starting her first Attakwas Extreme, and is as such somewhat of an unknown across the distance. That said she finished 2017 in the undeniable form of her career thus far and has set herself lofty goals for the 2018 season. A victory at the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen will get the year off to the best possible start for the dormakaba rider. The elite men’s and women’s races could once again be decided by mechanicals as the rugged terrain always takes its toll on (wo)man and machine. Photo by Ewald Sadie. For more information, including the full start list for the 2018 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, please visit www.atta.co.za.
  10. Starting in the arid Klein Karoo, traversing the rugged Attakwaskloof and finishing with the unforgiving rolling road through the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, even five time Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, champion Ariane Lüthi approaches the event with caution. Photo by Ewald Sadie. Challenging riders to a 121 kilometre long route, which includes an energy sapping 2 900 meters of vertical elevation gain, the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, has earned the title: “The Hell of the South.” Starting in the sweltering heat of the Klein Karoo and traversing the imposing barrier that is the Outeniqua Mountains, via the fabled Attakwaskloof, before taking on the torturously undulating roads through the southern foothills of the mountains towards the finish line, near the coast at Great Brak River. Five times Attakwas Extreme winner and former women’s course record holder Ariane Lüthi will once again be starting her season, which also includes the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, at the event next year. With seven Attakwas finishes on her palmarès Lüthi has a strong affinity for the event: “The Attakwas isn’t called The Hell of The South for nothing. It’s rough and it’s a proper challenge. At the finish line your body feels like you’ve gone through hell – bruised from rocks flicking up, scratched from the thorn bushes, dehydrated and burned from the unforgiving African sun, and completely rattled from those long kilometres through the rough Karoo. As hard as it is to conquer it, the Attakwas race gives a unique opportunity to ride through this beautiful valley” she reflected. The harsh African sun makes the potentially eleven hour long stint in the saddle a challenge of hydration and nutrition as much as anything else. Photo by Ewald Sadie. When asked how she approaches the challenge of the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, Lüthi had the following to say: “I kind of split the race into the first 80 kilometres through the rough Attakwaskloof and the last 40 kilometres of open gravel road. The first part I try to save as much energy as possible by positioning myself well in the peloton and telling myself to be attentive to the attacks of my competition. I try to prepare myself for the mental battle between the competitors so I do not get negative if I have to let go of a wheel but keep on fighting whatever the situation is. The last kilometres are mentally even more difficult because we mostly ride into a headwind, the body feels so tired and there is not much other to think about than just ‘vasbyt'. For those last 40 kilometres I have some encouraging phrases ready in my head, like ‘attitude is gratitude’ or ‘keep pushing’ which I repeat over and over again to get the best out of me. I’ve also taken a mental note of the two last climbs at 105 and 110 kilometres. The race might be decided on one of those climbs and I try to prepare myself to suffer like crazy on those two crucial parts of the route. Lastly, I try to picture the very last kilometres for in case the race comes down to that and plan how I could get the better of my competition there.” For the less competitive riders the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, is all about reaching personal objectives. Be they in the shape of simply finishing or a particular time. What remains key, for all riders, though is the appropriate training in December and early January. Putting in the long hours in the saddle and working on your core strength are musts for success at the Attakwas. Keep in mind the first 65 kilometres of the route are particularly rugged; so hours on the road bike on asphalt or sessions on the indoor trainer, though beneficial, will not match kilometres upon kilometres of training on your mountain biking in rough terrain. Remember to hydrate well and regularly during the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen. Photo by Ewald Sadie. With an eleven hour cut-off time and given that the average rider spends around eight hours on route nutrition is of vital importance at the Attakwas. With Dryland Event Management’s famously well-stocked water points dotting the route, every 25 kilometres or so, your race day nutrition and hydration needs will be taken care of by Biogen. Warren Williams, Biogen’s Sponsorship and Events Manager (and an avid mountain biker himself), suggests the following approach to ultra-endurance nutrition for the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen: “Attakwas is known as an extremely tough mountain bike race, the terrain as tough as nails, the route is technical and with adverse weather conditions reaching a potentially high of 40 degrees, we strongly recommend for all riders taking on this race to hydrate as much as possible, especially those who expect to be out there longer than five-six hours. As a general rule and nutrition strategy, your ‘pre-race pack’ should be to plan your ride according to the distance between each water point.” Putting in the long and lonely December training miles will stand you in good stead come the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, on 20 January 2018. Photo by Ewald Sadie. “Every water point is fully stocked up on our Perform-X range, where we make products such as Enduro Energy gels, Energy Oats bars, Carbogen and Cramp Care available to all riders. Due to the heat and technicalities of this specific race I would suggest consuming one energy gel every 30-45minutes (depending on the nature of the climbs and how your body feels) and adding at least a bite size of a bar or two to your back pocket for each section of the route” he continued. “Best of luck to all riders taking part in this prestigious event, we sincerely look forward to seeing you there” Williams concluded. It is also important to acclimatise to the products you are likely to use on race day, so make use of your December/January training rides to get your body accustomed to Biogen’s product range. There are limited entries to the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen, still available online. While for younger riders, and those not yet up to the full challenge the Spur Attakwas Mini offers a 52 kilometre long route, starting and finishing at the Pine Creek Resort, Great Brak, which is the perfect introduction to the Attakwas Extreme experience. For more information and online entries please visit www.atta.co.za.
  11. Wil6

    Attakwas 2017

    So who is doing the Attakwas in 2017? This will be my first one. Really looking forward to it, and from what I've heard it's a tough one! Please share some tips!
  12. Annika Langvad (right) and Robyn de Groot lead the women’s front pack during the early stages of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie It was Langvad’s debut appearance at the demanding 121km event, which is considered South Africa’s toughest one-day mountain bike race. She clocked a time of 05:25:55 to slice almost five minutes off the previous record of 05:30:58, set by five-time winner, Ariane Lüthi in 2015 in cooler, calmer conditions. South African champion and 2016 winner, Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health), finished second in 05:30:00 with Swedish champion, Jennie Stenerhag (CBC/Abro) rounding out the podium places. Lüthi (Team Spur), the Swiss champion, finished fourth, with South Africa’s Amy Beth McDougall in fifth. From the first climb at 5km, it was essentially a four-rider battle for the coveted title. De Groot, Lüthi, Stenerhag and Langvad moved off the front and stayed close together for the next 25km through the Karoo, an inhospitable semi-desert region. But at the summit of Sonnop, a technical ascent at 30km in, Langvad held a 15-second lead over De Groot and Stennerhag with Lüthi cresting a minute-and-a-half later in fourth. Robyn de Groot on her way to second place at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie De Groot and Stennerhag then rejoined Langvad and the trio entered the Attakwas Reserve together with De Groot impressing on one of the technical climbs, riding away briefly from Langvad and Stenerhag, who had to climb off and push. But Langvad, a former three-time marathon world champion, three-time Absa Cape Epic winner and current XCO World Champion, was in her element through the Attakwas Reserve, an isolated wilderness region, which includes a series of impossibly steep climbs and rough, rocky descents. She took the lead, claimed the Queen of the Mountain title and went through Waterpoint 4 (with 35km remaining) holding a 2:00 lead over De Groot. Jennie Stenerhag on her way to third place at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie “I had a really good time. I tried to keep reminding myself to just enjoy this. But you know, when you’re sitting there pedalling in so much pain, it’s hard to enjoy the views. But when I did look up it was amazing, especially coming out of the Attakwas valley. It was so beautiful, but you could have turned down the headwind at the end of it,” smiled a content Langvad. Annika Langvad on her way to victory and a new course record at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie “Obviously we come here to win, but losing to Annika isn’t too bad. It’s an honour to race against her. I was pretty surprised that I was able to stick with her as long as I did. I enjoyed the race. It’s a good start to the year, I’m happy with where I’m at,” said De Groot. The 121km race from Chandelier Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn to Pine Creek Resort, Groot Brak includes 2900 metres of vertical ascent. For the first time this year it holds International Cycling Union status, which allows top finishers to earn UCI rankings points. The women’s 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge podium (from left): Ariane Lüthi (4th), Jennie Stennerhag (3rd), Annika Langvad (1st), Robyn de Groot (2nd) and Amy Beth McDougall (5th). Photo credit: Ewald Sadie 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme Challenge 121km, 2900m ascent, OudtshoornLeading results: Overall women: 1 Annika Langvad (DEN) Specialized 05:25:55 2 Robyn de Groot (RSA) Ascendis Health 05:30:00 3 Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) CBC/Abro 05:42:11 4 Ariane Lüthi (SUI) Team Spur 05:44:35 5 Amy Beth McDougall (RSA) Valencia 05:54:52 For full results and other race information, visit www.atta.co.za.
  13. Denmark’s multiple mountain bike world champion, Annika Langvad (Specialized) beat off a strong field to win the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in a new women’s record time in South Africa on Saturday. Click here to view the article
  14. The men’s lead pack negotiates the dry Karoo roads during the early stages of the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie The 40-year-old Investec-Songo-Specialized rider clocked a winning time of 04 hours 50 minutes 09 seconds to capture his third title in what is widely considered to be South Africa’s premier one-day race. Sauser narrowly beat Attakwas novice and former Cape Epic winner, Kristian Hynek (Topeak Ergon) into second place in a late dash for the line, with defending champion, Karl Platt (Bulls) rolling home a minute-and-a-half later in third place. Sauser cut his rear tyre badly at the 27km mark and lost the lead group while repairing it. He was over five minutes behind the lead group at the 30km mark but was committed to limiting the damage as best he could, pedalling powerfully up the steep climbs and aero-tucking on every fast descent. He didn’t only limit the damage though, he undid it, steadily moving through the field and eventually catching leaders Hynek and Platt with 22km remaining. Christoph Sauser used his fork crown as a hand position to get himself as aerodynamic as possible in his pursuit of the leaders after an early tyre cut at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie A clearly spent Platt capitulated on the final long climb where Sauser made the catch and resigned himself to riding for third place, leaving Hynek and Sauser to wage a two-way battle for the title. Sauser’s knowledge of the course, which has a tricky, fast descent to the finish straight, was in his favour, but in doubt was how much he had left after his phenomenal effort to close a more than five-minute gap. Christoph Sauser put in a powerful 72km solo pursuit on his way to winning the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie “I felt very good from the start. But unfortunately I double-flatted and it took four or five minutes to fix it because I ran out of CO2 Bombs and had to pump it. I decided not to change wheels when I got to the tech zone. The spare wheels I had there were quite heavy and I felt too risky for a one-day race, so I just kept going, with the small bit of hope of catching up to fight for the podium,” explained Sauser afterwards. Kristian Hynek leads Karl Platt during the latter stages of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie “And yep, the guys came closer and closer until I could see them. That was motivating. The finish suits me because it’s technical. It helped that I know the finish. The sprint for the finish is always the most exciting part of the five hours of racing,” smiled the champion. “Christoph had an impressive ride today. He knew the finish which was a big advantage for him at the end. I’m happy with my second place though. It was a great race and great preparation for the Cape Epic,” said Hynek. Karl Platt leads Kristian Hynek during the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge that took place in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie Erik Kleinhans (Topeak Ergon), riding solo for most of the second half of the race, kept his pace steady to finish fourth and the first South African, with HB Kruger (Telkom BCX) rounding out the top five. The 121km race from Chandelier Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn to Pine Creek Resort, Groot Brak includes 2900 metres of vertical ascent. For the first time this year it holds International Cycling Union status, which allows top finishers to earn UCI rankings points. Christoph Sauser out-dashes Kristian Hynek to win the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa on Saturday. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie The men’s 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge podium (from left): HB Kruger (5th), Karl Platt (3rd), Christoph Sauser (1st), Kristian Hynek (2nd) and Erik Kleinhans (4th). Photo credit: Ewald Sadie 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme Challenge121km, 2900m ascent, Oudtshoorn Leading results: Overall men: 1 Christoph Sauser (SUI) Investec-Songo-Specialized 04:50:09 2 Kristian Hynek (CZE) Topeak Ergon 04:50:11 3 Karl Platt (GER) Bulls 04:51:47 4 Erik Kleinhans (RSA) Topeak Ergon 05:05:49 5 HB Kruger (RSA) Telkom BCX 05:07:08 6 Dominic Calitz (RSA) 05:16:11 7 Justin Tuck (RSA) 05:16:26 8 Ben Melt Swanepoel (RSA) Garmin 05:19:21 9 Dylan Rebello (RSA) 05:20:25 10 Waylon Woolcock (RSA) Telkom BCX 05:20:28 For full results and other race information, visit www.atta.co.za.
  15. Swiss mountain bike racing legend, Christoph Sauser didn’t only mark his return from retirement at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa on Saturday, he won the gruelling 121km race after the most incredible comeback following a mechanical delay early on. Click here to view the article
  16. Find out what went down at the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge; where Christoph Sauser made a spectacular chase to reel in and overtake Karl Platt and Kristian Hynek to take the title, while Annika Langvad led virtually from line to line to break the women's course record. Click here to view the article
  17. Saturday’s Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge starts in the inhospitable Karoo, which is dry and dusty with loose, sharp rock surfaces in places. It’s a test of rider and equipment. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za The Attakwas, which takes the competitors from the dry, rugged Karoo to the wind-swept coast in the middle of the harsh South African summer, is widely considered to be the equivalent of a tough Cape Epic stage, which is appropriate since Platt and Sauser share the record of five Cape Epic wins apiece. They’re both gunning for a sixth Epic title this March, Sauser coming out of semi-retirement to try reclaim the record he held for a year.... For most Cape Epic podium contenders, Attakwas, which usually takes place eight weeks before, is a perfect form-checker. Platt won his only Attakwas title last year, while Sauser won the race in 2013 and 2015. Defending champion, Karl Platt, will face a strong challenge in his quest to defend his Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge title on Saturday. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za As the defending Attakwas champion, there’s intense scrutiny and pressure on Platt. But the 38-year-old German is playing his cards close to his chest. “I’m feeling okay, but I will have to see how I feel on Saturday in a proper race situation. It’s hard to predict how it will go because the field is really big and strong this year. It’s getting super interesting. I am excited about where everybody is at the moment. It’s a good time for mountain bike racing,” said Platt, cautiously remaining positive but non-committal. For Sauser, the Attakwas return signals the seriousness of his comeback. It’s not a race you do for fun. The 40-year-old Swiss ace has been training for the past month in the cold and snow of his home country, but he’s unfazed about the significant swing in conditions he’ll face on Saturday. “I grew up training in the cold and snow. I have no problem training outdoors in the winter. It will be a big change from minus 5 degrees to over 30 degrees, but I sure want to be in the hunt for the win Attakwas win,” said Sauser. Two-time winner, Christoph Sauser, pictured here on his way to second place in 2014, will be using Saturday’s Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge as his first major preparation race in his quest for a sixth Cape Epic title. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za “For me the race has three stages – the Karoo, the Attakwas Reserve and then the gravel roads, heat and headwind at the end. I believe experience helps a lot, especially through the Attakwas Reserve. Knowing the course from previous years makes it feel shorter,” he smiled. Another former Cape Epic winner, Kristian Hynek (Topeak Ergon) will be on the start line to tackle his first Attakwas. The Czech rider has been training in South Africa for a few weeks and will be looking to his South African teammate, Erik Kleinhans, a former Attakwas podium finisher, for guidance in a race that punishes misjudgement of any kind. “Attakwas falls at a strange time, so early in the year. But it’s cool to be able to take a break from all the training and do a race. Obviously both Kristian and I would like to do well with a high finish, but it’s much more a test race for us than a full out priority goal race,” said Kleinhans. The Attakwas Reserve, after which the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge was named, delivers rugged terrain and steep climbs and descents and is often the section where the winning moves are made. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za Gert Heyns – fifth last year and third in 2015 – is eager to give his new team, Ascendis Health, their first male podium finish in a high profile race. A South African hasn’t won Attakwas since Matthys Beukes in 2012. Heyns has proved to be the most likely rider to be the next one. “I’m really excited. I enjoy kicking off the year with Attakwas. And it’s good to see so many top names on what I consider my home turf,” said Heyns. “This must surely be the best field ever for this race and I’m definitely going for a podium finish.” In 2015 Heyns, racing with no real pressure, ventured on an early breakaway at Attakwas. It was an against-the-grain tactic that saw him claim the King of the Mountain prize and finish third. But Heyns says he’s likely to take a more cautious approach this year. With a 1000-participant limit, the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge is one of the most prestigious one-day races in South Africa. The 2017 edition, which takes place on Saturday has been granted International Cycling Union grading status. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za “I’ll have to race on instinct this year and see how my options unfold. With so many strong riders here I’ll have to be smart and not take any major risks,” said Heyns. In addition to Heyns and Kleinhans, other notable South Africans on the entry list include the Telkom BCX pair of Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger and Dylan Rebello. Swiss racer, Urs Huber (Bulls), holds the course record of 4:47:56, which he set when winning the 2015 edition. With such a strong field, a new record isn’t out of the question. However, the weather conditions will be the real decider. A forecast maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius with a 14kph southeasterly (head)wind at 11h00 at the finish isn’t particularly adverse, which means a record time may be possible. The event has been given International Cycling Union status for the first time this year. This ensures increased international media coverage, boosted prize money and UCI rankings points for top finishers. A strong international field will tackle the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa’s Western Cape province on Saturday. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za The race starts at Chandelier Game and Ostrich Show Farm near Oudtshoorn in the Karoo and finishes at Pine Creek Resort at the coast, near Groot Brakrivier. Follow the racing action via live-tweets on the @attakwas twitter account on Saturday from 06h30. For more information, visit www.atta.co.za.
  18. After a short hiatus, two of global mountain biking’s most successful competitors will revive their rivalry at the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge in South Africa on Saturday. Germany’s Karl Platt (Team Bulls) and Switzerland’s Christoph Sauser (Investec-Songo-Specialized) top the high-profile start list for South Africa’s premier one-day race, which covers a distance of 121km with an accumulated elevation of just under 3000 metres. Click here to view the article
  19. South Africa’s traditional season opener, the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, takes place on Saturday the 21st of January. Along with a stellar field of local challengers, a number of European mountain biking stars are set to line-up for the 2017 edition. Click here to view the article
  20. Defending champion Karl Platt (left) raced to victory by riding with teammate Tim Bohme (right) in 2016, but for the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge he will be the lone Team Bulls rider. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. The race’s newly acquired UCI Status and its formidable reputation as the Hell of the South combine to make the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge South Africa’s premier one day mountain bike event. The depth of the elite racing field certainly supports this claim. Amongst others Christoph Sauser, Karl Platt, Kristian Hynek and Annika Langvad will be taking on the one hundred and twenty one kilometre route from Chandelier Game and Ostrich Show Farm near Oudtshoorn, through the rugged Attakwaskloof, to Pine Creek Resort in Groot Brakrivier. In December 2016 Sauser announced his return to racing following a season in retirement. Though his form is untested his experience and competitive nature will surely see him compete with Platt, Hynek and the leading South African riders – Dylan Rebello, Waylon Woolcock, HB Kruger, Gert Heyns, Max Knox and Erik Kleinhans – for victory. Sauser has won two of the last four Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge titles, in 2015 and in 2013 when he was the first rider to break the five hour barrier. On both occasions he went on to win the Absa Cape Epic alongside Jaroslav Kulhavý, with whom he is teaming up for the 2017 Cape Epic. Christoph Sauser returns to racing after a year in retirement; though he still took part in the 2016 Absa Cape Epic, riding with Sipho Madolo. Photo by Dominic Barnardt | Cape Epic | SPORTZPICS. In the race for a sixth Absa Cape Epic title between Sauser and Platt the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge plays a major psychological role. Last year Platt backed up his Attakwas success with victory in the Cape Epic, highlighting that the Attakwas is the ultimate proving ground. Unlike in previous years Platt is the lone Team Bulls rider entered into the race and will have to rely on his extensive Attakwas experience to neutralize the threat of Sauser, who will have the support of Investec-songo-Specialized’s Sipho Madolo, and Hynek, who will be able to rely on his Topeak-Ergon teammate Kleinhans. Hynek’s entry into the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge is part of Topeak-Ergon’s bid to gain more experience in the harsh South African conditions ahead of their Absa Cape Epic bid. Like Team Bulls and Investec-songo-Specialized Topeak-Ergon will also be competing in the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, in February. The Attakwas therefor provides an early opportunity to gain a psychological edge and establish winning momentum ahead of the teams’ stage racing goals this season. The South African charge will likely be led by Kleinhans, Woolcock, Heyns and Knox, though first time Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge entrants Rebello and Kruger are not to be written off. Rebello’s slight build and climbing prowess could see him excel on the rocky climbs in the first half of the race. Heyns and Kleinhans are proven Attakwas campaigners, both boasting third place finishes in recent years; while South African Marathon Champion Knox is eager to set right his past struggles in the race. The women’s field boasts, for the first time a reigning World Champion; the current cross-country rainbow jersey wearer Annika Langvad. Langvad will be up against her Absa Cape Epic partner Ariane Lüthi, 2016 Attakwas champion Robyn de Groot, the ever competitive Jennie Stenerhag and Mariske Strauss; while Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Olympic triathlete Mari Rabie are unknown forces in the race for the women’s title. Kristian Hynek, seen here in action in the 2016 Cape Epic, will be taking part in his first Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge. Photo by Nick Muzik | Cape Epic | SPORTZPICS Langvad’s goals for the first half of the year revolve around finishing her dentistry studies, so her entry into the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge came somewhat as a surprise. That said she is the three time Marathon World Champion making her the clear favourite to break Lüthi’s course record of five hours, thirty minutes and fifty eight seconds. Having returned to racing under her maiden name after a turbulent couple of years, during which she divorced from Erik Kleinhans, Swiss star Ariane Lüthi looks to be back to her early 2015 form. Off the bike she’s more relaxed than ever and the chance to go up against Langvad will surely spur Lüthi on to prove she can win the Absa Cape Epic without the Danish rider at her side. The first step toward that goal is winning the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, but Team Ascendis Health’s South African Marathon Champion, de Groot, will not allow the two Europeans to have things all their own way. De Groot, has dominated in the South African ranks for the best part of three seasons, and has stepped up to an international level over the last year. She will be looking to continue that progress with a victory over an in form Lüthi and one of women’s mountain biking’s biggest stars, Langvad. World Cross Country Champion Annika Langvad (front) will not be racing the Cape Epic in 2017 but she will be lining up against usual stage race partner Ariane Lüthi in the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge. Photo by Mark Sampson | Cape Epic | SPORTZPICS. Strauss, Stenerhag and Moolman-Pasio could use the attention focused by the three favourites on each other to launch a surprise attack, with the climb to the Queen of the Mountain point at crest of the Attakwaskloof neck the ideal location for a move of that nature. Aside from the elite racing the side story of the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge is the attempt by Colleen Jacobs, Kel de Moura, Nico van Zyl, Ian Robertson, Jacques Brink, Wayne Hodgson, Petrus Senekal and Jandri Ferreira to join the prestigious ten times Attakwas Finishers Club. All eight riders have only missed one of the eleven previous races, making them near as remarkable as the eleven current double Ratels who completed all ten of the first ten Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenges. Robyn de Groot (front) and Ariane Lüthi will be back to resume their Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge rivalry this year. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. If you are not taking part in the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge you can follow the action live on Twitter, by following @attakwas. Oliver Munnik will once again be providing updates and insights into the racing at the sharp end of the field. You can then relive all the action from Saturday afternoon on Facebook, by liking Attakwas MTB, where you’ll be able to view photos by Ewald Sadie and Oakpics, as well as the news highlights video by Bigshot Media. Plus read all about the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge right here on your favourite mountain biking news platform.
  21. The defending champion, Germany’s Karl Platt, will head up a star studded line-up at the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. The 2017 race will mark the event’s eleventh edition and while the elite riders will race for the converted Attakwaskloof stone trophies, UCI points and early season psychological advantages for the majority of the field the challenge is to complete the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge for the first, fifth, tenth or even eleventh time. As South Africa’s premier one day ultra-marathon mountain bike classic the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge draws many parallels with road cycling’s ultimate classic: the Paris-Roubaix. Known throughout the cycling world as the Hell of the North, the Roubaix awards the champion a sett, or cobblestone to us South Africans. It is also famed for its regularly cold and wet weather and is billed as the Queen of the Classics, the most acclaimed one day race on the WorldTour calendar. Drawing on the one hundred and twenty year history of the Roubaix for inspiration the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge has evolved into the Hell of the South; replacing icy rain and mud with stifling heat and dust, and the cobbled lanes of Northern France with the rocky jeep tracks of the Outeniqua Mountains. The unique Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge trophy held aloft by 2016 champion Robyn de Groot, flanked by Ariane Luthi (left) and Jennie Stenerhag (right). Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. The race winners are awarded, among the prizes, a rock from the remote Attakwaskloof, which the route traverses, set as a hefty trophy. Each year the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge trophies are made anew and for 2017 the, slightly larger, men’s trophy weighs in at just over three kilograms. Victory in the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge carries a psychological advantage for the elite riders in the field too, as it’s the first race of the 2017 mountain biking season and an established lead up event to the Absa Cape Epic. For the last two years the winner of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge has gone on to win the Absa Cape Epic; as such the renewed battle between Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser will be an intriguing indication of Sauser’s post-retirement/sabbatical form. The rough and rocky terrain in the first half of the one hundred and twenty one kilometre route challenges professional and amateur riders alike. Photo by www.zcmc.co.za. Five time finishers of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge are honoured as Ratels, an animal notorious for its tenacious nature and which, interestingly, makes its home in a burrow known as a sett. In 2017 thirteen riders, including Ischen Stopforth and Maartin Van Rensburg, could well go on to complete their eleventh Attakwas; while Nico van Zyl, Ian Robertson, Jacques Brink, Wayne Hodgson, Petrus Senekal and Jandri Ferreira are on course to join the prestigious ten time Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge finishers club. 2016 Douw Steyn “Spirit of the Attakwas” trophy winner Maartin van Rensburg. Photo by Dryland Event Management. The Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge is not a race to be undertaken lightly; many hours of training are required to establish the fitness to complete the route, while technical mountain bike handling skills and a sound race day nutritional plan are also key. But even the best preparation can be undone by the harsh terrain and fierce African sun, which is why the spirit of perseverance against the odds and the camaraderie among the riders is as famed as the race itself. Digging deep within one’s reserves of mental and physical energy is key to completing the Attakwas challenge. Just as lending a helping hand to fix a mechanical, providing a carbon dioxide bomb to inflate a punctured tyre, or slowing to allow an exhausted rider to follow a wheel are common practices in this great race. The rider who best displays this spirit of perseverance and camaraderie will be awarded the “Spirit of the Attakwas” trophy. A trophy dedicated to the late Douw Steyn, a rider who embodied the essence of the race in his riding and life. Steyn tragically passed away ahead of the 2015 race and already been seeded as number one hundred and twenty one. This race number has been retired in his honour.For 2017 the Spirit of the Attakwas trophy winner has already been decided and the worthy winner is ten time Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge finisher Stephen Drew. Though entered for the race Drew was forced to withdraw due to a motorcycle accident in December, which resulted in the amputation of one of his legs; so Dryland Event Management, the race organisers, took the decision to award the prize early and make Drew a guest of honour at the event. Not only will Drew’s spirit of perseverance and camaraderie be celebrated when he receives the Douw Steyn “Spirit of the Attakwas” trophy at the race prize giving but he will also be assisting with the ceremonial starter’s duties when the racing gets underway. And so as the contenders for victory, the Ratels, would be Ratels, and the intrepid first timers gear up for the 2017 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge the nerves will amplify. But all can rest assured that the spirit of the Attakwas will ensure they have a helping hand nearby; even while suffering through the toughest sections of the Hell of the South.
  22. As the 21st of January 2017, and the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, looms nearer the effectiveness of the long months of summer training are about to be put to the test. The question on every one of the one thousand mountain bikers’, taking on the one hundred and twenty one kilometre race from the Klein Karoo to the Indian Ocean, mind is: “Am I ready for the Hell of the South?” Click here to view the article
  23. Hi there, I have one Attakwas entry for sale (R895). Please let me know if anyone is interested. Thanks
  24. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za. The 121km point-to-point race from the Karoo town of Oudtshoorn to the coastal settlement at Groot Brak Rivier, celebrates its 11th edition on 21 January 2017 by offering more prize money, increased media coverage and a strong international field. Top international and leading South African marathon racers will also be enticed by the UCI rankings points on offer at the prestigious event, which has a reputation for being one of the toughest marathons in mountain bike racing. The race takes competitors through the Attakwas Reserve, an unforgiving wilderness area with steep gradients and rough terrain. There are over 3000 metres of accumulated vertical ascent and riders have 11 hours to complete the distance, with the top men clocking just under five hours and the leading women around 5:45. “Attakwas is a truly South African endurance sports event. We have positioned it in the same league as the Comrades Marathon is for running. It’s a big deal to just finish it for many of the participants, but it’s also a high quality challenge for the top racers,” said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, the company that organises the Attakwas Extreme. “The timing of the race makes it the first marathon of the year and with a high number of international professionals training in South Africa then, it will be an even more attractive race for them to enter. As it is, we have had some of the best marathon racers in the world competing at – and winning – Attakwas in the past,” added Rademeyer. The race takes competitors through the Attakwas Reserve, an unforgiving wilderness area with steep gradients and rough terrain. There are over 3000 metres of accumulated vertical ascent. Photo credit: www.zcmc.co.za One of the additions to the race will be live online video coverage of the finish. “We’ll have a makeshift studio at the finish and will flight a summary of the race before crossing live to the action from about half an hour from the end of the men’s race. This will really bring the excitement and colour of the race to many people around the world and elevate the race’s profile in line with its new UCI status,” said Mark le Roux of Bigshot Media. “Attakwas has grown over the years and is well known as one of the hardest races in South Africa, so it’s good to hear that the professional riders get more honoured. Also, the UCI status might attract more professional riders to compete for points, which will make the racing even more exciting,” said Karl Platt, five-time Cape Epic winner and the 2016 Attakwas champion. “Attakwas is undoubtedly a worthy race for UCI grading. It gives us professional riders the opportunity to gain UCI rankings points on our home soil and improves the professionalism of the sport,” said Team Ascendis Health’s Robyn de Groot, the 2016 winner. “As professional athletes, it’s always appreciated when race organisers invest more in prize money and media coverage, so thanks to Dryland for addressing this. I have no doubt the racing in 2017 will be world class,” added De Groot. The maximum number of entries for the 2017 Attakwas Extreme has been reached. Those wanting an entry can register on the waiting list and will be notified should a place become available. There’s a 56km Mini Atta for those unsure if they’re ready for the main event. For more information on the Fairview Attakwas Extreme, visit www.atta.co.za
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