2017 ATTAKWAS EXTREME MTB CHALLENGE

Some call this the ultimate one-day mountain bike stage race, most call it the toughest day spent in the saddle, all we know is that the Attakwas Extreme is a bucket list race that everyone should attempt.

 

ERIK KNOETZE

Erik Knoetze

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

This race is a real challenge in the sense that it covers a unique route of which large portions are not otherwise accessible. The distance makes it a challenge too.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

This was my seventh Attakwas. My first one back in 2010 was the toughest by far. In that year, the distance was also a bit longer – in the region of 135km. I also suffered a bent hanger just after spectator point one and had to walk close to 10km.

What makes the it so tough?

The terrain over the first half is not really that technical but rather quite rugged. There is a risk of picking up a technical such as a sidewall cut.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

I think the last 50km or so can be somewhat of a challenge not only for those who have not done enough training but also for trained weekend warriors on tired legs chasing their best possible time.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Don’t hesitate, just flippen enter. Then do the hard miles including the most important long rides.

Will you be back?

Fosho – waiting for the entries to open. In 2017 I was so quick with my entry, my race number was #4 – felt like a pro J!

 

JUAN PEARSON

Juan Pearson

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

I would say the whole vibe around the Attakwas is special. From registration to the morning of the start.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

I have entered two and finished one. I had a big crash just after the KOM on the downhill part to Spur, broke my seat and helmet and bruised some of body parts.

What makes it so tough?

Well it’s easy, its three weeks after a December holiday where you spend time with the family, drink beer and braai.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

It must be the downhill parts – the main reason for that is that the climbing is so demanding. You don’t get any recovery time for the technical downhills.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Train technical, rocky uphills and long hours in the saddle.

Will you be back?

Hell yes, this is one of those races that you can’t stay away from.

 

DIANA CAROLIN

Diana Carolin

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

It’s one of the toughest races on the calendar, it goes through such amazing landscapes and is always so well organised by a wonderful crew.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest? 

Five! The hardest was this year, as I really wanted the sub seven that has always just eluded me. My legs cramped more than usual and I had to turn myself inside out in the last 20km into a headwind on my own.

What makes it so tough?

The terrain, the distance, the weather and the climbs in the last 20km. They are brutal.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle here?

The last 20km! I think some people also struggle with the technical descents. But they are one of the highlights for me.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Make sure you have trained properly for the event. It’s harder than you can imagine.

Will you be back?

I don’t think so. I’ve done five and achieved my goal of sub seven.

 

CRAIG KOLESKY

CRAIG KOLESKY

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

A lot of the riders call this the acid test for their Cape Epic training plan. This is a tough race and will take everything out of you if you are not prepared.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

I have done five now and think this one was the hardest; every year I set targets for faster times, pushing my limits more to ride faster and harder, taking more out of me.

What makes it so tough?

The distance and ascent is tough but throw some intense terrain in the mix and you get the toughest one-day race.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

I see most people falling out at the Spur water point about 68km, although you get onto district road, the hills are long, it’s hot and this is a race of nutrition.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Start slow and finish strong. Take the ride in your own pace for the first half. Don’t get caught up with the fast guys, save the legs for the second half.

Will you be back?

Yes, it’s a great way to control your December habits.

 

BRENDAN BELL

Brendan Bell

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

A few factors really. It’s a destination ride through normally inaccessible areas. You ride through the dry dusty Karoo veld that link the mountainous Attakwas nature reserve with killer climbs, beautiful vistas and treacherous descents.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

First one.

What makes it so tough?

The timing in the year for most people, unless you’re training for the Epic/Joburg2c. The heat (we were lucky this year as it wasn’t that hot.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

Riding up to and through the Attakwas nature reserve. The tracks are rutted, loose and very gnarly. You burn a load of energy climbing, descending and shifting your body during this part of the race.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Get fit. Don’t start dehydrated. Start conservatively. It’s 120km. Ride within yourself, the race really begins when you get to the halfway mark.

Will you be back?

Stupid question.

 

Stephen O’Brien

Screenshot (58)

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

Firstly, the terrain and the combination of distance, vertical ascents and technical descents.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

I have completed the last five events. Definitely my second as I knew what to expect and did not show the respect that I should have.

What makes it so tough?

I think the combination of terrain, heat, distance and the fact that you are going to spend considerably more hours in the saddle.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

For me it would be the second half of the ride from the third water point. You have already spent four hours on the bike and completed all the technical challenges but still have another 60km to go.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

The advice I give to first timers is to ride well within yourself until half way and keep plenty in the tank.

Will you be back?

Most certainly. You have to complete an Attakwas to realize what makes it so special and once you have achieved this it will become an event that you just don’t want to miss.

 

MIKE POSTHUMUS

Mike Posthumus

What makes the Attakwas Extreme MTB challenge so special?

The gruelling and varied terrain and environment which all combines to make it hell.

How many races have you done and which one was the hardest?

2017 was my third. 2015 I broke a pedal, 2016 I broke a rim, and now in 2017 I broke myself, so definitely my third was the hardest 🙂

What makes it so tough?

What makes it tough and sets it apart is that it consists of three totally different sections, each one hard in their own right.

What is the most difficult part of the race and why do riders struggle there?

The last third. Although it is district road, by now most riders are totally blown from the first 80km.

If you could give any advice to anyone who hasn’t done the race, what would it be?

Start slow!

Will you be back?

For sure, I can’t wait for 2018.

 

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