“FAMILY fun” is the key phrase for KwaZulu-Natal’s newest mountain biking event, The Midlands MTB Stage Race which provides perfect holiday action on the weekend of June 29 to July 1.
Appropriately based around Howick High School, the three-day event in the middle of the school holidays is loaded with options to make sure it caters for a complete family experience – with options ranging from a 10km one-day kiddies ride, to a half-distance two-day ride up to the full three-day event.
Race organiser, Ballito’s Johnny St Clair Gibson, and Race Director Gavin Ryan from Howick have pooled their areas of knowledge to create what promises to be a spectacular event based around the twin pillars of great mountain biking and a well-organised family fun.
The aim of St Clair Gibson, a former international professional golf tournament administrator, and well-known MTB administrator Ryan has been to create an event that brings the spectacular riding of the Hilton-Howick-Karkloof area into an affordable luxury mountain bike stage race.
The “On Your Bike” trail guide describes the Howick and Karkloof area as part of the “Golden Triangle of MTB in KwaZulu-Natal” adding that it offers “a rich vein of mountain biking for riders of any calibre”. That makes the area perfect for a stage race.
St Clair Gibson has gone out of his way to create an event that offers all the bells and whistles at an affordable price – a price which incidentally became even more affordable when a late sponsor allowed the race to reduce the price and refund early entries, something virtually unheard of from race organisers.
The top-of-the-range offering is a three-day event (solo or two-man teams) with riders having the option of the full accommodation package with all meals, or no accommodation and just lunch every day. At just R3 060 or R2 160 per person respectively this makes this event one of the best value-for-money stage races on the calendar.
“We offer three days of fully-supported riding,” said St Clair Gibson. “There will be awesome seconding tables, race village with free snacks, cold and hot drinks and an awesome chill area. In addition, we will have a daily craft beer festival.
“On the Saturday night, we will celebrate our event with a party. In the goodie bag riders will find a long sleeve top, a pair of sunglasses and loads more. We also have a top-quality surprise thank you gift to give each team at the finish.”
The three-days are all achievable 50 to 56km stages. All routes are “carefully designed by our course designer so as to be manageable, but packed with safe, fun riding,” said St Clair Gibson.
For those who are nervous about a full three-day race, The Midlands MTB Stage Race offers two-day full-distance and half-distance events for the weekend – and of course there is a 10km kiddies event – to ensure anybody who rides a mountain bike will find something that suits their fitness and fun level.
The half distance race is shorter route packed with safe and enjoyable riding that makes it a perfect event for dad and daughter to have a fun race against mum and son – or maybe just for son to get his first win over dad as a solo dice?