Round 2 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Mountain Bike Series takes place on Saturday in the Grabouw region on a spectacular route that’s expected to reward both skill and endurance.
The 70km marathon route makes use of the abundant gradient and superb trails in the Elgin Valley, with riders skirting the Eikenhof Dam, venturing along the lower slopes of the Groenlandberg Nature Reserve and heading up various ascents on Nuweberg.
The reward for all the climbing follows with a long, steady descent back into the Grabouw Valley. The last half of the race is where the skills challenge comes in with steep climbs and some rocky descents, while an abundance of singletrack can be expected in the final 15km that will undoubtedly require full concentration from weary riders. The total ascent is 1431 metres.
“It’s a course that’s going to suit strong all rounders. Stamina, strength and skills will all be put to the test on this route, which we are really happy with. The recent rain has also made for firm trail surface conditions and we are expecting dry weather on race day,” said Wessel van der Walt, Event Director at Advendurance.
The men’s race pre-entry list includes some of the country’s strongest marathon racers, including Waylon Woolcock, Nico Pfitzenmaier (Dorma), the Contego Swift pair of Lourens Luus and Adriaan Louw.
Going by the pre-entry list, there is no obvious favourite to take charge in the women’s race, but expect the likes of top-seeded riders Gina Stewart, Louise Ferreira, Sarita Louw, Nadia Visser, Joanne Bentley and Diana Carolin to be gunning for the podium.
The 40km half-marathon with only 603 metres of climbing is followed by a fun descent and stimulating singletrack to complete the scenic loop. Care has been taken to have as little route merging as possible between the 70km and 40km events, with only a few hundred metres in total needing to be shared to accommodate both routes.
“We will be incorporating the new A-Z trails recently built by local trails guru, Johan Kriegler and his team and have actually cleared old routes in the region that haven’t been ridden in ages, which will offer a fresh challenge to most. We have also constructed a large bridge that will link Grabouw with Eikenhof, which is all part of a bigger-picture plan to link up the many great trails venues in the area in future,” added Van der Walt.
“Besides being careful to avoid potential high risk areas with our route design, we have altered our route marking strategy and increased the number of motor-cycle route marshals. We will also place race officials at high-risk areas and route splits and we have the support of local metro police as well as the SA Police Service should it be required,” said Van der Walt.
In addition to the 70km and 40km events, there’s a 20km fun race an a 10km fun ride, offering opportunities for mountain bikers of all ages and fitness levels to experience the beautiful region on their bicycles. More than 1200 entries are expected and late entries will still be taken on race day.
Nissan TrailSeeker Grabouw schedule of events:
Venue: Grabouw Country Club
Friday, 26 June at Cycle World Helderberg, Somerset West 10h00–16h00
Saturday, 27 June at Grabouw Country Club 06h30–09h00
Saturday, 27 June
07h45: Riders briefing
For more information, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za.