by Robynne Stastny

Article published by Into Cycling Newspaper (June 01, 2017)

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Houw Hoek MTB

#HouwhoekMtb

The Houw Hoek MTB Tour, originally known as the Wines2Whales Pre-Ride took place from 4-7 May, and attracted a line-up of about 740 riders.

The event offered an opportunity for a family-and-friends breakaway weekend, with some of the best MTB Routes with both stages approximately 50km with a maximum of 800m climbing.

A key objective of the weekend Tour is to offer MTB riders a cost effective, interesting and do-able multi-stage event. on some of the most famous MTB Trails including the Paul Cluver, Thandi and Houw Hoek trails, a well as a new and interesting change was the discontinuation of Kili Hill 1 on the Paul Cluver Wine Estate.

The height of the Rietvlei dam wall was increased by 5 meters, creating a new and stunning contour route, eliminating an unnecessary drop and climb.

Stage 2 started at the Houw Hoek Inn, via Botriver, where it narrows into the Wildekrans Winery and Hermanus trails, with the finish-line at Whalehaven Winery in Hermanus.

#RedstoneMtb

On 13 May 2017 Redstonehills MTB celebrated its 11th year with perfect weather and with the redstone hills as a backdrop you could hardly ask for more.

The event’s location is quite remote, it being situated on the slopes of the Swartberg Mountains between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn. This remoteness and rural atmosphere is probably the attraction to this event. The “plaasbasaar” gives a real rural feel to it, and at the same time gives the community the opportunity to generate funds. What started as a local-ward project became a parish project of the Dutch Reformed Church in Calitzdorp, which evolved into a community project under the auspices of the Redstone Hills Trust, achieving amazing work in the community.

Photo credit: Roger YoungPhoto credit: Roger Young

The racing was highly contested with good competition in all the distances. There were 4 MTB distances to choose from, 60, 43, 17, and 11 km. The 17 km was added this year to accommodate more riders from younger ages. This weekend was all about families and there were events for everyone.

For the runners there were an 11 and 20 km Trail run as well as a 5 km fun walk. In the 43 MTB event Robin Poustie, a 71 year old, completed the race and received a prize for the oldest competitor of the day.

Jakhals Events took over the race organizing duties from Dryland Event Management, and showed their ability to keep up the high standard.  It is a pleasure to experience rural events with such a laid back atmosphere and still manage to set an high standard when it comes to organizing. They don’t compromise safety and everything runs on schedule.

#PaarlMtb

Organisers reinstated the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic with the objective of building it into the premier off-road one-day race in the Cape Winelands.

On 20 May the third edition of the race took participants through the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and past the Taal Monument.

Photo credit: Robert Ward

Race director Darren Herbst had placed a lot of focus on the shorter race and had included a number of custom-built tracks more suited to weekend warrior type riders.

Using home-ground knowledge to his advantage, HB Kruger led from start to finish to take the honours in the 60km feature race.

In the women’s race, Capetonian Carmen Buchacher also dominated from early on to lay the foundation for a comfortable victory and the 29-year-old was pleased to sign off in style before leaving for Europe.

#SAMTBCHAMPS

Marathon enthusiasts endured extreme race conditions in the Pietermaritzburg autumn sun at the 2017 SA MTB Marathon Championship at Cascades MTB Park on 21 May 2017. NAD’s Nico Bell and Ascendis Health’s Robyn De Groot took the Elite Men and Women’s victories respectively on the day.

Robin de Groot Boogs Photograpphy

Defending Men’s Champion Max Knox struggled with a puncture close to 20 kilometres into the race and had to pull out. Strong contender Gawie Combrinck was also forced to withdraw from the race due to an injury at the sani2c a week prior.

In the 50-kilometre Junior race, Pieter du Toit took the top honours for the Men and Tiffany Keep won it for the Women.

Tiffany’s father, Tim Keep was in charge of the Cross-country Eliminator Series for the younger age groups, as well as anyone who was willing to give it a try. The Series was an absolute entertainment for those on the ground waiting for friends and family to return from the marathon racing.



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