20 Jan 2014 Entries open for a new 2014 Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge
Entries for the 13th annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge opened on Monday, 20 January. 2014 marks an exciting change in format with the event moving to Le Bonheur Wine Estate in The Greater Simonsberg Conservancy in Stellenbosch. The move offers mountain biking enthusiasts entirely new, never-ridden-before routes develped by well-known MTB trail enthusiast Meurant Botha.The event will again take place over two days on the first weekend in March with four routes on offer catering across all skill and fitness levels. Entries are limited in this first year at the new venue to ensure a quality riding experience for all participants. Eager MTB-ers are thus encouraged to book their spot early if they wish to secure bragging rights as the first to experience the brand new routes through The Greater Simonsberg Conservancy.
David Bellairs, a Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, organisers of the event says “We are thrilled to be hosting this years’ Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge in its scenic new home at Le Bonheur Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. From humble beginnings in the early millennium, with just 700 entrants, the MTB Challenge is now considered one of the largest mountain biking events of its kind in South Africa and the change of venue has injected a new energy and excitment, providing participants with a perfect opportunity to test their skill and fitness levels in a beautiful setting. Competitive riders can expect outstanding riding on newly cut routes on the Sunday, while Saturday retains its status as a fantastic event for families and new riders.”
Saturday 1 March is aimed at newcomers and families with two shorter distances of 14km and 22km on offer, both limited to 1000 riders. The first 14km route is perfect for beginners or those looking to take it easy and enjoy a fun day of cycling.
The slightly longer 22km route is ideal for intermediate riders looking to improve their mountain biking skills and display their talents.
MTB for experienced riders
Sunday 2 March is dedicated to the more experienced cyclists wanting to put their skills to the test and compete against some top mountain bikers. The 38km route is aimed at riders who like a challenge, but aren’t podium-contenders, while the longer 55km route is a sure test of skill and endurance.
The longer routes are limited to 2000 cyclists and cater for more zealous riders looking for a fun, but intense ride.
Race Director Meurant Botha says riders are in for a treat as the new routes have been specifically developed to provide a “superior” riding experience. “By incorporating more of the surrounding wine estates, we’ve had more room to work with which has allowed us to create a more diverse experience for cyclists with greater variation in scenery and tracks. I am confident cyclists will finish the race feeling happy about having completed a proper MTB trail,” says Botha.
When asked about the highlights of the new routes, Botha said: “Riders can expect a challenging route this year with more single track and climbing than in previous years, so proper bike control will be essential. The new route delivers a better riding experience, including special trails, shady sections and some interesting traversing sections which help to make the overall route flow smoothly.”
There will once again be a special combination medal for those riders that complete the 55km long route of the MTB Challenge as well as the 109km Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, taking place the following weekend.
Entries are limited to 1000 riders for the 14km and 22km routes, and 2000 riders for the 38km and 55km routes. No late entries will be accepted.
Riders can enter now by visiting www.mtbchallenge.co.za.
Keep informed of developments of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour by joining their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/themtbchallenge or by following them on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheMTBChallenge.