Posted on October 7th, 2014 No comments
The significant prize money purse as well as the high quality race environment at the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek will be unaffected despite the recent decision by Bridge, the event’s title sponsor, to apply for business rescue, according to Race Director, Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, the company that owns and organises the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek.
The sixth edition of the seven-day international mountain bike stage race in South Africa’s Western Cape province has attracted a strong field, which includes a number of current and former national, continental and world champions and a total of over 400 riders from 15 countries.
Bridge, a provider of short-term unsecured credit, decided in early September to apply for business rescue as a result of, among of factors, the rapid deterioration of confidence in the unsecured lending industry following the placing of a major player into curatorship. The business rescue process allows for a legal framework to restructure Bridge to enable it to continue as a sustainable business.
“We have been in contact with all our sponsors over the past two weeks and I can confirm that the 2014 edition of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek will not be affected on any level and will go ahead as planned with all the relevant rider benefits and prize money,” said Rademeyer on Monday.“The decision by Bridge to honour its commitment to the race in particular and mountain biking in general is to be respected and appreciated. “We have a very committed group of sponsors who work with us closely to ensure our events continuously deliver the highest standards. Besides Bridge, our title sponsor, Klein Karoo International, Fairview, Wilde Juice, Cape Brewing Co, 32GI and Giant bicycles are all headline and partner sponsors at the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek.
“Another important aspect of the Bridge sponsorship of the Cape Pioneer Trek is that they have allowed us to retain our tone as an event that’s challenging, but sympathetic. We do our best to make every participant – be they a world champion or a weekend warrior – feel like an important part of the event. It’s one of the reasons we get so many returning participants each year,” added Rademeyer. Since 2012 when it took on the Cape Pioneer Trek in a five-year sponsorship agreement, Bridge has given the event a significant boost, particularly in the prize money department, which has helped the race secure International Cycling Union (UCI) grading status. Bridge has also been responsible for increasing the women’s category prize money at the Cape Pioneer Trek so that it is equivalent to what the men earn. The total prize money for all categories for the 2014 event is over R450 000 (approximately US$45 000).
The 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek will be held from 12-18 October 2014. For more information on the event, visit www.capepioneer.co.za
Posted on October 6th, 2014 No comments
Ask any finisher of the DUTOIT Tankwa Trek mountain bike stage race what stands out about the event and virtually every answer will include references to the race route, which is dramatic, varied, stimulating, suprising and, most importantly, rewarding.The third edition of the three-day race will take place from 13-15 February 2015 and once again promises to draw a world-class line-up to challenge for the various category titles. With similar terrain and distance-to-elevation ratio to the ABSA Cape Epic, the Tankwa Trek is becoming a preferred form-tester for those committed to Cape Epic participation.
The Tankwa Trek is held near Ceres, a prolific fruit-producing valley 150km northeast of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The geography of the region makes it a mountain bike route designer’s dream. The routes for each of the three stages are developed by three different mountain bikers that live in the area, each giving ‘his stage’ a different character, which helps add significant depth to the revered Tankwa Trek route.
“Between Hannes Hannekom (Stage 1), Mauritz Walters (Stage 2) and Charl van der Merwe (Stage 3), we have the ultimate route design team for the Tankwa Trek route,” said Carel Herholdt of Dryland Event Management, the company that organizes the DUTOIT Tankwa Trek.
“As mountain bikers, they understand what’s important, what’s dangerous and what’s stimulating. And since they live and ride in the area, they are able to spend a lot of time preparing the route so that it’s truly awesome. When you have a race route that’s so highly praised, it’s hard to better it, but these guys are doing just that for 2015,” added Herholdt.
“Stage 1 will be a little bit different from 2014, but will still retain the amazing views and challenging climbs. I’ve eliminated the sand section near the end, which nobody appreciated, and have added in a couple of sections of natural singletrack that will be a welcome surprise,” said Hannes Hannekom.
“We have a few changes to Stage 2 for 2015. I’ve left in the DUTOIT’s Drop singletrack downhill as well as the Merino Monster climb and descent. I’ll move the first water point further into the stage and it will be inside a fruit pack house, which is appropriate since this is the country’s prime fruit produce region,” said Mauritz Walters. “I’ll also eliminate one of the tar road crossings by taking the riders under the highway and I think I’ll make some other minor changes in the last 10km too.”
Stage 3 will see an innovation, introduced by Van der Merwe, designed specifically to improve rider flow.
“We will have a few sections where you can choose your singletrack option. They won’t run next to each other but each takes the riders on a different route for a while. Some will be equal in distance and technical difficulty simply to improve flow, but other options will offer a longer, less technical section or a shorter technically challenging section to cater specifically riders of different skill levels.
“We’ll also add in some more bridges this year,” explained Van der Merwe, who has been resourceful in creating continuous singletrack through the region’s huge sandstone rock formations.
“By having such dedicated, expert route designers, we are able to focus on fine-tuning the rest of the racing experience for riders at the DUTOIT Tankwa Trek, such as the food, accommodation and ablutions, all of which are as essential to a stage race as a memorable route,” added Herholdt.
Entries are open for the 2015 DUTOUIT Tankwa Trek, but the field size is limited and cannot be expanded due to the potential capacity of the host venue, Kaleo. There are both team and solo rider packages available, which include three nights of accommodation. For more information, or to enter, visit www.tankwatrek.co.za
Posted on October 6th, 2014 No comments
Torq Zone Academy, which recently introduced Cytech™ Technical training in South Africa, announced today that their online module Cytech™ Technical 1 Theory South Africa (CT1TSA) is available for enrolment by South African learners.
“CT1TSA, which is based on the online UK Cytech™ Theory One, has been contextualised for the South African market and successful completion thereof is compulsory to gain admission to any subsequent Cytech™ Technical courses” said Graeme Stickells, Managing Director of Torq Zone Academy. “Once enrolled the learner has 60 days to complete the course, after which their subscription will lapse.”
He added that the learner can also opt to complete the theory component of Cytech™ Technical 1 in the classroom over one day. Following the completion of the theory component of Cytech™ Technical 1, either online or in the classroom, the learner will need to attend a two-day practical and assessment session to be certified as a Cytech™ Technical 1 Bicycle Mechanic.
Cytech™ Technical 1 is the first in a series of three trade courses. This course forms the foundation of all the Cytech™ Technical courses which ensures learners develop competencies in skills fundamental to professional cycle maintenance and is aimed at professionals either starting out their formal learning, or careers as a bicycle mechanic. The normal course fee is about R1,800. However, in order to accommodate learners we’ve decided to offer it at the special introductory offer of R1,300 until the end of December 2014.
The Torq Zone team will be at the Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair 24-26 Oct 2014 where the Torq Zone Academy will be officially launched. Cytech™ online courses can be accessed through www.torqzoneacademy.co.za.
Posted on October 6th, 2014 No comments
Participants in October’s FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike race have donated almost R70 000 worth of library books and furniture to underprivileged rural schools in the Central Drakensberg. The race’s community coordinator Nicky Green said she had been surprised and touched by the response from participants, who had made voluntary donations as part of their entry process.
“We have been exceptionally blessed by our riders this year. I had no idea what the response would be but have been overwhelmed by the generosity of some.” Green said the eighth edition of the KwaZulu-Natal event, which starts on October 10, was fully subscribed across all three racing options. She said some entrants had also been owed refunds for early cancellations but they had offered these as donations instead.
“Almost 500 learners between the ages of two and 14 years will now stand to benefit from access to quality educational materials.” The three-day stage race starts at the Free State border and traces a route through rural KwaZulu-Natal, finishing each day at Emseni Camp near Winterton. Green said organisers had identified five rural schools in the vicinity of the race route as worthy beneficiaries.
She said her goal was to get young children in the area to develop a love of reading. “Even if it’s only a handful, I feel that a love of reading and books will get them a head start in life.” Green said the book supplier to the 46664 Participate for Good library project had put together a useful list of age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction titles to guide her choices.
“My farm neighbour, Alida Nel, worked at a local school for many years. Together with her daughters, this family of teachers also compiled a list of what they think are essential, delightful stories for young readers.” While this year’s campaign focused mainly on younger readers, Green said she hoped to increase the number of books and targeted age range next year.“However, there are so many basic needs in our community. Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’
“Education is of paramount importance, but water and electricity are needed too.”She said the event usually adopted a new project each year, with previous years including the oxpecker conservation project, the supply of solar panels and JoJo rainwater tanks to workers on the event, and repairs to the rhino fencing of a local game reserve.
Visit www.bergandbush.co.za, find the race on Facebook or follow @bergandbush.
Posted on October 6th, 2014 No comments
The Bestmed-ASG women’s cycling team have announced the signing of elite triathlete Lauren Dance as part of their line-up for the 2015 season. Dance, who finished second at the ATU Africa Championships in Zimbabwe earlier this year, will make her debut for the squad at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in November. The 24-year-old University of Johannesburg student said she was excited about the fresh challenges and new learning opportunities that being part of a pro team presented.
“I usually race these events alone, so I’m looking forward to being part of the team dynamics.” While triathlon remained her core focus, Dance said riding for Bestmed-ASG would help to boost her cycling performances across both sports. “Of the three triathlon disciplines, cycling is my strength, but it is underestimated in triathlon. I plan to use the races and my teammates’ experience to help me learn more and get stronger.”
The former U23 national champion, who will continue to compete in triathlon under the MAD Multisport banner, said she also hoped to add value to her new team. “Road cycling will be balanced around the international triathlon season. It usually fits together quite well, so once we know the international calendar, I’ll be able to confirm my availability for local road races.” This season, Dance finished ninth at the ATU Africa Cup in Cape Town and participated for the fourth time at the world triathlon championships in Canada.
Bestmed-ASG team manager Owen Botha welcomed the Boksburg athlete’s inclusion in his pro outfit. “I’ve known Lauren for a number of years and we’ve been wanting to bring her on board for a while but her triathlon commitments just would not allow it. “So we’re very pleased that the opportunity has finally presented itself.” Botha said Dance was very strong on the bike and would be an excellent support rider for his team.
“She has the ability to set a very steady pace for long periods of time, while her triathlon skills also make her a good option as a breakaway rider.” For racing updates, follow @TeamBestmed_asg or find the team on Facebook.
Posted on October 6th, 2014 No comments
The North-West Province’s premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour has taken a detour – into the bush.
Organisers of the Bestmed Satellite Classic, which is presented by ASG, have added a mountain biking component to create a whole weekend of scintillating cycling on October 18 and 19. On the Saturday, the 80km and 106km road races roll out from the Route 66 Saloon along the Hartbeeshoek road, while the new 20km and 40km mountain bike events wrap up proceedings on the Sunday.
Mountain bike route director Darren Herbst said he and his team were eagerly counting down the days to the inaugural off-road race. “We hope the first edition of the mountain bike challenge will be something really special. This area is truly a gem with so much potential and hidden treasures.” He said organisers had been inundated with requests to stage a mountain bike event in the picturesque Hartbeespoort area.
“The Satellite Classic has become such a feature on the road racing circuit that it was only natural to try to secure a mountain bike event over the same weekend.” Herbst said participants could choose between two manageable distances for the debut event. “We’ve tried to develop something less technical but that still ensures that cyclists get to experience the full beauty of this part of the country.”
He said the shorter family ride featured a couple of climbs, totalling just over 300m of ascending, to ensure that riders still got a good workout. “The trail is perfect for those looking for something different and less technically demanding but you still need to have the legs to get up the hills.” The longer route on the other hand would offer something for cyclists looking to stretch themselves, said Herbst.
“The undulating hills and valleys will be a key part of the trail, and this will result in some challenging climbs and jaw-dropping descents.”Combining single, Jeep and forest track as well as cattle paths, the route would undoubtedly take participants on a journey of discovery, he said. “What makes it so incredible are the views. “You will cross land that has been owned by the same family for generations, with wide open spaces and endless expanses of bushveld, inhabited only by game and dotted with the odd farmhouse.”
Added to this, said Herbst, the organisers had secured the right to use the ADA Adventure Centre, which specialises in 4×4 adventures and corporate teambuilding.“Some fun single-track and even a pump track add some spice to the trail. Cycling in this area is an amazing experience and we look forward to a great day out.”He said the start/finish venue at the Route 66 Saloon would give participants and their families a fitting taste of outback hospitality and entertainment.
“Nino and his team have become known for offering a great ‘cowboy’ experience and will take you back in time to the days of barn dancing and cowboy-style chow.”Entries for the road race close at midnight on October 7, with mountain bike entries extended to October 12. Late entries will be accepted at registration but not on race day. Enter at www.asgevents.co.za – R10 from every entry goes to the Cancer Association of South Africa. For updates, find the event on Facebook or follow @Satellite_Class.
Posted on September 26th, 2014 No comments
Participants in next month’s FedGroup Berg & Bush mountain bike stage race can look forward to a spectacular new drop off the Drakensberg escarpment, organisers have announced.
Known as the Drakensberg Drop, the new section will take riders on a long and scenic descent via ancient cattle paths from the Free State border into KwaZulu-Natal.
Race organiser Gary Green said his route building teams had been working hard to prepare the changes in time for the event, which rolls out from the new Border Post start venue at the top of Oliviershoek Pass on October 10.
“The Drop makes a far better descent off the mountain as it winds its way down through the hills and valleys and along a river bank, where the riders can really enjoy the amazing scenery.”
Day one alone would now feature over 2 200m of descending with 1 500m of climbing, said Green.
He said participants in the two three-day options – the Descent and Great Trek – could anticipate further changes on day two, with the traditional boat crossing of Spioenkop Dam abandoned in favour of uninterrupted riding.
“We now approach Spioenkop Mountain from another direction, using the old Fairview road, which was the original wagon track between Ladysmith and Bergville.”
Coming down off the gruelling Spioenkop ascent, he said riders would also encounter a new section of berms and jumps, named the Bell Run in honour of section sponsor Bell Equipment.
“The Bell Run has also been included on the original two-day event, so our more social riders won’t be left out of the fun.”
Green said many additional sections of fast-flowing single-track were being included, as his team continued to uncover well-trodden cattle and game paths.
“At the moment, we have three teams of four people who go out every day to ensure that the route is race ready. But most of the additional route preparation is done by the local people living in those areas.”
One of last year’s signature sections, the enclosed JoJo tank tunnel across the Tugela River, had been transformed into a floating bridge after floodwaters washed the tunnels away, he added.
The event starts with the 222km Descent on October 10, followed by the Great Trek on October 14 and the 110km Two-Day event from October 18.
The two-day event starts and finishes at Emseni Camp race village on the banks of the Tugela River near Winterton, which is also the overnight stop for the three-day races.
Posted on September 26th, 2014 No comments
South African mountain bike marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota) continued with her impressive debut season as a full-time mountain bike racer when she won the iconic Pennypinchers Karoo-to-Coast race title in Knysna on Sunday.
De Groot clocked a time of three hours 29 minutes 18 seconds, just over a minute ahead of Swedish national marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Company). Former South African marathon champion, Cherise Stander (RECM), rounded out the podium places.
It’s the first time De Groot has won one of the country’s oldest mountain bike marathons, which starts at Uniondale in the Karoo region and ends at the coastal town of Knynsa. The 100km race route gradually descends from a height of 700 meters above sea level with 1525 metres of total ascent and is known for its stunning scenery as it connects the two eco-regions.
After finishing second in her first attempt at the event last year, De Groot used the experience she gained to her benefit in the popular point-to-point race, clocking a time five minutes faster than she did in 2013 – in similar conditions.
“Last year I did too much work on my own and was rather empty in the finale. This year, I rode a lot more tactically and used the bunches that form along the route to save my energy for the finale,” explained De Groot.
“I actually got away from the other women on the very first climb, which has quite a loose, tricky surface, but Jennie caught me on the descent and it was then that I realised I need to use the shelter of the bunches as best I can. I reached the last climb with a bit of something left in the tank this year and I put in a surge, which allowed me to get a gap on Jennie.
“For the final eight kilometers it was a pursuit situation. Jennie was fighting really hard and when I looked back, there were times where I thought she might catch me. But there was a bit of a head wind on the last exposed section into Knysna and I managed to maintain my advantage to the finish,” smiled De Groot.
De Groot and Stenerhag won the PE-Plett stage race last Tuesday and are preparing to team up again for next month’s UCI-graded Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek seven-day stage race.
“The Cape Pioneer Trek is a big goal for us. The UCI points are attractive, the prize money is good and the event is very challenging. We’ll be up against a strong international field there so races like PE-Plett and Karoo-to-Coast are good preparation events for that,” said De Groot.
De Groot adds the Karoo-to-Coast title to MTN Dullstroom Marathon, three Nissan Trailseeker Marathons and the South African Marathon Championships to her list of significant one-day race wins for 2014. She’s also won PE-Plett and Sani2c stage races with Stenerhag this year and placed sixth overall at the Marathon World Championships.
“It’s been a really good year for me so far. I wouldn’t be able to put in the kind of commitment and time required were it not for my primary sponsors Biogen, Toyota and Cycle Lab. They’ve believed in me and helped me achieve more than I could have imagined at the start of this year. Hopefully I can end the year on a high note,” smiled De Groot.
Posted on September 17th, 2014 No comments
South African mountain bike marathon champion, Robyn de Groot and Sweden’s national marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag, combined forces as team Biogen Toyota Cape Brewing Company and dominated the Isuzu Trucks PE-Plett stage race that ended on Tuesday.
The pair won the women’s division in all four stages and the overall title. But while the results show they were dominant, it wasn’t an event that they were able to take lightly.
The PE-Plett took place over four days, taking riders almost 400km from Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. There were more than 7000 meters of vertical ascent during the event that proved to be a true test of endurance, power, skill and equipment.
“Jennie and I are riding next month’s Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek as a team and we wanted to use PE-Plett as a test for that. And boy what a test it was!” said De Groot.
“None of the stages were easy. In fact each was tough in its own way. The terrain was unpredictable and constantly changing. The event’s pay-off line is “The Tough One” and it certainly lived up to that,” said De Groot.
After winning the 125km Stage 1 on Saturday with an impressive fifth overall, Stage 2, a 91km haul was the pair’s biggest challenge. Stenerhag was suffering from a stomach bug, which saw her struggle to maintain the team’s regular race pace. But she managed to reach the finish with the team still claiming a strong sixth overall.
Stage 3, a 73km leg from Hankey to Woodridge included over 2000 meters of ascent, largely through the Longmore Forest. Stenerhag was almost fully recovered from her stomach trouble and the pair were able to increase their lead with another fifth-place finish in the overall placings.
The final stage from Woodridge to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday was only 68km, but it offered the greatest variety of terrain, gradient and trail type of any of the stages. Many riders found the last 15km through the Baakens Valley’s steep, shale-surfaced single-track to be one of the toughest segments of the event. De Groot and Stenerhag held a solid lead at that stage and decided to be somewhat cautious.
Their strategy paid off and they finished a remarkable fourth overall on the day without any incidents.
“We were fortunate not to have any mechanicals as the route claimed a few unfortunate victims over the four days. We made it through that stage quite well and that will stand us in good stead for the Cape Pioneer Trek,” said De Groot.
Posted on September 8th, 2014 No comments
Momentum is building for the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race as almost 400 riders from a record 15 countries have secured their entries, with a number of top names confirmed on the start list.
The seven-day race, which starts on 12 October 2014, covers a distance of 574km with a total vertical ascent of 11 958 metres. It starts and finishes in Oudtshoorn in South Africa’s Western Cape province and takes riders through three different eco regions in what is one of the most diverse bicycle race routes on the international calendar.
While the Prologue time trial and Stages 1, 2 and 3 are similar to last year, Stages 4, 5 and 6 will be very different with some significant changes being made that the organisers anticipate will keep the podium battles tight and exciting right until the final day.
Once again, Stage 2 will have an out-of-category mountain-top finish, which is unique in mountain bike racing. The 86km leg is relatively short, but climbs a total of 2 781 metres, the final 1 100 metres coming in the last 11km up the iconic Swartberg Pass. The stakes on this stage are higher than any other in mountain bike stage racing, with the men and women’s winning teams each collecting R250 000 (about US$25 000), courtesy of the event’s title sponsor Bridge.
It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether the winning women’s combination from 2013 will be back to defend their title. Switzerland’s Ariane Kleinhans and Denmark’s current marathon world champion, Anika Langvad, dominated the women’s race for Team RECM last year, but will only confirm next week if they’ll resume their formidable partnership for the 2014 edition.
The 2013 men’s race winners will definitely be on the start line. Only this year, they’ll be separated. Racing as Team RECM, South Africans Erik Kleinhans and Waylon Woolcock won the overall title last year, but will be paired up with different teammates for this year’s event. Woolcock will be partnered by Darren Lill for the Cannondale Blend team, while Kleinhans will pair up with Team RECM stablemate, Nico Bell, the 2012 Cape Pioneer Trek champion.
Other top names on the entry list include SCOTT Factory Racing’s Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes, winners of two stages in 2013, South African marathon champion, James Reid and his ASRIN Cycling teammate, Konny Looser (BEL) and rising stars Louwrens Luus and Adriaan Louw (Fairview Elite). Leading the international charge for the men’s title are Simon Stiebjahn (GER) and Tim Bohme (FRA) of Team Bulls.
Whether Kleinhans and Langvad race again or not, there’s a strong women’s field assembled. Swiss marathon champion, Esther Suss, will team up with South Africa’s Theresa Ralph on Team Meerendal, while Catherine Williamson (GBR) and Alice Pirard (BEL) will be partnered on the Asrin Cycling team. Multiple Swedish marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag and South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot, will join forces under the team name Cape Brewing Company Biogen Toyota.
With the event being a UCI-graded race for the first time in 2014, the international rankings points and increased prize money have attracted an elite field with more depth. More top riders are expected to confirm their participation in the next week.
While the spotlight is often focussed on the leading riders, the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek is well known for its relaxed atmosphere and characteristic small-town hospitality, which the organisers have committed to maintaining despite the event’s elevated international status.
Other value-add elements of the 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek are the Aramex–Giant bike transport service, which is a free service to ensure South African-based entrants can get their bikes to and from the race venue with minimal frustration. There’s also a Giant mountain bike worth R26 000 to be won. All paid-up Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek entrants on 15 September, 2014, will go into the draw for this bike.
There are a very limited number of entries still available. To enter, or for more information, visit www.capepioneer.co.za