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  • Strong International field for Ashburton investments national MTB series opener

    Posted on January 29th, 2015 admin No comments

    2014 MTN National MTB Series #1 Dullstroom driven by Nissan-4281

    A strong international field will contest the first round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series in South Africa, which takes place at Meerendal Wines in the Western Cape on Saturday in what promises to be a world-class display of quality racing. The season opening UCI Category 3 status event has attracted some of the biggest names in local and international mountain biking. Numerous ABSA Cape Epic contenders and world champions, eager to test their form on South African soil, have confirmed their participation, including 2014 Cape Epic champions Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) and Robert Mennen (Germany).

    They will be joined by their Topeak Ergon teammate, Austria’s former marathon world champion, Alban Lakata. Team Bulls, the German professional racing team that’s adopted South Africa as its second home, will also be present on Saturday, represented by Simon Stiebjahn and three-time Cape Epic champion, Stefan Sahm, while Team Cannondale’s Manuel Fumic (Germany) and Wheeler Meerendal’s Konny Looser (Switzerland), complete a powerful international men’s line-up. Competition will be fierce as local stars look to make the most of home-ground and weather-conditioned advantage.

    Overall 2014 Series winner, Nico Bell and his RECM teammate Erik Kleinhans, will be joined by Darren Lill (Cannondale Blend), Waylon Woolcock, and the Westvaal team pairing of Gawie Combrinck and Johann Rabie in their quest for a good start to the prestigious series. Also on the start list is South African Olympian Philip Buys (SCOTT LCB), the Contego Swift pair of Lourens Luus and Adriaan Louw, multiple X-Terra World Champion, Conrad Stoltz, and former top South African marathon racer, David George, back after a doping ban.

    The elite women’s field is equally impressive with the RECM duo of multiple Cape Epic winner, Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) and former South African marathon champion, Cherise Stander, primed to make an impact. Kleinhans is the defending Series champion, while Stander has been intent on making a return to peak form after a relatively quiet 2014 racing season. They’ll square up again Ascendis Health’s pair of current national marathon champions, Robyn de Groot (South Africa) and Jennie Stenerhag (Sweden), who were second and third respectively behind Kleinhans at the Attakwas Marathon a fortnight ago.

    Former marathon world champion and multiple Cape Epic winner, Esther Suss (Switzerland), is also in the country preparing for her assault on the 2015 Cape Epic and will undoubtedly be a title contender on Saturday. Also sure to help shape the race are other top South Africans Yolandi du Toit (Garmin), Theresa Ralph (Tribe Multisport), Cherie Vale and Mariske Strauss (both Paarl Media OMX Pro Team). “We are really happy with the international interest and general growth our Cape event has seen,” commented Fritz Pienaar from Advendurance, the company that owns and manages the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series.

    “It’s a strong field and a great way to welcome Ashburton Investments on board as our new headline sponsor, but the race and the series isn’t only about the professionals. We cater for all levels of mountain bikers and we expect more than a thousand riders on the day over the various distances.” The distances on offer are: 105km Ultra PRO/Elite (UCI) and Amateur 70km Marathon Elite women (UCI) and Amateur men and women 40km Half Marathon XCM 20km Fun Race 10km Fun Ride Late entries will still be available at Meerendal Wines on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning from 06h00.

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  • Jakkalsvlei MTB and trail run – a new year with a new MTB route at the new Jakkalsvlei wine tasting room

    Posted on January 26th, 2015 admin No comments
    Jakkalsvlei (1 of 8)

    In the photo from the left: Jantjie Jonker (Owner of Jakkalsvlei) Nicky Gilliomee (winner of the ladies 57km MTB) Timo Cooper (winner of the 57km MTB), Sonja Otto (Director of Trisport)

    The Inaugural Jakkalsvlei Mountain bike race and the Jackal Trail Run took place on the 24th of January at the newly built Wine Tasting Room at Jakkalsvlei Wine Estate in Herbertsdale. With an exciting 57km MTB and a shorter 27km MTB option, riders of all abilities were able to explore the best kept secret of the garden route. There was also a 6km Jackal Trail Run that proved to be just as exciting and challenging.

    On Saturday morning 209 athletes took part in these Jakkalsvlei events. At 07:00 the 57km mountain bikers took to the start line. Starting the race with a steep descent, with a magnificent view of the Jakkalsvlei vineyards and the Tasting Room in the background. Timo Cooper and Nicky Gilliomee took the lead from the start. The riders weaved their way through the vineyard, over the hills and down the Gouritz River valley. The 27km and 10km MTB riders took to the routes at 8:00 and we had some very excited youngsters among these riders. Shortly after, at 08:15 the 6km Jackal Trail Runners had their turn in the vineyard and on the challenging hilly terrain.

    The first young cyclist across the line was Skye Lategan who road an amazing time of 00:29: 41 in the 10km MTB. There was an exceptional gap of 15min between him and the second place rider, which just goes to show how quickly he moved.

    Samuel Vermaak and Johan van Niekerk took the lead from the start in the 6km Jackal Trail run. Johan over-took Samuel and finished in a time of 00:31:53, beating Samuel with just 4 seconds. The third place male, Nicholas Crisp was close behind them with a time of 00:33:48. The 1st female runner across the line was Theresa Bester with an amazing time of 00:33:46 – beating the third male and showing that the ladies are also very competitive. Nicholas said he was trying to keep up with Theresa, but in the end she just finished strong. In second place was Anami du Plessis and in third was Delmari Henning.

    For the 27km MTB Matthew Lake was first with a time of 1:23:33 followed closely by the junior Casper Pretorius in 2nd and Gordon Meyer in the 3rd place. The first lady in for the 27km Jakkalsvlei MTB was Erika Goedhals with a winning time of 01:48:55. Second place went to Lizelle Muller and third was shared by Desiree & Leonora Du Preez.

    Timo Cooper won the 57km MTB with a staggering time of 02:08:24, beating Henri Meyer by 3 seconds. Frans Grotepass was 3 seconds behind Henri. A grand total of 6 second difference between first and third, just shows how much they were chasing one another. The iron ladies of the 57km came in shortly after Timo. Nicky Gilliomee cycled an amazing time of 02:22:25 followed by Liza-Mari Gilliomee in 2nd place and Marike Vreken in third.

    Trisport Director, Sonja Otto and Hano Otto are looking forward to the next Jakkalsvlei event on the 31st October this year. The event will take place in October/November each year from now onwards. The next event that Trisport will be organising in the close vicinity will be the Trans-Outeniqua 3 day stage Mountainbike tour from 20 to 22 February. Check out Trisport.co.za for more results and upcoming events or follow them on twitter @TrisportSA and TrisportSA on Facebook.

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  • Bestmed-ASG announces 2015 roster

    Posted on January 23rd, 2015 admin No comments

    Ashleigh Parsons: Rising junior track star Ashleigh Parsons, who won four gold medals at the SA championships last year, is one of Team Bestmed-ASG’s new signings for the 2015 season. Photo: Supplied

    With four new signings and an additional supporting sponsor, Team Bestmed-ASG is preparing to dominate South African women’s cycling in 2015. According to team manager Owen Botha, his 11-rider squad will be aiming for all-round competitiveness on the national track, mountain bike and road racing circuits. “The road champs in February will be our first major event of the year and we are hoping for at least six medals there.”

    In line with the team’s stated focus on developing young talent, rising stars Azulde Britz and Ashleigh Parsons have joined the roster and will assist Jessica Brown in presenting a three-pronged attack in the under-16 category. Britz is a product of the ASG mountain bike academy, while Parsons claimed four gold medals at last year’s SA track champs – breaking both the pursuit and time-trial records. Zimbabwe’s Greer Wynn adds international firepower to the elite line-up while national road champion (30 to 34 years) Anli Smith strengthens the veteran category.

    Stalwart veteran cyclist Desray Sebregts will be the designated team leader. Aside from Brown and Sebregts, the returning riders will be mountain biker Zandile Ndhlovu, elites Charlene du Preez and Chante van der Merwe, and former SA under-23 triathlon champion Lauren Dance. Versatile Lynette Benson, who notched up four under-16 national titles across the road and mountain biking disciplines last year, will be the sole junior competitor.

    Botha said the added support of new subsidiary sponsor Multihull Group would allow the team more opportunities to compete at races across the country. “Our aim is to enable the girls to achieve their personal ambitions. “Youngsters like Azulde, Jessica, Ashleigh and Lynette are great talents. They need to experience international competition in the near future and we will do our best to assist them.” Multihull Group managing director Paul Hough said the yacht manufacturer looked forward to assisting with infrastructure and rider development. “Currently, the most emphasis nationally is on men’s cycling and we thought it opportune to get involved on the women’s side.

    “Team Bestmed-ASG is well represented across all age groups from juniors through to vets and very involved in developing new riders.” Aside from the national champs, Botha said the team’s goal races would include sponsor Bestmed’s Tour de Boland, Jock Cycle Classique, Lost City Classic and Satellite Classic. Other subsidiary sponsors are nutrition and health company Biogen, vehicle supplier Jaguar SA, lubricant manufacturer Fuchs, Dark Horse Wheels and Continental Tyres.

     

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  • Cut-off for Berge en Dale looms

    Posted on January 19th, 2015 admin No comments

    The entry deadline for the Action Ford Berge en Dale Classic looms on Monday evening. Pictured here is last year’s winner Costa Seibeb. Photo: Supplied

    Much like its signature Hillsnacks climb, the entry deadline for the Action Ford Berge en Dale Classic looms once more on Monday night. Thousands of cyclists are expected to book their place for the West Rand’s biggest road race, powered by Optimum Financial Services, which starts in Krugersdorp on January 31. The event rolls out from Cradlestone Mall in the Muldersdrift area of Mogale City and will take participants over an undulating 102km course of hills and valleys. According to race director Wynand de Villiers of ASG events, Hillsnacks will be the first major challenge that riders will face as they ascend to over 1 750m above sea level within the first 10 kilometres.

    “It’s a 6km climb with a gradient of seven per cent in places, so it really sets the tone for the route.” With four ascents dotting the course, De Villiers said the last one would make tired riders dig deep as they climbed back up to the finish in the closing kilometres. “But the suffering will be worth it as the race passes the Sterkfontein Caves and some beautiful nature reserves in the Cradle of Humankind.” As a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, he said the race attracted South Africa’s top teams, with the added incentive of cash prizes for the pros as well as lucky draws.

    The 2014 edition – which was won by Namibian Costa Seibeb of the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team and An-li Kachelhoffer of Activate Drinks respectively – boasted more than 4 000 riders. De Villiers said the successful relocation to the spacious new venue on the R28 had convinced organisers to keep the start/finish venue and route unchanged for 2015. “Being situated at the mall, there’ll be plenty to keep the family entertained once the racing is done for the day.” He said a 55km short-course option was available for those who might find the full route too daunting.

    Registration will take place on the Wednesday before the race from 10am to 4pm at Cradlestone Mall. Alternatively, collect your race number on the Thursday between 10am and 4pm at Cycle Lab Fourways or on the Friday from 10am to 4pm at Action Ford Krugersdorp.

    Enter at www.cycleevents.co.za. Late entries will be accepted at registration but not on the morning of the race. For more information, phone 076 621 1807 or e-mail eventsupport@asgworld.co.za.

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  • Significant changes to the 2015 Cape Pioneer Trek

    Posted on January 9th, 2015 admin No comments
    Riders will tackle a 7km beach section as they leave Mossel Bay on Stage 1 of the 2015 Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race. Photo credit: Zoon Cronje/Nikon/Xtremedia

    Riders will tackle a 7km beach section as they leave Mossel Bay on Stage 1 of the 2015 Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race.
    Photo: Release Centre

    The seventh edition of the Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race in South Africa sees significant changes, including a point-to-point format, a coastal start in Mossel Bay and back-to-back ascents of the formidable Swartberg Pass.

    Running from 18-24 October 2015, the Cape Pioneer Trek, which is a UCI-graded event, will cover a total of 541 kilometres with 11 320 metres of ascent, as it takes riders through three different eco-regions in the Western Cape province.

    The dramatic route changes from previous editions will see the race begin in the coastal town of Mossel Bay, starting and finishing at the Point on the water’s edge with a very urban-style 15.5km route that includes some steep climbs and a passing of the Bay of St Blaize (Santos Beach), the place where Portuguese explorer, Bartholomew Diaz, the first ever European to set foot in South Africa, landed in 1488.

    Stage 1 then takes the riders northwards on a seven-kilometre beach ride from Mossel Bay and then inland for a tough 110km leg that includes 2 232 metres of climbing along the base of the Outeniqua Mountains, ending in George.

    Stage 2 from George to Oudtshoorn, is a relatively short 84km leg, but includes the climb of the Montagu Pass as well as old Voortrekker wagon trails and also passes through the Chandelier Game Reserve; while Stage 3 is another 84km haul from Oudtshoorn to De Rust via the Kammanasie reserve.

    Stage 4 sees the traditional ascent of the Swartberg Pass, but from a completely different approach that includes the climb of Spitskop and a pedal past the Kango Caves. Then there’s a significant 2 149m of climbing on this day with the final 11km on the Swartberg Pass to the mountain-top finish.

    Stage 5 sees an unprecedented back-to-back ascent of the Swartberg Pass taking riders the opposite direction to Stage 4 on a longer 113km leg with 2262 metres of climbing, starting in Prince Albert and finishing in Calitzdorp. The organisers expect this to be the toughest stage of the 2015 edition.

    The final day, Stage 6, is a relatively short 65km section from Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn.

    The Cape Pioneer Trek has been embraced by the harbour village of Mossel Bay. The race visited the coastal town once before, in 2010, its second year, but has now developed into one of the world’s premier bicycle stage races, bringing with it a high level of prestige, as well as international media coverage.

    “We are delighted that Mossel Bay has been included in the 2015 Cape Pioneer Trek route. The race has already built up a reputation for itself as one of the premier mountain bike races in South Africa and we believe that Mossel Bay’s natural beauty and facilities will add another attractive dimension to this prestige event,” said Executive Mayor of Mossel Bay, Alderlady Marie Ferreira.

    “We are sure the Cape Pioneer Trek will go from strength to strength and further enhance the Little Karoo and Garden Route’s reputation as the heartland of mountain bike racing in South Africa.”

    “We are excited about the significant changes for our seventh edition,” said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, co-founder and race director of the Cape Pioneer Trek.

    “This is the first year we will not start in Oudtshoorn, which has allowed us to introduce a point-to-point route format for the first time. This opens up a whole lot of options for us in terms of route changes in future years too.

    “The other exciting change is the back-to-back stages that climb the Swartberg Pass. Normally we only climb this mountain from the Oudtshoorn (south) side. But this time we’ll also return again from the Prince Albert (north) side and will be able to showcase the spectacular quartzite cliffs that form part of the amazing geology of this World Heritage Site,” added Rademeyer.

    Also fresh to the race are the two new stages from Oudtshoorn to De Rust and from De Rust to Prince Albert. Both will incorporate completely new routes; while another new section will be encountered when riders enter the Kammanassie Reserve from a new entry point.

    “A bicycle has never been ridden up the new climb into the Kammanassie Reserve, which remains one of the most remote and rugged features of our race route. You will struggle to find another bicycle race route this diverse. From riding on the beach, then through coastal belt forest and into the dry, harsh desert conditions of the Karoo, all within the first 48 hours, is truly quite unique,” remarked Rademeyer.

    Entries will open to previous Cape Pioneer Trek participants on 22 December 2014 and to the general public on 29 December 2014. It’s the first time entries will open the same day as the new route launch. Entries are once again limited to 400.

    “Because of the change in race route format, riders will now get an additional night’s accommodation after the prologue stage, along with three extra meals being provided compared to previous years. Changing the race route each year is always a challenge, but it’s a challenge we relish and we look forward to welcoming the riders to the incredible route of the seventh edition of the Cape Pioneer Trek,” added Rademeyer.

    2015 Cape Pioneer Trek
    18-24 October 2015
    Western Cape, South Africa

    Sun 18 Oct: Prologue, Mossel Bay – 15.5km; 416m
    Mon 19 Oct: Stage 1, Mossel Bay–George – 110km; 2 232m
    Tues 20 Oct: Stage 2, George–Oudtshoorn – 84km; 1 536m
    Wed 21 Oct: Stage 3, Oudtshoorn–De Rust – 84km; 1 766m
    Thurs 22 Oct: Stage 4, De Rust–Swartberg Pass – 69km; 2 149m
    Fri 23 Oct: Stage 5, Prince Albert–Calitzdorp – 113km; 2 262m
    Sat 24 Oct: Stage 6, Calitzdorp–Oudtshoorn – 65km; 959m

    Total distance: 541km
    Total ascent: 11 320m

    For more detailed descriptions of each stage or to enter, visit www.capepioneer.co.za. Also, “like” the Facebook page: Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and follow @CapePioneerTrek on Twitter for up-to-the-minute announcements.

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  • Torq Zone Academy officially opens its doors

    Posted on December 12th, 2014 admin No comments
    Torq opens it doors

    Graeme Stickells, Managing Director of Torq Zone Academy, has officially opened South Africa’s first state of the art technical training facility for the bicycle industry.

    The Torq Zone Academy hit the headlines in August with the announcement of their intention to establish South Africa’s first bicycle technical training facility. The Torq Zone Academy was to offer internationally accredited Cytech™ technical courses exclusively in South Africa. Subsequently, the online course went live on the 1st of October, and shop fitting work at the actual training facility in Doringkloof Mall, Centurion continued unabated. The long anticipated shipment of Park Tool arrived the week before last. Park Tool USA, through their local distributor Cape Cycle Systems, were both instrumental and very supportive in getting this world class training facility established.

    Torq Zone is very excited to announce that their Academy is now a reality and the doors to South Africa’s first state of the art technical training facility have officially opened. The UK based Cytech™ Technical scheme is now also available as class room courses in addition to the online course launched earlier. “The course schedules for the next 6 months are available and you can book your course directly on our website”, said Graeme Stickells, MD of Torq Zone Academy.

    “The positive response we received following the initial announcement has been quite remarkable, even exceeding our wildest expectations. It gave us lots of confidence in this exciting but also risky journey we’ve embarked on. Our planned partnerships with Corporate Social Investment programs such as ABSA Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy is particularly exciting and close to our hearts. With the support of distributors, retail shops and the cycling enthusiast alike, we are looking forward to affect real chance in the cycling industry at large” said Dirk Oerlemans, owner of Torq Zone.

    To celebrate this momentous occasion and to set in motion urgently needed change in the repair and maintenance of bicycles, Torq Zone management decided to extend their launch promotion to include all Cytech™ Technical courses. The promotion makes provision to save up to 30% on your course fees. In addition you stand a chance to get all your course fees paid back as part of a lucky draw. For more info refer www.torqzoneacademy.co.za

     

     

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  • De Groot, Williamson claim Wines2Whales title

    Posted on November 10th, 2014 admin No comments
    Wines 2 Whales

    Robyn de Groot (right) and Catherine Williamson are greeted at the finish line of Stage 1 of the FNB Wines2Whales after finishing the stage in second place. The pair went on to win Stages 2 and 3 and claim the overall title. Photo credit: Cherie Vale/Newsport Media

    South African marathon mountain bike champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota) and Britain’s Catherine Williamson (Asrin Cycling), teamed up to secure one last title for the 2014 racing year when they won the women’s category at the FNB Wines2Whales three-day stage race at the weekend. Traditionally the final major stage race for the year, the 2014 Wines2Whales Race, attracted a strong women’s field, setting the scene for three days of close racing.

    Friday’s Stage 1, a 74km leg from Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West to Oak Valley, Grabouw, took place in searing heat, with a top temperature of 45 degrees Celcius recorded on the route. London Olympian Candice Neethling (Time Freight VeloLife) and Swedish marathon champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Cape Brewing Co.) secured the first stage win ahead of De Groot and Williamson with Theresa Ralph (Tribe Suunto) and Jeannie Dreyer (USN HiTec) rounding out the podium.

    “Unfortunately Catherine was feeling a bit ill today and wasn’t able to race at 100%. But she still gave what ever she had and we were able to at least stay within sight of the race lead,” said De Groot on Friday evening. Saturday’s Stage 2 was held over a circular 64km route that started and finished at Oak Valley. With slightly cooler temperatures and a shorter stage, the racing was on from the start. De Groot and Williamson managed to win the stage and secured a big enough lead over second placed stage finishers, Neethling and Stenerhag, to move into a 48-second lead with one stage remaining.

    “Catherine was a lot better today and we were eager to take the stage win. The racing was close though which is great for women’s racing where there isn’t always this much depth. Fortunately we got enough time to get the overall lead and will be defending that with everything we have on the final stage,” said De Groot after Saturday’s leg. The final stage, a 73.5km haul from Oak Valley to Onrus, near Hermanus at the coast, saw a thrilling battle in the women’s race. With most of the stage’s 1300 metres of vertical ascent coming in the second half, the event holds a surprising sting in its tail.

    De Groot and Williamson managed to win the stage ahead of Neethling and Stenerhag, but the winning margin was only 68 seconds as the latter pair exhausted themselves pursuing their rivals over the final 12km.“It was a great contest today! Apparently Candice and Jennie saw us on the last long climb, which motivated them. We actually weren’t aware that they were that close and we decided to take no risks on the last section of singletrack. That’s where they closed the gap on us and for the last couple of kilometres it was an all out effort to get the stage win,” said De Groot.

    De Groot and Williamson’s final overall time was 10 hours 08 minutes 03 seconds. Neethling and Stenerhag finished second in 10:10:09 with Anriette Schoeman (Africa Silks) and Yolandi du Toit (Garmin) claiming the final podium spot in 11:03:21. “It was good to race with Catherine. She is very experienced and we certainly seem to connect well on the bike and off it, which is important in mountain bike stage racing,” said De Groot. “I must thank TREK, my bike sponsor. I found a crack in my frame last week and they went out of their way to build up a brand new bike so that I had a racing machine for Wines2Whales. I flew to Cape Town without a bike, collected it two days before the race and it all ran smoothly,” smiled De Groot.

    “It’s great to finish off the year with a win. Without my sponsors, Biogen, Toyota and Cycle Lab, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue racing mountain bikes professionally as I have this year. I’ve learned so much; especially in the races I didn’t win and will take that experience into 2015 with new goals. But first a proper break!”

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  • Fully subscribed Fairview Attakwas offers limited charity entries

    Posted on November 5th, 2014 admin No comments
    Limited Charity

    Germany’s Karl Platt, four time winner of the ABSA Cape Epic, opts to push his bike up a loose climb as he leads the front group at the 2014 Fairview Attakwas Extreme Challenge. The 2015 event is full, but the organisers made 70 charity entries available on Wednesday 5 November. Photo credit: Zoon Cronje/Nikon/Xtremedia

    You don’t just enter and ride the Fairview Attakwas mountain bike race and zip home with another finisher’s medal. Such is the event’s prestige and difficulty that you have to specifically train for it, plan it into your life (it’s not close to any large cities), start at one point, ride your heart out for hours and hours to finish at a different point and then only do you get a finisher’s medal. And then can you make your way back home. Proudly.

    Sounds like a real challenge, right? Well it is. And that’s why the full name is the Fairview Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge. And that’s why the 2015 edition on 17 January sold out its capacity of 800 entries in record time. Again. And that’s why it’s worth setting your sights on one of the 70 charity entries that will be launched today (Wednesday 5 November 2014). Only riders registered on the waiting list will qualify for charity entry package access. To register, visit www.atta.co.za. Starting at Chandelier Game Lodge and finishing at Pine Creek Resort, both in the Oudtshoorn region of the Western Cape, the race is held over a distance of 121km with total vertical ascent of 2900 metres. Those numbers match any ABSA Cape Epic Queen Stage, but it’s the severity of the terrain and potentially extreme weather that make it an impressive feat to finish Fairview Attakwas within the 11-hour cut-off.

    Some years the sun is baking hot, delivering temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius; other years it’s cool and cloudy with the possibility of rain. One thing that’s virtually certain though is that there will be wind. And it’s usually a relentless wind that blows off the Indian Ocean and which is a headwind in the final quarter of the gruelling race… Then there’s the Attakwas. Essentially this is a 300-year-old pass over the Outeniqua Mountains that is steep with a loose surface that ranges from stony to rocky. Even the seasoned international professionals that take on the race each year lament the difficultly of finding any kind of pedalling rhythm through here. There’s good reason the word ‘Extreme’ is used in the event’s name.

    Since the Robinson Pass was completed in 1869 the Attakwas Kloof region was largely unused and is now a protected area that falls under Cape Nature, boasting flourishing indigenous vegetation including proteas, waboom, ericas and other fynbos. There are also imposing natural rock formations and old historical buildings and ruins, which lead to the Attakwas being declared a National Monument in 1995. The 70 charity entry packages coast R1400 each and comprise entry to the full race, a pre-race Klein Karoo International ostrich steak dinner with a bottle of Fairview wine and a 2014 event t-shirt. A portion of each charity entry fee will go to the Fairview Dryland Traverse Academy, which helps develop and support underprivileged local residents in both trail running and mountain biking.

    While the long-distance race is full, the 52km Spur Attakwas Mini, held on the same day, is still open for entries. It’s the ideal event for those wanting to tackle the main event in future, but aren’t quite ready for it, or those who enjoy mountain biking but not at the extreme end… With a total of 1100 metres of ascent, it’s no cruise either. To enter before the rider limit is reached, visit www.atta.co.za

    For more information on the Fairview Attakwas Extreme Challenge and the Spur Attakwas Mini, visit www.atta.co.za

     

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  • De Groot wraps up Gauteng series with clean sweep of wins

    Posted on November 4th, 2014 admin No comments
    Robyn de Groot

    Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota), completed a clean sweep by winning the final round of the Nissan Trailseeker Series at the weekend. Photo credit: Zoon Cronje/Nikon/Xtremedia

    South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota) wrapped up the 2014 Nissan Trailseeker mountain bike series with a fifth consecutive win in the five-event series in Irene at the weekend. The Johannesburg-based rider clocked a time of 02 hours 32 minutes 44 seconds for the 68km event, which took place in breezy, overcast conditions and took riders on a relatively flat route to the south east of Pretoria.

    For De Groot, it was the perfect way to end off the popular regional series in her home province. Over 200 women contested the marathon distance during the series, which is focused on hosting events in close proximity to the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The best four results in the series count towards the final overall rankings. With four wins already, De Groot didn’t even have to contest the final round, but she wasn’t going to miss out on the race. “This series is so popular and attracts not only a lot of new women to marathon racing, but also gets very good media coverage. I owed it to my sponsors to be here today. I’ve had an amazing year in mountain bike racing thanks to the support of companies like Biogen, Toyota and Cycle Lab, my primary sponsors,” said De Groot.

    “The organisers of this series, Advendurance, start the marathon women in our own group, which acknowledges the number of women now getting competitive in Gauteng marathons. I raced on my own for virtually the whole race today. The course wasn’t very hilly with lots of exposed sections of gravel road and jeep track. This ensured there were no bottlenecks, but also made it tough going on your own in the wind,” added De Groot. This the first year that De Groot has won the Nissan Trailseeker Series title which offers some consolation after having finished as runner-up in the 2014 MTN National Marathon Series, which she won in 2013.

    “This was my first year as a full-time mountain bike racer and I’ve had a very good year in terms of results. Winning the national marathon title for a second time and wearing the national champion’s jersey adds a bit of pressure in every marathon or stage race I contest. But I’m okay with that. I perform well under pressure,” smiled De Groot. The final race for De Groot in 2014 is the FNB Wines2Whales three-day stage race, which starts on Friday in Somerset West. De Groot will team up with Britain’s Catherine Williamson for the event, which requires riders to compete in two-up teams.

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  • Track champ signs with Bestmed-ASG

    Posted on October 31st, 2014 admin No comments
    Photo supplied by Full Stop Communications

    Multiple national track champion Ashleigh Parsons has signed with the Bestmed-ASG women’s professional cycling team for the 2015 season

    Three-time national track champion Ashleigh Parsons will join the Bestmed-ASG women’s professional cycling team for the 2015 season, the team management has announced.

    The 14-year-old Parsons, who is also the Western Cape road and time-trial champion in her age group, will sign on as a first-year U16 rider.

    Team manager Owen Botha said they were looking forward to bringing the talented youngster on board and grooming her for top-level competition.

    The Wellington-based sprinter first grabbed the pro outfit’s attention with a dominating performance at the national track championships in Durban at the end of April.

    There she won four gold medals and broke the South African record in the pursuit and time-trial events.

    “I realise that a team like Bestmed-ASG is always on the lookout to add new talent and I’m very proud to have this opportunity,” said Parsons.

    “I’m incredibly excited but nervous at the same time, as it’s my first pro team. It’s a dream come true.”

    She said she believed her track cycling experience would serve to strengthen her performance on the road.

    “It’s important for any young cyclist to ride on the track, as that is where the basic skills are learnt.”

    Parsons, who is currently in grade eight at Huguenot High School, said it was her ultimate ambition to become a full-time pro once she completed her schooling.

    “The sport is demanding and that would be the perfect reward for the hard work – to ride my bike as my job.”

    As part of the Bestmed-ASG set-up, she said she hoped to add the 2015 national road title in her age category to her existing accolades.

    “I think this is achievable with hard work.”

    Extra effort is something Parsons is not afraid of, as she juggles her daily schoolwork and training schedule.

    “It’s not always easy, but with discipline and a little push and shove from my family, I manage it.”

    With both her parents having been competitive cyclists, she said her involvement in the sport seemed somehow inevitable.

    “At the age of four I started riding short fun rides and, after falling in love with the sport, I entered my very first Eric van Enter interprovincial competition at age nine and have never looked back.”

    Her brother Alexander is a first-year junior provincial cyclist and her father is former junior Springbok rider Colin Parsons.

    “Racing from the age of seven, there were many things I missed out on as a youngster because I was in love with the sport,” said Colin, who counts racing for the national road team in Belgium, winning the SA madison champs alongside Robbie Dale and finishing fourth in the Argus among his many achievements.

    “I tell Ash and Alex to partake in other activities but they both enjoy the sport and show good dedication, so I support their choice of cycling all the way.”

    He said Ashleigh’s true commitment was demonstrated in Bloemfontein a few weeks ago when she was involved in a crash on day one of the interprovincial track champs.

    “She bounced back for the time trial the following day, only to be involved in another crash involving an unauthorised vehicle in the finish area.

    “After X-rays she was cleared to race the next day and went on to win the criterium. She shows great mental strength and determination which I believe will take her to great achievements.”

    For racing updates, follow @TeamBestmed_asg or find the team on Facebook.

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