The healthy South African mountain bike racing calendar has been given a further boost with the confirmation that the 36ONE MTB Challenge has been moved to earlier in the year for 2013.
Entries have opened for the unique endurance test, which requires mountain bikers to complete a 361km loop within a time limit of 36.1 hours. The new date – 19-21 April, ensures that the event is well placed as a preparation race for other major events in April, May and June.
“Besides being a unique test of endurance in itself, the 36ONE MTB Challenge is an ideal preparation event for other upcoming big endurance challenges like the joBerg2c, Nedbank Sani2c and The Freedom Challenge,” said Carel Herholdt of Dryland Events, the race organisers.
“It’s an event that challenges in so many ways because it’s non-stop, which tests both endurance and pacing judgment and both day-time and night-time riding. It incorporates certain elements of stage racing, marathon racing and 24-hour racing.”
“I don’t know of any other race like it. For starters, you do the first nine hours through the night which is something few will have experienced,” said Tim James, two-time Freedom Challenge winner, who competed in the 2012 edition of the 36ONE MTB Challenge. “It’s not a technical route, mostly on gravel roads, which will be attractive for many endurance riding fans, but there are some very scenic sections and great feed stations,” added James.
“After having watched the race this year, I’ve decided I can’t be a spectator at such a unique event next year, so have entered a relay team. The 36O MTB Challenge brings quite a unique format to the mountain bike racing calendar and we’re looking forward to a big growth in entries in 2013,” said Steven Liptz co-founder of 36ONE Asset Management, a Johannesburg based boutique asset management firm.
There are various categories in which riders can enter: The extreme set can tackle the event solo, while teams of two, three or four can also enter for the full distance, which has a total vertical ascent of more than 4 000 metres.
Because the full distance is too far for most, there’s also a relay option, which breaks the 361km into four legs. Teams of two or four may enter the relay, which requires that riders must complete legs 1 and 3 or legs 2 and 4. Relay team riders may not ride two legs consecutively. There’s also provision for a tandem and a singlespeed category in the relay section.