If you were the organizer of the MTN series, you would simply show them a ‘Meals on wheels menu’ without allowing them to place any orders.
That is what happened this past weekend (28 August), during the MTN marathon event that took place in and around Cullinan.
One of the definite highlights for the riders, who participated in the 78km marathon, was to ride past a lion enclosure in one of the game reserves. It is not certain who did most of the watching, the lions or the riders.
The lions must have wondered what sort of animal this was that had the cheek to stand three meters away from them, casually drinking their cold drinks, while the riders were very grateful that there was a fence between themselves and the ‘Kings of the Beasts’.
But it was not the lions who gave Pretoria’s Stephan Grobler his biggest fright. He tells the story of how he was cycling merrily along, minding his own business.
The next moment he realized that there was a snake on the single track right in front of him.
“Don’t ask me what sort of snake it was. It did not matter. All that mattered to me was to make sure that I got out of the snake’s way in double quick time. Luckily the snake had the same idea.”
But back to the race. The overwhelming majority of the nearly 1 500 riders who competed, lacked the correct positive adjectives to describe their racing experience. They are in total agreement that the organization of the race was almost faultless and they were equally full of praise for the way in which the respective race routes had been marked.
There was general consensus among the riders that seemed to say: “Well done MTN! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”
Reinholdt de Villiers from Pretoria was ecstatic about the scenic beauty of the 78km marathon route.
“I enjoyed myself very much while I was riding through the rock formations and the river sections.”
According to Samantha Sanders from Nelspruit the parts of the route that she enjoyed most were the single track sections. She also enjoyed the camaraderie among the riders.
Charl Johnson said he enjoyed the single-track sections of the 48km race.
“It was challenging but still doable. My main frustration was that I ran out of energy towards the end of the race. Because of that the last few kilometers were tough, but I cannot blame the organizers for that.”
Riëtte de Villiers was all smiles when she crossed the finishing line, in spite of the fact that she went down hard on her head.
“I made a stupid mistake in one of the technical sections and paid the price. When I got back on my bike, I was totally disorientated. At first I had no clue where I was and what I was doing there. My next big challenge was to try and work out where exactly I was and in what I was competing. When I finally realized that it was the Cullinan race, I enjoyed every moment of it.”