Registration has opened for South African mountain biking’s new weight division, the TREAD Buffalo Category. Mountain bikers that weigh 90kg or more can register to be a member of the TREAD Buffalo Herd, where they will be rewarded for their achievements at most of South Africa’s most popular mountain bike stage races.
Set to launch officially at the 2014 joBerg2c stage race on 24 April, the TREAD Buffalo Category will add new depth to the popular sport, which, by its nature, favours smaller, lighter riders.
“Cycling performance is largely determined by a rider’s power-to-weight ratio. Generally, the lighter the rider, the faster he or she will complete a race. But with so many people of all shapes and sizes being drawn to mountain biking, the majority of the riders in each race are simply just making up the numbers, their competitive side being subdued by traditional race structures,” said Sean Badenhorst, founder of the TREAD – Mountain Biking With Soul brand, which has created the new weight category.
“Some people are just born big and strong. They have a lot of fun in mountain bike races, but are never rewarded for their efforts, despite training just as hard and racing with as much heart as the top 20 finishers. By adding a TREAD Buffalo Category, events are adding a much-missed competitive element to those mountain bikers that will never be able to challenge for an overall race podium.”
A total of 16 South African stage races have already aligned themselves with the TREAD Buffalo initiative with more expected to join the associated events list throughout the year. Among the events on the initial list is the Nedbank Sani2c, with over 4000 participants, the world’s largest mountain bike stage race. The race is sub-divided into three separate events all three of which will enjoy their own TREAD Buffalo Category contest.
Where events have a Solo and the traditional two-rider Team divisions, both divisions will be given TREAD Buffalo status. In the Team division, the combined weight of both riders must be at least 180kg with at least one of the team members required to be a registered TREAD Buffalo.
Riders that weigh 90kg or more can become a TREAD Buffalo simply by registering on the website: Enter now!
At any associated race, they will confirm their participation at the event via a weigh-in on the scales at race registration. Riders may also sign up as TREAD Buffaloes at the associated race registrations. The top three finishers on each stage will be given the same podium recognition at prize giving as any other traditional categories, with the overall leaders earning the right to wear the TREAD Buffalo Category leaders jersey.
“We’re not giving any prize money out for the TREAD Buffalo Category top achievers, but will give out certificates and cool product prizes to overall race winners. The prizes will all be useful and mountain biking-specific in order to add real value to the winners,” explained Badenhorst.
“And just so that it’s not only the top performing big guys that benefit, we’ll be doing a monthly lucky draw from the TREAD Buffalo Herd database and sending prizes via courier to the lucky recipients. There will also be a monthly TREAD Buffalo email newsletter with useful advice and tips relating to mountain bike racing, training, gear, nutrition, upcoming events and travel. So just being registered as a TREAD Buffalo will have its benefits,” added Badenhorst.