Gauteng mountain bikers will have a chance to stretch their legs and shake off the winter cobwebs with the first of the spring races near Krugersdorp on September 6. The Pennypinchers Silverstar Mountain Bike Challenge offers true mountain biking in the heart of suburbia with spectacular views of the City of Gold. Race organiser Wynand de Villiers believes it is this scenic contrast that makes it one of the most picturesque routes anywhere in South Africa.
“Although you’re very close to the city, you can truly feel part of nature and be spoiled with unsurpassed views and great riding terrain.”The out-and-back route takes riders from the casino through a series of neighbouring farms that include the well-known Laurentia Flower Farm and onto King’s Kloof Trails.With the Hero Adventure team having taken over King’s Kloof, the 7th edition of the West Rand race will be the first opportunity for riders to enjoy the trail upgrades that have been under wraps until now.
According to route director Darren Herbst, the existing trails have been remoulded and a couple of new additions inserted.“The route hasn’t changed much for a number of years and I think that’s what makes this event so special,” said Herbst. “It’s all about experiencing awesome routes with memorable features, a great atmosphere and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish. People come and ride the event to relive that experience year after year.”
With the advent of Hero Adventure Park King’s Kloof, he said the trails were sure to be of an even better quality than in previous years.“Hero and ASG have a close relationship and together we are working hard to ensure that the 2014 edition will be more enjoyable than ever.”He said his team were expecting more than 1 500 riders to turn out for the event, which would once again comprise the 40km feature race and 20km short-course options.
“There’s a definite demand for fun, family-oriented races. Events are about escaping from everyday pressures and I think we all want to take part in races that make us forget about the work week and stress.”As route director, Herbst said his personal objective was to offer something for everyone. “There are most definitely cyclists who look for certain types of distances and difficulty, and we try to cater for that.
“Then there are those who want a good challenge to make their training worthwhile, and then there are the average Joes who are just out there for a great day.” Although no marathon distance is currently on offer, he advised riders not to underestimate the challenge of the shorter courses.“The distances might not be that long but they are by no means easy, especially the 40km. We have attracted a number of pros in the past and I don’t think that will change.”
Catering for the more seasoned cyclist, the 40km features a monster climb, long, hairy descents on old ox wagon trails and rocky single-track sections. “It’s something truly special. It has some serious climbs and technical sections that can only put a smile on your face. “The descents are fast and winding, so you need to keep your wits about you. Look forward to giving your legs a good workout, but it’s all worth it.” The 20km route, on the other hand, would suit every type of rider, said Herbst. “There are no seriously technical sections but there is more than enough single-track and features along the way to ensure a great day out.”
Incorporating single and jeep track, forest trails and a couple of small hills to keep the juices flowing, he said there promised to be something for everyone. Registration takes place from 10am to 4pm on the Thursday before the race at Cycle Lab Fourways and between 10am and 4pm the following day at Leewee’s Cycles at Featherbrooke Village Shopping Centre.