Before the downhill, Mamba Alley awaits

2014-08-19 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S mountain biking community waves winter goodbye and welcomes spring when Sappi presents the popular Scottburgh MTB race on Sunday, August 31.

Previously staged over the weekend of the winter solstice, the South Coast cycling spectacle now finds itself nestled into its new slot two months later.

Race organiser Flavio Scarpa believes it is the perfect way for cycling enthusiasts to get back outdoors.

“Not many people are fans of the early morning cold when they head off to a mountain bike race in winter so our new date is ideal for everyone to get back on their bikes and get riding again,” said Scarpa.

“We had to move the event due to Pietermaritzburg’s hosting of the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships in June. Both the Scottburgh Cycling Club and Cycling for Mobility have been working hard as we look to make this year’s race one to remember.”

With the South Coast journey taking riders through the local sugar cane plantations, CrocWorld and the exciting single track stretches through Sappi’s Cannonbrae plantations, the speed of the course is a notable feature of the event.

“We haven’t changed the route much over the years as we regularly receive positive feedback from the participants,” said Scarpa. “We have added a few new features this time around which we’re sure will make the ride enjoyable.”

Riders will go into a new section of single track as early as the two-kilometre mark and it will be interesting to see how this affects the pace of the race as riders look to get the holeshot into this stretch. “The last major climb also offers riders a new section of single track called Mamba Alley, for obvious reasons, before you exit onto the best finish of any MTB race — our famous downhill stretch that leads onto the last section of Farmer Glen’s Nedbank Sani2c track and finally pops you out onto the beach of Scottburgh Main Beach,” said Scarpa.

Scarpa believes the new additions to the event will be of great benefit to participants and add further to the popularity of the race.

“For the first time this year we’ll be offering participants the chance to bring their children along and leave them in the care of teachers from Umkomaas Pre-School at the Halfway Toyota Kids’ Zone,” he said.

“There will be hotspot prizes at the top of Sunrise Surprise courtesy of the Thule King and Queen of the Mountain competitions, which always add a little extra spice to the racing at the front of the field early on,” said Scarpa.

Entries for the 2014 Scottburgh MTB Race are open and can be submitted via www.roag.co.za for the 10 km fun ride, 28 km intermediate event as well as the 45 km classic.

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