Town will host bike event

2016-03-30 06:00
GAWIE COMBRINCK on his way to winning the 2015 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships held at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, Magaliesberg, South Africa. Photo: Supplied

GAWIE COMBRINCK on his way to winning the 2015 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships held at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, Magaliesberg, South Africa. Photo: Supplied

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CLARENS. – The picturesque Free State countryside village of Clarens is set to welcome the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, which plays host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships, on 16 and 17 April.

The endurance competition is targeted at the elite men (ultra marathon) elite women (marathon) and junior, youth men and women categories (half-marathon).

The exquisite Maluti and Rooiberg Mountains, which form part of the Drakensberg mountain range along the South African and Lesotho border, boast some of the most naturally unique rock formations and outcrops that have been weathered away over centuries in the unspoilt terrain.

Littered with river crossings, rock pools and trails that are seemingly etched out of the rock, the trails meander through grasslands and “give the participants the feeling that they are riding in the shadow of these majestic giants”.

“Lots of fauna and flora can be seen and it’s great to experience some of the places in our country where the beauty of nature remains untouched,” says Advendurance event organiser, Wessel van der Walt.

The term “slick rock” is well known amongst purist mountain bikers and refers to sandstone, mudstone, basalt and volcanic stone rock formations.

Ancient desert dunes have hardened over hundreds of years to form the sandstone.

“This rock has a very smooth appearance and is quite curvy in its shape.

“Massive hills and outcrops have these smooth large rock plates. This is very similar to rock formations in the Utah desert where the term “slick rock” was derived from,” said Van der Walt.

He went on to explain the beauty of this rock:

“Although called slick rock, it doesn’t mean the actual rock is slick. On the contrary, the texture is very grippy, which is why mountain bikers love it.

“You’ll be amazed at the steep inclines you’re able to ride.

“The slickness is actually the smoothness and flowing lines are created along the seemingly unending rock plates.

“It’s really special to be able to ride on this type of surface, or even race on it, as most of it is found on private land and in nature reserves.”

Entries for the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, which plays host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships, are now open.

Entries can be done online at https://www.saseeding.org/Participants/Entry?event_id=a4bef1cd-b19f-11e5-907e-08002773d9e3.

For more information, visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-marathon-champs/
– Cycling South Africa

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