Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge

ladismith-seweweekspoortThe people from Ladismith, a small town in the Little Karoo, will agree that mountain biking can make a difference to the lives of ordinary people. One weekend every year their town is invaded by mountain bikers who come to race in the Ladismith Cheese Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge. This year the event will take place on 15 October.

It is the brainchild of two doctors Pieter Blignaut and Jaco Denkema. This year Dryland Events also got involved. More than 1000 mountain bikers are expected to participate over the various race distances, namely 25km, 40km and 80km. This event creates a boom in the town’s economy because the riders and their supporters need to eat, sleep and enjoy themselves.

A conservative estimate will be to assume that each rider will spend approximately R1000 on meals, petrol and accommodation over the weekend. This means that the race could bring in about R1.5 million to boost the town’s economy. This is not taking into account the family members of the riders who will accompany them.

According to Fanus Walters, principal of the Hoërskool Ladismith, the Seweweekspoort Challenge has developed from merely a small race into one of the main social events on the town’s social calendar. “People realize the importance of such a race, especially because many small towns are currently involved in a battle for economic survival. Ladismith is no exception. “One of the main problems in most small towns is the over-population that puts huge demands on the economies of the towns.
“Ladismith’s economy is sustained by two cheese factories, a distillery, a dried fruit company, as well as ostrich and dairy farms. This is more than what many other towns can boast of, but it is still not enough to sustain the ever increasing population.

“The people who live at the Zoar/Amalienstein Missionaries and in Vanwyksdorp also rely on Ladismith for their survival. Therefore, any extra income that can be generated brings welcome relief too many people.”

Walter reckons that the big spin-off of the race is that it makes people aware of the fact that Ladismith actually has much to offer from a tourism perspective.

“The main tourist attraction of our town is the Swartberg that surrounds it. This mountain range has been the inspiration for a number of authors who used it as a background for their stories. In this regard Jan van Tonder and Abraham de Vries can be mentioned and even David Kramer refers to the Swartberg in some of his songs.

“A considerable portion of the race goes through parts of the beautiful and unspoilt Seweweekspoort. Riders will also get the opportunity to ride through some of the most beautiful farms in the Hoeko Valley. For those who may not know, this is where the most famous author in Afrikaans, CJ Langenhoven, was born.

“I will admit that most people’s first impression of Ladismith may not be favourable, but first impressions can often be misleading. There are some really beautiful old buildings in the town that date back to the boom period of the ostrich feathers industry in the previous century. The architecture of some of these houses is unique to this part of the country.

“In short, Ladismith is the uncrowned jewel of the Little Karoo.”

Nando’s Magalies Adventure

Next weekend is the 3 day, multistage mountain biking race known as the Nando’s Magalies Adventure. Starting on the 14th and running until the 16th August, this event will prove to be a fun event for nature fundis and MTB fanatics alike.

The event will kick off on Friday night with a night stage of 25km, followed by a second stage of 75km on Saturday, and a shorter 45km on Sunday.

Magaliesburg is a beautiful, conservation area and I’m sure that you’ll have many mental Kodak moments after this event.

Click here to enter (entries are open until 300 teams are finalised)

On the plus side, if the race sucks, at least you can grab a mild Nando’s chicken on the way home. Which reminds me, what the hell am I making for supper tonight?!

FURTHER INFO:

www.magaliesadventure.co.za

Marky Mark

Akkedis Soutpansberg Mountain Bike Challenge

On the 1st August 2009 (and for the 5th year running), the Akkedis Soutpansberg Mountain Bike Challenge takes place on the western side of the Soutpansberg Mountains in the Limpopo province.

The Soutspansberg Mountains has a fascinating history in South Africa, due to archaeological interest and pioneering. Its unique local micro-climate is also extraordinary. Warm, moist winds from the Mozambique Channel ascend up the sharp, southerly slopes and with the ensuing cooling, condense and form a mist which often turns to rain, which has resulted in the Soutpansberg’s prosperous and diverse vegetation.

Venue:
The venue where the race will take place is the Schoemansdal Environmental Education Centre. Registration for the event will happen there on Friday 31st July, from 12h00 to 19h00, and on Saturday 1st August, from 06h00 to 07h45. There are three race packages available – a 70km marathon (starting at 08h00), a 35km half-marathon (starting at 08h30) and a 10km fun ride (starting at 08h40).

Entry fees:
70km event = R120
35km event = R75
10km event = R30

Pre-entries close on 28 July 2009. Click here to enter.

Accommodation will also be available. For further info, please visit www.akkedismountainbike.co.za.

I hope to see you there!

Bandaged Jack

African Continental Champs

The African Continental Champs will be happening at Mankele, Mpumalanga – just 30km from Nelspruit and pretty near to the Sudwala Caves. The 11th of July will be dedicated to the cross-country event and the 12th will be the downhill competition.

Every junior rider, U23 and Elite will have to purchase a SA kit – otherwise they won’t be allowed to compete. So if you don’t have a kit yet, go out and buy it!

Guys and girls, the African Continental Champs is going to be an exceptional ride, where you’ll cross bridges, rivers, bush tunnels and monstrous climbs over 7.4km. It really is a fantastic way to get in touch with the beauty of the country and give yourself a sensational workout.

Diarise 11-12 July, because over that weekend, Mpumalanga is going to be dancing to the beat of MTB!

Online entry and further information available at www.entrytime.com

Ricky in Spandex

Walkerville MTB Challenge 2009

What are you doing on Sunday, 12th July 2009? Before you have a chance to make up some lame excuse, I’ll tell you what you’ll be doing – you will be participating at the Walkerville MTB Challenge 2009 at the Lapeng Hotel and Conference Centre.

I promise it will be fun and also affordable. For the 60km race, it will cost you R120; and for the 35km event, it will cost you R80. I’m sure that’s decent price for everyone, right?

You can collect your racing number at Cycle Lab Nichol Grove, Design Quarter Shopping Centre (corner William Nicol Drive & Leslie Road East), Fourways on Friday, 10th July from 09h00 – 17h00. Alternatively, you can just go to the venue, the Lapeng Hotel and Conference Centre, Randvaal Road, Walkerville on Saturday 11th July 2009, from 09h00 – 16h00, or Sunday 12th July 2009, from 07h00 – 08h45.

The event will start at 09h00 on Sunday 12th July.

For further info, contact Cycle Events at 011 707 2700.

Will you be attending the event? Want to let everyone know what your number is? Tell us.

Ricky in Spandex

Toyota MTN Bike Park Event

On Sunday 28 June, the posh suburb of Bryanston is going to get dirty with a full day of non-stop mountain bike racing at the Toyota MTN Bike Park.

This cross-country event will be open to all ages and will take competitors around the best-manicured single-track trails in the country. With every lap being 5.87km, expect to shed those unwanted kilos which we’ve all undoubtedly put on during this cold weather spell *Brrrrrrrrr*

The men’s Elite and Under-23 categories will do 8 laps, which should take approximately two hours to complete, while the women’s Elite and Under-23 categories will do 6 laps.

On racing day, the Toyota MTN Bike Park will be closed to other riders until the end of racing at approximately 15h30 – so you better make sure you enter the race if you want to ride.

Oh yeah and before I forget, Supercycling TV will be broadcasting highlights of the event, so put on your best smile and wave if they catch you on camera *Hi mom*

Further information can be found at www.cyclelab.com

Are you going to enter? Let us know and maybe we’ll do a cover feature on you…

Marky Mark

Nissan UCI MTB World Cup Round 4

The fourth round of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, happened this past Sunday in Madrid, Spain. Habla español? Si?

In the men’s section, World Cup leader Orbea’s Julien Absalon increased his lead at the top with a dominant win, but the real exciting part of the race was the fantastic four-way sprint for third place, which was won by Multivan Merida’s Moritz Milatz.

In the women’s event, Massi’s Marga Fullana also increased her lead in the overall standings with a win. However it was only four seconds ahead of 2008 World Champion, Maxxis-Rocky Mountain’s Marie-Helene Premont – talk about close, but no cigar!

The MTB races were happening thick and fast this weekend! I’m even struggling to type so fast – ouch! Frost bite! Damn you, winter!

The next round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for the cross-country riders takes place in two months in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada.

For full results of the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, please visit www.uci.ch

Ricky in Spandex

Amarider 100 Miler

The Western Cape is getting another first in MTB this weekend, because the inaugural Amarider 100 Miler is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 16th May.

This endurance event, which takes place over 160 km, will begin in Durbanville and end in Paarl. The Amarider 100 Miler will prove to be incredibly gruelling even for the most seasoned of cyclists. But hey, look at the bright side – you’ll go on a lovely tour of the Swartland and Cape Winelands while you sweat.

Riders will also have the opportunity of competing either as individuals (Solo) or as relay teams of 3 (Relay).

The organisation arranging this event is AMA Rider (The African Mountain Bike Association). They are a mountain bike advocacy organisation aimed at improving mountain bike opportunities on the African continent (Two thumbs up! Ricky loves you).

Entries for the event have already closed, but MTB Shorts thinks you should still head out and support this wonderful initiative.

For further information, please go to www.amarider.co.za.

Ricky in Spandex

Dirtopia

I’m so confused to what day it is. These public holidays are unrelenting – not that I’m complaining, I just wish I knew if it was Monday or Tuesday or Friday. Regardless, I’m excited to hear that there will be some MTB action available on the 1st May.

If you’re in the Western Cape – or more precisely the Overberg area, near Greyton – why not head down to the Dirtopia Mountain Bike Festival, which is being held from 1-3 May.  Whether you’re a leisure cyclist or full-blown MTB junkie, it’s going to be a fun, fun weekend.

I wish I could go…

Unfortunately. I’ll be stuck with the traditional Workers Day braai at my place. I really have no desire to hear Michelle talk about her latest boob lift or Crystal blab about her R500 haircut. Those woman make me want to attack them with braai tongs and set their boobs on fire. Grrrrrrr.

Nonetheless, please go out to Dirtopia and enjoy the weekend. Have a moment of silence for poor old Wendy and bring back some sand to Joburg as a souvenir.

For more info, go to www.dirtopia.co.za   

Wendy The Mom

Making History

So the ABSA Cape Epic is underway and it’s going to be fast and frantic in the next couple of days as the competitors attempt to write their names into the history books.

Locally, the South African team of Kevin Evans and David George, as well as the team of Brandon Stewart and Max Knox, will attempt to become the first ever South African team to win the ABSA Cape Epic.

Realistically, these local competitors have what it takes to get into the history books and make a name for themselves, because they certainly aren’t lacking talent or determination. I’m sure the bling and strippers will soon follow hehehehe

I’m sure they’ll be burning up Table Mountain as they come around. Oops, shouldn’t have said the word ‘burn’, since some pyromaniac idiot decided that Cape Town needed less beauty and set it alight.

Regardless, let’s get behind our local teams and hope they bring us all success!

Ricky in Spandex