The buzz ahead of the 2014 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships continues to build in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital as course designer Nick Floros and his team make the final tweaks to the widely anticipated route for the global showcase. Floros and his team are hard at work as they look to wrap things up ahead of the SA MTB Marathon Championships on 8 June, which will serve as an ideal dry run on the world championship course.
“We’ve been working on the course over the past couple of weeks as we look to get things into shape ahead of SA Champs. We are trying our hardest to ensure the full World Champs course is what will be used at SA Champs,” explained Floros. “This has been one of the toughest courses I’ve had to put together because it goes through so many different properties however it really will be a fantastic course with such great diversity, features and views!” he added. Starting and finishing at Cascades MTB Park, the course is split into two sections. A 74km first loop and a 21km second loop. The global spectacle’s men’s race will see participants tackle both loops while the women’s title will be decided over the first 74km only.
“This is a World Championship course, so the standard of the course is obviously at this sort of technical level,” said Floros. “The 95km route includes 3300m of climbing in total and the nature of the climbing, being short and sharp, tends to eat into your legs. Those who aren’t right on top of their game may be okay in the first loop but they’ll really struggle in the 21km loop!” he warned. The first sector of the 74km loop is a 7km stretch through Cascades’ forests and will see riders tackle some forest track, a couple of short stretches of single track and one or two sharp climbs before they head up to feed/tech zone one. The second feed/tech zone is inside Mount Verde before a descent that should entertain the riders a bit. After the third feed/tech zone, riders head towards Hilton College where the Hilton College Nature Reserve trails offer some typical South African game trail riding.
Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve represents yet another standout feature of the course with spectacular views and a potentially race-defining climb on the cards. “The views from Mount Verde of the city of Pietermaritzburg, Albert Falls Dam and the Greytown/New Hanover area are incredible!” The UCI MTB Marathon World Championships takes place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on 29 June 2014.