The North-West Province’s premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour has taken a detour – into the bush. Organisers of the Bestmed Satellite Classic, which is presented by ASG, have added a mountain biking component to create a whole weekend of scintillating cycling on October 18 and 19. On the Saturday, the 80km and 106km road races roll out from the Route 66 Saloon along the Hartbeeshoek road, while the new 20km and 40km mountain bike events wrap up proceedings on the Sunday. Mountain bike route director Darren Herbst said he and his team were eagerly counting down the days to the inaugural off-road race, “We hope the first edition of the mountain bike challenge will be something really special. This area is truly a gem with so much potential and hidden treasures.”
He said organisers had been inundated with requests to stage a mountain bike event in the picturesque Hartbeespoort area, “The Satellite Classic has become such a feature on the road racing circuit that it was only natural to try to secure a mountain bike event over the same weekend.” Herbst said participants could choose between two manageable distances for the debut event, “We’ve tried to develop something less technical but that still ensures that cyclists get to experience the full beauty of this part of the country.” He said the shorter family ride featured a couple of climbs, totalling just over 300m of ascending, to ensure that riders still got a good workout, “The trail is perfect for those looking for something different and less technically demanding but you still need to have the legs to get up the hills.”
The longer route on the other hand would offer something for cyclists looking to stretch themselves, said Herbst, “The undulating hills and valleys will be a key part of the trail, and this will result in some challenging climbs and jaw-dropping descents.” Combining single, Jeep and forest track as well as cattle paths, the route would undoubtedly take participants on a journey of discovery, he said, “What makes it so incredible are the views. You will cross land that has been owned by the same family for generations, with wide open spaces and endless expanses of bushveld, inhabited only by game and dotted with the odd farmhouse.” Added to this, said Herbst, the organisers had secured the right to use the ADA Adventure Centre, which specialises in 4×4 adventures and corporate teambuilding, “Some fun single-track and even a pump track add some spice to the trail. Cycling in this area is an amazing experience and we look forward to a great day out.”
He said the start/finish venue at the Route 66 Saloon would give participants and their families a fitting taste of outback hospitality and entertainment, “Nino and his team have become known for offering a great ‘cowboy’ experience and will take you back in time to the days of barn dancing and cowboy-style chow.” Entries for the road race close at midnight on October 7, with mountain bike entries extended to October 12. Late entries will be accepted at registration but not on race day.