The final round of the inaugural Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Mountain Bike Series takes place at Meerendal on Saturday and riders are in for a treat. In addition to tackling some of the Durbanville region’s iconic trails, there’s a new switchback climb called Signal Gun that will be ridden for the first time on Saturday.
The event offers four distances with the 68km marathon and the 36km half marathon including some challenging climbs and rewarding descents. The terrain is still fairly firm following a wet winter, offering good traction through most corners while the stunning views from the high points will go some way to rewarding the effort required on the ascents.
More than 1000 entrants are expected to tackle the event, many of those eager to complete a full set of medals for the prestigious series, which doubles as the Western Cape provincial marathon series championship.
After two rounds, Adriaan Louw (Contego Swift) and Carmen Buchacher are the current men and women’s marathon series leaders, but they’ll have to be at their best on Saturday if they are to retain their lead as a strong field is expected, including some gifted climbers.
The USN Purefit pair of Waylon Woolcock and Darren Lill are both strong climbers and will be seeking a good result after a mechanical incident kept them out of the podium mix at last week’s FNB Wines2Whales stage race. Add the likes of Swiss ace, Konny Looser (IXS Wheeler) and Nicol Carstens and Charl-Pierre Esterhuyse – second and third respectively in the series – to the mix and you have a hotly contested men’s marathon.
Buchacher’s series lead comes from her consistency, with two second-place finishes in the previous two events. But both women that won those events, Candice Neethling (Freewheel Cycology/Pam Golding) and Swedish national champion, Jennie Stenerhag (Ascendis Health), will be in the hunt for a second victory, as will the likes of Leorine de Wet and Ila Stow, currently second and third respectively in the series. Add international XCO racer, Mariske Strauss (OMX Pro) to the mix as she makes a comeback from injury and there’s women’s marathon depth greater than the previous rounds.
The Nissan TrailSeeker events have built a reputation as an introduction to mountain biking through carefully crafted routes that cater for novices and seasoned riders alike. The routes are designed to include enough technically challenging bits balanced with easier sections in between to offer riders some recovery time. Families are catered for with a fun race and a fun ride included in the programme, as well as a comfortable environment for non-riding supporters.
Online entries have closed but late entries will be accepted at the registration venue on Friday and Saturday.