Durban – An about turn could signal an early Christmas present for mountain bikers as the organisers of the STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure on Sunday 3 December at Summerveld Estate confirm that the popular 40km and 20km MTB routes will be run in the reverse direction, easing the climbing and creating some exciting descents on both routes.
“In last year’s heat it was clear that the steep climb in to the finish at Summerveld estate was taxing on the riders, so we have decided to reverse the courses for the first time in five years,” said Andrew van Rensberg, the race’s route director.
“The route ensured that we eliminated a major road crossing which was essential from a safety and a logistics point of view, and we are determined to preserve that.
“We will be sending the 40km riders out on the route they came back on in previous years, intending to spread them out before they get into the single track that run behind the Summerveld stables. The middle section will have some really fun big descents.
“The climb up to the finish at the race village will now be a far gentler, more gradual climb. Overall the reversed route offers more gradual climbing and some fun descending, which I honestly feel will be more rider friendly,” he said.
Van Rensberg confirmed that the 20km route would also be reversed, sharing the outgoing and incoming legs of the 40km race, but added that both sections had some interesting technical sections in between the jeep track and district roads through the cane fields.
“The 20km route has some great new sections using horse trails that come down one of the valleys.
“There are lots of exciting sections of single track, some of which use paths used by off-road bikers on the weekends, which makes it rutted in places. We are working on clearing new sections that will take some of those dug-out and rutted tracks out of the race routes.
“We always advise people keen on doing the 20km race that they need to be proficient enough on technical trail.
He said that the 10km ride was heavily slanted towards easier family riding, with a water table at halfway before the gradual climb up to the race track and the race village.
The 2017 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summerveld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday 3 December.