The mountain bike weekend adventure was a raging success and has automatically assumed its slot as a permanent fixture on the annual Swellendam events calendar.
100 mountain bikers descended on Swellendam to set off on Saturday morning amidst an atmosphere of fun and adventure. The weather was perfect as riders left from the fantastic start/finish venue at the Whipping Post – just behind the Field and Fork to embark on the 49km ride which included 700m of ascent. The route traversed privately owned farmlands specifically opened by the generous Swellendam farmers for riders to use exclusively during the event. Even the few local participants were overwhelmed that they got to enjoy trails not previously experienced! There were pine plantations, forested valleys and open mountain plains making it a truly varied experience as riders had to tackle sandy sections, mud and a few river crossings! Rolandale Farmstall played host to the awesomely stocked Swellendam Checkers water point which offered riders well-deserved, delicious nutrition at the halfway mark.
Sunday 8th – day 2 – and what a beautiful day to experience Bontebok National Park. 23 degrees and a whole bunch of smiling participants. After the neutral zone, down Swellengrebel St and 15km amidst the wonder and beauty of Bontebok National Park, riders experienced the happy suburb of Railton where they were cheered on by the raucous, but welcoming residents. From there it was off to the second Checkers water point located at The Berry Farm surrounded by the magnificence of Hermitage. After that, riders found it hard to resist the temptation of a quick dip in the municipal dams and it was off to the finish. Overall winning time was 1 hour 37 minutes while the back markers came in over 4 ½ hours! The final prize giving ceremony saw over R 30 000 worth of prizes and lucky draws – courtesy of Wildekrans Wine Estate, Oakley Sunglasses and Garden Route Events.
“One of the main highlights of this event for me,” said race director Pax Mosterd, “is the high percentage of female participants. Mountain bike events usually have around 10-15% female riders, but 40% of this field were women. This really is a family adventure and children over 15 years may participate.”
What a ride.
Congratulations to Pieter Gildenhuys, Daniel Behm and Des Doman on winning the men’s category, and in the female race to Juanita Kruger, Michelle Doman and Dominique Provoyeur for your outstanding performances. Same time, same place next year.
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