(Thursday, 1 March 2018) In keeping with tradition, the Cape Town Cycle Tour’s Lifecycle Week kicks off with the Mountain Bike (MTB) Challenge. The 2018 instalment takes place this coming Saturday, 3 March and once again offers trails for all MTB skill and fitness levels, designed by legendary Stellenbosch course designer, Meurant Botha.
Meurant says riders can expect dusty trails in very good condition this weekend: “In fact they are in the best state they’ve been for a long time, all things considered.”
In terms of the routes, he says this year has seen about 5km added. “Last year’s long route worked very well, so we simply added to it,” he says, explaining that most of the changes are in the Delheim, Murati and Uitkyk area. “This is where most of our day-to-day trails are situated and by adding a few new connections, we now have about 27 sections of single-track on the 60km route.”
Meurant believes the racing will be fast upfront with positioning into the single-track sections being key. “The route is wide open initially, so there is time to secure a good position coming into the trails. Howard Grotts’s winning time last year was super-fast – we’re expecting around 2:25 from the 60km winner this year.”
“We have enough trail to split the 40km and 60km participants apart, with the 60km guys coming in first with a clear run to the finish,” predicts Meurant.
Meurant provides a last piece of advice: Riders should be aware that the drought has seen a massive bloom in thorn plants this summer. “Top up the slime in your tubeless tyres to prevent punctures where possible.”