MTB race to draw some top cyclists

IT is almost time to get those bikes racked up as the start of The Herald Continental Cycle Tour MTB race is nearly upon us. Riders can look forward to some superb mountain biking routes in Addo on Sunday, including some top single track at Hayterdale Trails.

The routes will remain mostly the same as last year, with a few minor tweaks to keep things interesting.

Each distance has been designed to cater for varying levels of skill and fitness, from relatively easy family rides up to the 80km Extreme, which will test even the most seasoned mountain biker.

All races include a unique loop through the Sundays River Citrus Co-op packing shed about 3km before the finish.

For the little ones, there is the 5km Kiddies Challenge and the 500mToddlers Dash.

Riders to look out for include pros Marco Joubert, Andrew Hill and road race veteran Anriette Schoeman, who will be testing her skills in the mountains before she lines up at Pollok Beach next week.

Young Port Elizabeth rider Joubert, 19, said he was raring to get on the bike for the Eastern Cape’s biggest cycling event.

He has taken part in The Herald Continental Cycle Tour for the past several years and enjoys competing against the best in the country.

“I also like pushing my body to the limit and pushing through the pain.

“It might sound weird, but I like suffering,” Joubert laughing.

For Hill, one of the country’s top mountain bikers, it will be his first time at the event.

“I don’t know the route, but I’ve ridden around Addo and up and down the Zuurberg said, Pass, so I have an idea of the type of riding we can expect,” the KwaZulu-Natal resident said.

“I’ve had some really great races in the Eastern Cape over the last couple of years.

“I’m hoping to carry on the trend this weekend.” Because of the rainy forecast for the weekend, Hill said it would be a different type of race on the trails, which could make things interesting upfront.

If you are not racing, there is still something for you at the Addo Polo Club race village.

There are some great additions, including a farmers’ market selling fresh produce, and helicopter flips for spectators to get a bird’s-eye view of the route.

There will be an aftercare facility and a play area for children, which includes a jumping castle.

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