Mountain biking has become so diverse. Some like to spend hours pedalling consistently along gravel roads and others like to condense their riding into bite-sized chunks of adrenaline-filled fun. There’s a big shift towards the latter and the first ever Funduro MTB Festival at Grootfontein MTB Park on Saturday 21 November 2020 is catering for anyone that’s Enduro-curious. Find out more about this unique event here.
By Sean Badenhorst
Grootfontein Bike Park in Pretoria is very new and the type of trails largely cater for the new generation of South African mountain biker, the fun-seeker. The Funduro MTB Festival is a combination of competition and learning and I’m very pleased to be involved as one of the four coaches on the day.
Also joining me as coaches are Chris ‘Peaches’ Pearton, Sean Lawrence and Louise Kotze. Our role is to spend time in the morning of the 21st with groups of keen entrants showing them how to ride each line as smoothly as possible.
On the lines are combinations of loose, flat corners, rollers, small jumps, mild rock gardens, berms, dropdowns and one gap-jump. The more risky obstacles are optional and there’s a line to bypass them for those who lack the confidence to tackle them.
Our job as coaches is to instil knowledge on how to tackle each obstacle and build confidence so that come race time, later in the day, each rider will be equipped to attack his/her race run without fear.
Later in the day the competitive Enduro event will commence with one run down each of the four designated Enduro lines to count towards the overall times.
What bike do you need?
Any mountain bike will do. The terrain is relatively tame and I have ridden all the lines on an aluminium hardtail without any scary moments. Just be sure your bike is clean; the drivetrain is clean and lubed and that your gears and brakes are working well. You will be doing four short time trials – any bike drama will spoil your time and you fun. Ensure your tyres are in good condition and the sealant is topped up.
What gear do you need?
The usual riding gear is fine, obviously including a helmet that fits you properly. If you want to add some knee pads and elbow pads, then go ahead. Based on my experience, I don’t think elbow pads are essential, but knee pads are. The goal is to push your limits a bit over a shortish, twisty, relatively gently sloping descent. I have done the lines with both flat pedals and cleats. I prefer cleats as I’m more accustomed to those. Go with what you’re used to. You don’t want to try anything new on the day.
What else do you need?
Each run is around 1.2-1.5km down the slope followed by a slow pedal back up to the top. It’s likely to be very hot, so bring plenty of liquid. You can either carry it with you or leave it at the top (at your own risk). Maybe bring some energy bars or snacks to keep your sugar levels up. You don’t want to lose concentration.
What is the age limit?
Almost anyone can enter. Here are the prizegiving categories to give you a guide: General Categories for male and female: Under-11, Under-16, Under-21, Under-30, Under-40 and Over 40.
What level of rider should enter?
The event caters for intermediate and experienced mountain bikers. This is not an event for newcomers to mountain biking. If you are new to mountain biking, rather spend time building fitness and improving basic skills before entering an Enduro event. The objective is to give mountain bikers a taste of what it’s like to participate in an Enduro, a discipline that rewards bike control and route judgement in short bursts.
There are still some spots open. So get your entry in asap. To enter or for more information, click here