Pietermaritzburg –The organisers of the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge have decided to mix things up and make some substantial changes to the route of one of the country’s most popular one-day classics that gets underway at the Eston Club on 3 August.
The challenge of remaining contemporary is something that Illovo Eston MTB Challenge chairman Ant Foster and the rest of the course designers believes has led to the changes that have been made and following years of successful trails he believes that the new route will be just as popular.
“You always want to stay current and fresh,” Foster said. “That is now the challenge for us but we still want a route that caters for the top guys but also for the people at the back of the field so we have made the changes accordingly.
“I have been threatening to take the plunge and make the changes but when you have 2500 riders at an event it is quite a risk,” said Foster. “I am happy with the way it has turned out and we are all mountain bikers here and we think we have done the right thing.”
Having almost entirely reversed the course this year Foster still believes that it has the same charm that it has had in the past and the balance of the course remains the same with some tricky sections but a lot of enjoyable riding.
“The major difference is the direction, we have changed that completely which means that you are using the same sections of track but approaching them from a different angle. You still have to work hard in the opening sections of the 60km Illovo Marathon but then you have great single track to play around on and really enjoy!
“A few years ago single track was quite original but now all races use it which has meant that I believe that if we are going to use single track then it has to be the best around and from races like Sani2c and Karkloof we know what to expect from our single track,” Foster explained.
The 40km aQuellé Half Marathon route for the 2014 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has been changed as well with more single track added to the route but there is one specific change that has got Foster excited and he is hoping will draw more riders to the event.
“The 40km race is also really popular and again we wanted to give riders something different this year so what we have done is taken the riders along a route that takes them behind a waterfall.
“With the lack of rain it isn’t flowing too fast at the moment but I think that it is a really novel idea and I can’t think of other races that allow the riders to ride safely behind a waterfall. There are no major drop-offs and our philosophy is that everyone should be able to ride it and so we are glad about this new addition!” he added excitedly.
The Illovo Eston MTB Challenge’s 60km Illovo Eston Marathon, 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, 18km Tala/aQuellé Family Ride and the 10km Stihl Kids Ride take place at the Eston Country Club on Sunday 3 August. More info can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za
Source: Gameplan Media