The six-day DCM Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race (18 to 23 October) in the Klein Karoo and Garden route is slowly but surely becoming a ‘must-do’ ride for international riders.
Carel Herholdt, Dryland Event Management, said on Monday (7 June) that twelve international teams have already entered.
The big news is that Switzerland’s Christoph Sauser (Specialized), multiple world champion, who just won the four-day Trans- Germany tour, and who is currently ranked as the 10th best cross-country rider in the world, has indicated that he will be competing for the second time.
It will be interesting to see whether Sauser and his ABSA Cape Epic team-mate, Burry Stander, will team up for the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek. They finished third overall in this year’s Epic.
Switzerland’s Nathalie Schneitter, who is currently ranked as the 15th best female cross-country rider in world, has just confirmed her participation – she will be riding with a deaf female teammate and will add welcome spice to the ladies’ category.
Herholdt promises that the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek will be even more special this year than it was last year.
“Our objective with this race is to create a cycling event that exposes South African athletes and their overseas counterparts to our beautiful Karoo and Garden Route scenery. It should also contribute to the socio-economic upliftment of our community partners, as well as the conservation of the ecologically sensitive areas on the route.
“As far as participation is concerned, we realize that South Africa has long needed a race where the main focus is on attracting the local riders. After all, they are the people who purchase the products of our sponsors. However, from a tourism perspective, the value of the overseas competitors cannot be underestimated, especially the revenue that they bring to the small communities involved in this event.
“The ever escalating socio-economic challenges that face rural towns are of huge concern. We, the more advantaged urban dwellers, have a responsibility to help the rural poor. Partnerships with the impoverished, but nevertheless enthusiastic, rural communities will ultimately determine the success of this event. The tour belongs to everyone we pass by on our bikes.
“For us as the organizers, conservation is also very important. We firmly believe in the slogan ‘conservation through utilization’.
“We also believe that knowledge is power and, therefore, by educating cyclists about environmental issues, we build a powerful force of ambassadors who can take conservation to a new level,” Herholdt said.
The DCM Cape Pioneer Trek is inherently a mountain biking tour that is organized by people who do not just make idle promises but are truly passionate about the sport.
During the past few years Herholdt, Henco Rademeyer and Katot Meyer have proven themselves to be masters when it comes to putting together mountain bike races.
Races like the Chandelier, MTN Attakwas Extreme and Red Stone Mountain Bike and Trail run weekend are excellent proofs of the ability of the organizers of the Dryland Team, because they have all been voted by the riders to be included in the list of most popular races on the local calendar.
The success of the Dryland Team can be attributed to their belief that each race should be a true mountain biking adventure.
Any mountain biker, who enters for a race that was organized by the Dryland Team, has reason to expect that he will ride on sections where no other cyclist has ever been.
“The challenge we set to ourselves with each race, is to find single track, jeep track sections and cattle paths that will truly be virgin territory for mountain bikers. We don’t necessarily build new tracks; we utilize the terrain and paths used by the animals, humans and vehicles in the area.
“The unique aspect about the race will be the great bio-diversity that the riders will ride through. In six days of racing they will go through parts of the Klein Karoo, the Garden Route, the Groot Karoo and even through arid semi-desert areas – truly traversing cycling’s heartland.
“The riders will also be challenged by three serious mountain passes, i.e. the Attakwas, Swartberg and Duiwelskop Passes.
“But I want to make one thing quite clear. In spite of the fact that, after a first glance at the route profiles, it might seem like an ‘undoable’ challenge, it is certainly not the case.
“An average mountain biker who is fit will be able to complete the tour. We will not be totally inflexible as far as the cut-off time for each stage is concerned. It is true that a race of this calibre should have cut-off times, because riders can not be allowed to keep riding through the night, but we will be lenient, where needed”
According to Herholdt the first stage of the tour, basically a less challenging version of the Attakwas Extreme race, i.e. from Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay, will be a definite highlight of the tour. The only similarities will be the actual 25 odd km through the kloof, the rest has been scaled down slightly. Stage three, when the riders will get the opportunity to ride through the foothills Kammanassie Nature Reserve, will also be very special.”
For more information visit www.dryland.co.za
Photo credit: Karin Schembrucker