(Stellenbosch, 7 March 2010) Approximately 4,500 riders battled it out in this weekend’s Cape Argus Pick n Pay Mountain Bike Challenge. The 2010 MTB Challenge will certainly be remembered for its unbearably hot conditions, with temperatures reaching up to 42′C on today’s 35km and 55km routes.
Triple XTERRA world champ, South African Conrad Stoltz, was first to cross today’s finish line, winning the 55km race. “I stopped three times to refill my water bottles. Pros don’t stop,” Conrad explained when asked about today’s heat. Also known as “The Caveman”, American-based Stoltz was impressed with the course: “It’s of a high technical standard and really challenged the riders. My Specialized 29er Epic was the perfect bike for this course- the big wheels just floated over the rocks and deep sand”
Meurant Botha, Co-Organiser of the MTB Challenge, is very happy with how the revised format, which saw the event taking place over two days, worked out. “Saturday had a more laid-back family vibe, whilst Sunday was noticeably more competitive with some great racing. This is exactly how we envisioned it.”
Due to the extreme heat, the event doctor, Dr Basil Bonner from Medi-Clinic, enforced a cut-off on the 55km route at 10h30. “This was 90 minutes earlier than we had originally planned. Our first priority at events of this nature is the safety and well-being of the participants. The extreme conditions necessitated the enforcement of the early cut-off.”
Despite the heat wave, a record number of cyclists took part in this weekend’s MTB Challenge, the country’s biggest mountain biking event. “There’s a wonderful atmosphere here at the Boschendal Wine Estate. Both days saw parents picnicking on the lawns while their offspring played in the Canal Walk kiddies zone. Our family-friendly set-up plays a large part in the event’s phenomenal success,” commented Botha.
1. Conrad Stoltz
2. Nico Pfitzenmaier
1. Kasha Dickie
2. Michelle Lombardi