New-look Paarl MTB Classic ticks all the boxes

New-look Paarl MTB Classic ticks all the boxes

Organisers are pulling out all the stops to ensure that the new-look Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic, which was omitted from the cycling calendar last year, ticks all the boxes. Race director Darren Herbst said they had gone to great lengths to make every aspect of the event at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate spectacular come race day on May 20.

He said competitors would be able to sample “totally revamped” 60km and 30km courses dished up by the City of Drakenskein in partnership with ASG Events. “The long route is hard, but we’re so fortunate to have the mountain and so many great trails,” he said.

“We have made significant changes compared to two years ago. I would say around a third of it is completely new.” To make the shorter race more manageable for less experienced riders, Herbst said they had excluded many of the climbs that featured in the 60km.

“We felt the level of climbing that you have to do to get to the views and really special trails weren’t suited for the more social competitors. That meant we had to introduce some changes to accommodate them.” To this end, he said, they had included a number of “attractive features” to ensure a memorable experience in the third Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic. “We had to chop and change the routes that we’ve got and created a number of new trails.

“We also had extensive discussions with landowners to gain access to properties that are normally never ridden.” Herbst said he felt they had achieved a good balance on the short route, but cautioned it was anything but easy. “However, for every bit of suffering we put them through, we’ve made sure to balance it out with rewards.” Another notable change that would elevate the riders’ experience was a higher proportion of waterpoints on both routes compared to other races, he said.

“We’ve decided to place additional stations along the routes – the 60km will have five and the 30km three.” This decision was made, he said, due to the challenging nature of the courses and unseasonably high temperatures in the Boland region. Herbst added that participants would for the first time access the property on which Blacksmith’s Kitchen was situated. “This is a popular restaurant here and I’m very excited about that as it’s a piece of land riders won’t have experienced before.” He said he was confident everything would tie together nicely to create something special for the whole family.

“Apart from the main races, there will be a track for kids as well as a skills clinic at the venue.”

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