Four-time defending SA National MTB Marathon champion and 2012 Olympian Robyn de Groot heads to the city of Pietermaritzburg to battle it out once again for the coveted National Jersey at Cascades MTB Park on Sunday .
Entries closed at midnight on Tuesday.
The Team Ascendis Health rider raced to third overall at this year’s Cape Epic with German partner and cross-country specialist Sabine Spitz, despite unexpected challenges and obstacles during their gruelling eight-day adventure.
‘Form-wise, it was a good Epic, and I’m happy with how we did, but it was very challenging, as we faced many hiccups along the way. But that’s all part of mountain biking, isn’t it,’ she said.
Cold and treacherous conditions also didn’t serve De Groot and her partner Mariske Strauss well when they tackled the Sani2c last week, but both rode hard to finish in third place overall, after Stage Two was neutralised because of bad weather.
De Groot is hoping that her fortunes will change after her recent stage-race hiccups, and that her Marathon Championships’ momentum will continue so that she can make it five out of five championships since turning to mountain biking from the road scene in 2013.
Being familiar with the venue layout, De Groot said: ‘I’ve raced three events in Pietermaritzburg, it should be a great ride.’
The MTB Marathon Championship distances are as follows:
80km – Elite Men only
60km – Elite Women, Masters 30+ Men and Women
50km – Junior and Youth Men and Women
While the marathon enthusiasts take to the tracks at the 2017 SA National MTB Marathon Championships, Cross-country Eliminator races will also be taking place for the Youth and under categories at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
The Eliminator discipline sees four riders compete per heat over a distance much shorter than a normal cross-country course. This is a very fast-paced spectator-friendly discipline. The fastest two riders progress to the next heat, and the slower two are eliminated from the race. This continues until there are only four riders left to determine first to fourth place.
The category options for Sunday’s Eliminator are as follows: Sub Nipper (U8) – Entries on Saturday or Sunday, Nipper (U10), Sprog (11-12), Sub Junior (13-14), Open
Picture of De Groot by Julie Anne Photography