Mountain bikers celebrate Father of the Nation at Mandela Day MTB Dash

Photo credit: Gavin Ryan/QuickPix

Mountain bikers will once again have their annual opportunity to celebrate the life of the Father of the Nation when the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash takes place on Saturday, 24 August at the Mandela Capture Site near Howick.

The three mountain bike races are part of the weekend of events that include a road running marathon, trail runs, a fun run and a triathlon, all taking place in honour of former President Nelson Mandela. The jamboree of participation sports which are centred around the world-famous Mandela Capture Site has quickly established itself as one of the top sporting events hosted in KZN.

Mountain bikers have the choice of riding in memory of South Africa’s greatest global icon in three different events – a 42km race for serious top-level competitors; an intermediate 21km event for weekend warriors and part-time mountain bikers; or a 10km fun ride aimed at younger riders and families, those who are learning the sport, and those who simply want some fun in the saddle. This year all three events have also been opened up to E-Bikes which will allow the growing band of power-assisted riders to be part of the celebration.

As always the prizes for the top riders are among the best for a one-day standard classic distance event with R10 000 each for the winning male and female elite riders. The large prize fund normally means there is a strong contingent of top riders battling for the lead. Last year was no different with Candice Lill and Matthys Beukes claiming the honours.
Former Pietermaritzburg resident Lill, who has recently been notching up some great results on the international World Cup circuit, was in a class of her own as she rode away from the opposition to secure a big win over the experience Jeannie Dreyer with schoolgirl Tiffany Keep third.

All the Mandela Day MTB Dash events start and finish at the world famous capture site in Lions River. The routes offer riders a chance to tackle some of the best trails in KwaZulu-Natal on a course created by Nick Floros, the Pietermaritzburg-based international course designer.

While the slick organisation and well-prepared course are two major factors which will attract riders to this event, the chance to ride in honour of Madiba, the Father of the Nation, makes it a must-do for mountain bikers who want to pay homage to the deeply respected Nobel Peace Prize winner who was instrumental in taking South Africa into a peaceful democracy.

For more information on the various Mandela Day Marathon events can be found at www.mandeladm.org.za/mtb-dash/ while online entries are at www.roag.co.za