The Liberty Waterberg Encounter will provide a balanced route over the three days when it takes place in Bela Bela in Limpopo this weekend.
This the view of route director Mel Meyer, who said their overall objective was to provide some challenges for the riders, without making it so difficult that it detracted from the enjoyment of the occasion.
Presented by STANLIB, the mountain-bike race starts on Friday and will cover 172km of trails through Sondela Nature Reserve and Elements Private Golf Reserve.
“You must remember, this is the Waterberg, so there can be some testing sections in the bushveld,” he said.
“We want the entrants to be able to manage the routes, but without making it a walk in the park.
“At the end of the day they must feel they have come through a proper test, but not so damaging that they immediately want to go and sell their bikes.
“As a social rider myself, I believe we have achieved the right balance.”
The opening day will see some newly-constructed single-track offering a good test for the competitors.
“The route up to the second water point is the same as last year, but then they will experience something new on a 6km single-track section,” he said.
“There is a tough little climb, followed by a bit of a scary downhill, which will be virgin trail for them all.”
Another section of single-track would come at the end of the stage, putting the front-runners on full alert.
“This means that the leaders will need to be aware of what is happening because once you get into the single-track with 3km to go there is no way you can do any overtaking,” said Meyer.
He added that the second stage was much the same as last year, while they had introduced some changes to the final day’s route, removing some heavy, sandy sections and providing sections of fast-flowing single-track.