Former road specialist JC Nel will take a break from his coaching activities to test himself in the Liberty Waterberg Encounter mountain-bike race this weekend.
The three-day bushveld event, presented by STANLIB, gets under way on Friday at Bela Bela in Limpopo, taking riders through trails which cover part of Sondela Game Reserve and Elements Private Golf Reserve.
The 26-year-old Nel, who has retired from professional road-racing, now spends his time running Infinite Racing, a business which teaches youngsters about the sport.
“We are involved with schools coaching because the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League is incredibly big up here in Gauteng.
“We aim to teach kids the principles of racing that are not just about pitching up on race day. It’s about a mind-set you have to develop if you want to create a winning mentality.”
Nel, who will ride with his friend Manie Visser in the Waterberg, is an experienced mountain-biker, having often used the discipline to keep himself sharp for his road commitments.
The former ProTouch rider said he had heard a lot about the event and, with ASG Events as the organisers, he was confident it would be a race to remember.
“ASG Events know how to present these sorts of races and I am looking forward to that.
“I realise the routes will be challenging, but I have heard about the camaraderie of the event and it should be a special weekend.”
ASG Events have placed the emphasis on luxury for the competitors, while route director Mel Meyer has set up trails which will offer some hardship, but will be manageable for a wide range of riders.