In a bid to renew her love of riding, An-Li Kachelhoffer will try her hand at mountain biking when she rides the three-day Liberty Winelands Encounter mountain bike race in the Boland from Friday.
The former national road champion will team up with TransCape winner Pieter Seyffert, who won the seven-day, 690km race alongside partner Travis Walker.
Labelled as one of the most beautiful races in South Africa, this year’s Liberty Winelands Encounter, in partnership with STANLIB, winds through 160km of pristine Winelands scenery.
“After only getting on my mountain bike again recently, riding around the Paarl area, I couldn’t help but realise what I’ve been missing out on,” said Kachelhoffer. “The scenery is just spectacular.”
The 29-year-old said she felt the event would provide a “fun balance” of enjoyment and scenery.
“I’m looking forward to trying something new because at the end of the day you need to have fun on your bike.
“However you fuel your passion, that’s what you should be doing, regardless of what shape or form that may come in.”
“I thought it would be good to tick something different off the list this year and decided it would be a nice change to go in a new direction,” said Kachelhoffer.
In February she secured a second place position at the SA National Road Championships, an achievement she said proved the point that she was more at home on-road, rather than off-road.
“Although I enjoy riding my mountain bike, I know that I’m behind when it comes to technical knowledge. I would say that I have a grade one qualification and you really need a matric,” she joked.
Kachelhoffer said she took some comfort from the fact that she would have the experienced Seyffert at her side.
“It was a spontaneous decision to take part and I’ve warned Pieter that I ended up on my face the last time I raced a mountain bike.
“He knows not to put too much pressure on me, but he’s a chilled, fun guy so I know he’ll be there to guide me and help me enjoy the experience.”
Paarl has recently become home to Kachelhoffer and she said the race – which visits Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Wellington – would allow her to stay close to her base while enjoying time on the bike.
Kachelhoffer said she would resume her road racing schedule at the Tour Durban at the end of the month.