Men’s champion Brad Gouveris is gearing up for a stiff examination when the Bestmed Makro Championship takes place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The road events, which cater for riders of all levels, will start and finish at the Lorraine Primary School, while the mountain-bike races will take place in the Hopewell Conservation Estate at St Albans, just outside Port Elizabeth.
The 20-year-old Gouveris won his first Makro title last year and acknowledged it would not be easy defending the title.
“I know that it’s never easy to emulate the success of the previous year, but I am excited to see how the race unfolds.”
He added that his training was on track, but that you never quite knew the level of your fitness until you competed in the more intense environment of a race.
“Locally there are some really good competitors. I am not sure who is going to be there, but I will just be focusing on what I can do and adapt to the challenges as they happen.”
Women’s champion Anriette Schoeman will again be the benchmark for her competitors, having won 17 out of 18 titles since the tour’s inception in 2000.
Despite that lengthy string of successes, the 41-year-old PE star said she remained motivated to produce her best each time she raced.
She added that she had slightly changed her perspective of racing over the years, with a stronger focus on achieving consistency.
“When there are occasions that I may not be able to win the race, I now want to make sure I get on the podium.
“Having said that, winning is still the ultimate goal when I stand on the start line. I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t think I could win and that is still my motivation after all these years.”
Besides the feature race, which starts at 7am, the road programme offers a number of options, with additional distances over 55km and 35km. There are also 5km and 10km events for children, plus a 1km kiddies’ dash.
Entries close at midnight on Monday, September 3, and registration will take place at Lorraine Primary School from 4pm to 7pm on Friday.
The mountain-bike programme has additional events over 35km, 20km and 10km. Entries close at midnight on September 10.