The rainy season has resulted in a few minor changes to the opening day of the Liberty Waterberg Encounter when the mountain-bike race takes place from Friday to Sunday.
The third event in the annual Encounter Series will be held near Bela-Bela in Limpopo, taking cyclists through the Elements Private Golf Estate and the Sondela Nature Reserve.
Route director Mel Meyer said the rains had created much growth around the trails and for this reason they had made some changes to the first day.
“The first stage is a bit smoother after we took out a 3km section and one of the shorter climbs,” he said.
“But this will help because the riders will need a bit more energy and power for the technical challenges on the second stage.”
Although the first stage has been reduced from 62km to 59km, Meyer did warn competitors of “a stinger near the end”.
“You need to make sure you have something in reserve for the last 15km because that is a bit tougher. But there will be a refreshment point about 3km from the finish for those in need.”
He added that the second day would provide the most technical stage of the race, but riders would still enjoy some “amazing trails”.
“You will have to keep your best for the second day, but it’s nothing the riders can’t handle and they will have beautiful views of the bush and the animals in the region.”
Meyer said the new single-track sections on the final stage would add much value to the route.
“There is a 3km stretch before the first water-point and later on a 6km stretch which are exciting additions to the race. I have no doubt the riders will enjoy that.”
Despite the rain earlier this year, Meyer said the course was in excellent condition.
“The weather is fine now that the rainy season is over, but it is chilly in the Waterberg so riders need to come prepared for that.
“It warms up very nicely during the day and we are confident it will be another memorable experience for everyone.”