Japanese marathon specialist Yuki Ikeda is ready to prove his credentials when he competes in the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter in the Western Cape from next weekend.
Supported by STANLIB and Volvo, the seven-day TransCape will cover some of the most renowned mountain biking trails in the region from February 4.
The 38-year-old Ikeda will link up with South African mountain biking ace Grant Usher for the 614km race, which starts in Knysna and ends in Franschhoek. They will ride for the Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack team.
Although technical riding was his strength, Ikeda said he was happy to tackle the long distances such as that offered by the TransCape.
“I heard the course is more fitness oriented so I might struggle a bit,” he said with a laugh. “But it is all good. I can work on my weakness!”
Having raced with Usher last year in the La Leyenda del Dorada, a seven-stage race in Colombia, he said he was keen to renewing the partnership.
“Our abilities were perfectly matched and we had a blast,” he said. “I’m looking forward to tackling the TransCape with him.”
While he was hoping to collect a few podiums on individual stages, Ikeda said “anything could happen out there”.
He said UCI status made the TransCape an attraction for overseas pros like himself.